that many women face when trying to get pregnant. From fertility drugs to au natural – I use all of my personal experience and medical knowledge with my patients. And it works.
Seven things I make sure are balanced before even trying to conceive:
NOTE: When looking at any laboratory level it is important to look for optimal ranges. Lab “normals” are what 95% of the population falls within. These numbers are not helpful in determining actual HEALTH status.
- Iron (ferritin) levels: You would be surprised at how many exhausted people there are out there. One very common cause of fatigue is iron deficient anemia. Imagine trying to make a baby when you struggle to stay awake! Iron is also a vital component in healthy thyroid function – a must for becoming and staying pregnant. Low iron is often missed because most doctors only run a CBC (complete blood count). Testing ferritin will expose any state of low iron.
- Magnesium (RBC) levels: Magnesium is used in 700-800 chemical reactions that happen in our bodies every day. It is responsible for muscle relaxation. This includes muscles of the heart, circulatory system, digestive system and reproductive system. Without magnesium everything locks up. Low levels may cause (not a complete list):
- Muscle cramps
- Restless leg syndrome
- Heart palpitations
- Worsened PMS
- Period cramps/Heavier bleeding
It may also help the egg move through the fallopian tube because there are contractions that happen to push it into the uterus. Most people are getting their blood levels of magnesium checked, which doesn’t actually tell you anything about the cellular levels. You want to ask for your RBC Magnesium to be checked. This is currently the best measure we have of cellular magnesium.
- Vitamin D3 levels: Most people I test are low in vitamin D unless they spend a fair amount of time outside with fully exposed arms, legs and face and have not used sunscreen or are already taking a vitamin D supplement. Healthy vitamin D levels result in:
- Less inflammation
- More energy
- Better sleep
- Improved mood
- Less anxiety
- Stronger immune system
- Homocysteine levels: Homocysteine is an inflammatory marker for heart disease, but it is also an indicator of B6, B12 and folate (folic acid) levels. All necessary nutrients for making babies, energy, detoxifying and handling stress.
- Thyroid levels: Subclinical hypothyroidism is rampant. So many people get tested and are told that everything is normal which is often not the case. Conventional medicine typically looks at TSH to determine if the thyroid is working well. TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone is released by the pituitary in the brain and can be artificially low because of other deficiencies. Actual thyroid hormone levels T4 and T3 are not typically checked unless a person is already on medication. Low thyroid symptoms can vary greatly. Some of which are:
- Hair loss
- Unexplained weight gain
- Heart palpitations
- Fluid retention/swelling
- Cold hands/feet
Asking your doctor to test a minimum of TSH, free T3 and free T4 will give you a better idea if a suboptimal thyroid is causing you problems getting pregnant.
I have seen a lot of frustrated patients who think there is something wrong with their thyroid but were told that everything was normal. When we dig a little deeper it often turns out that they are right and when treated for it, their laundry list of symptoms resolve.
- Hemoglobin (HGB) A1C: This is an average measure of your blood sugar over a four month period of time. It is one of the numbers used to monitor diabetics. It can also be used to identify chronically high blood sugar.
PCOS, a common cause of infertility, is more commonly known to be associated with blood sugar problems, but you can still have blood sugar problems affecting your fertility and not have PCOS.
- Progesterone: Progesterone is a hormone and is what holds a pregnancy. If levels are too low it may be difficult to get pregnant or stay pregnant. With fertility issues, bio-identical progesterone (identical to the one your body makes) is something that is typically supplemented either in pill, cream or suppository form and often given by fertility specialists. If you are not going to a specialist, it is something that your regular doctor can look into for you and prescribe. Progesterone can also be increased taking herbs as well. Signs of progesterone deficiency are (this is not a complete list):
- Tender breasts
Progesterone levels should be tested 8-10 days before your next expected period to give you an accurate read of whether it may be attributing to infertility. I often have patients who come to me and they have not been told what day to have their progesterone tested. This can lead to unnecessary frustration if the results are not optimal.
When trying to get pregnant it is important to be as healthy as possible prior to conception. This results in actually feeling good when you’re pregnant and making the healthiest baby possible. I like to compare it to pie. If you don’t have the right ingredients you just can’t make it. You can substitute, but it won’t turn out the same. Our bodies have hundreds of thousands of chemical reactions happening everyday. If we give ourselves the right ingredients, the right things happen. If not, things don’t turn out very well. At the very least, I recommend spending 4 months preparing your body for pregnancy. Even if you do need to go down the road of fertility procedures, it’ll make that process a little easier. And always better to try something really simple that might make all the difference first. You may end up saving yourself a lot of time, heartache and money!