Here's the thing: You never really know how hard and complicated it can be to get pregnant until you try. Sure, you've heard about various forms of infertility, but, usually, there's no way of knowing what's in the cards for your journey to conceive until you get right down to business. And, unless you're one of the lucky ones who seemingly gets pregnant the second she starts trying, you quickly realize there's actually a lot that goes into getting pregnant (outside of having lots of sex).
So when I started trying, I wanted to maximize my chances of getting pregnant each cycle and began to obsess over ovulation tracking in its various forms — it's easy to do when you dive into the world of fertility for the first time and just want something to look to. I tried checking out my cervical mucous, peeing on sticks (aka OPKs), tracking my basal body temperature (BBT), etc etc. But after I bought what seemed like 27 thermometers and 1,000 OPKs on Amazon, I stumbled upon a more holistic approach to setting my body up for success through the Natural Fertility Shop.
The Natural Fertility Shop is an online store and resource center (they also run NaturalFertilityInfo.com) that seeks to empower and educate couples about holistic fertility. This is done with combining diet and lifestyle changes in conjunction with natural herbs and supplements. "At the foundation of every natural fertility program should first be focus on diet and lifestyle," Elizabeth Willett, Senior Herbalist with the Natural Fertility Company, told me. "While there are many supplements one can take to help the body ensure optimal reproductive wellness and fertility health, having a strong foundation helps the body utilize them better."
It makes sense, right? If you have set up a healthy lifestyle, then you're setting your body up for successful conception as best as possible. But where do you start? There's a ton of information featured at the Natural Fertility Shop, and, like anything, it can be intimidating to try to figure out how best to approach it. To help you get on the right path, here are three great ways to get started on a natural fertility program:
1. Set Up A Fertility Consultation
A Fertility Consultation is the best (and easiest) way to make sure you're maximizing your potential with a natural fertility plan. You can schedule your consultation through the Natural Fertility Shop, and then an herbalist will send you a highly detailed and customized plan, based on the answers you provide in an intake form that covers any known issues (irregular cycles etc) and asks about your current health and dietary habits.
In the call with your herbalist, you'll go over your personalized plan filled with recommendations that include overall health and dietary changes and also herbs and supplements to bolster your fertility. You'll be able to ask questions and clarify any concerns and by the end you'll feel completely empowered with the fact that you have a very clear plan.
I couldn't believe how detailed and easy-to-follow my plan was. My herbalist, Marija, was incredibly easy to talk to and knowledgeable. Her plan for me included nutritional recommendations (she even gave me a couple of good ideas for trading some of my favorite snacks for healthier options), stress-management suggestions (it's important to keep a clear mind when baby-making), and also a few herbs, supplements, and natural therapies to try in conjunction. She also encouraged me to continue charting my ovulation, even though I had grown frustrated on my own. Marija's plan was not only thorough, it felt doable.
She broke down her suggestions in simple terms and thoroughly explained each recommendation, leaving me to choose which parts of her plan I wanted to follow. It's amazing to talk to an actual person about these things — there's only so much you can get out of reading a zillion articles on the internet.
I ended up going with most all of her suggestions and though it's been less than a month, I've already noticed real changes in my cycle.
Find out more info about the Fertility Consultation here. (There's also an option to do an email consultation with an audio recording with an overview of your guide and answers to your questions.)
2. Do A Fertility Cleanse
The Fertility Cleanse is also a great way to get started. It's "specific to the reproductive system - liver and uterus - and assists the body in eliminating the additional burden of substances not good for fertility. Performing a one-month Fertility Cleanse is one of the best first steps you can take in preparation for conception and to support normal hormonal balance," Willett added.
The Fertility Cleanse Kit contains detailed instructions about how to do the cleanse over the course of the month, along with everything you need to do it — two types of teas and various supplements.
3. Follow the Fertility Diet
The Natural Fertility Shop also outlines a super healthy, very doable fertility diet program. The basics? Eat a ton of leafy greens, smoothies, and salads and set your body up with a lifestyle change that promotes overall health and pregnancy.
"The Fertility Diet is suggested and explained in great detail in our guide The Natural Fertility Diet: How to Eat for Optimal Fertility. Consider the The 21 Day Fertility Diet Challenge eBook, which can help the transition to a healthier way of eating for both fertility and pregnancy," Willett added.
The eBook contains "21 recipes for smoothies, 21 recipes for juices, 21 recipes for salads (including fertility salad dressing recipes) and 21 recipes for preparing dark leafy greens."
After following the basic guidelines of the Fertility Diet for a couple of weeks, I already felt better. I ditched the processed junk I'd been known to eat for leafy greens and even made myself a green smoothie for breakfast every morning. I feel far healthier and clear-minded now. Plus, it feels good to know I've been making choices that will make the path to pregnancy easier.