19 Jul pregnant NATURALLY AT 42
A wild, three year shit storm has finally passed, and the treasure at the end of the rainbow is here!
After my mothers death, my dad’s stroke and a premature birth of my son Viggo (which lead to 5 weeks in the NICU), I suffered a year of postpartum hell, got diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a nasty EBV infection and topped that year off with a miscarriage.
Emotionally drained a physically exhausted at 41, I knew nor time or statistics were on my side to get pregnant again.
I did however also know that if you don’t believe in Magic, you will never experience it. I have been called the Mad Manifestor in the past and it was time for me turn that talent up to 11. Laser beam focus and eye on the prize: A full term pregnancy with a healthy baby.
So I made a series of lifestyle changes including a change in diet, a total overhaul of all my hair, skin and cleaning products and an environmental detox.
7 months later I had a positive pregnancy test.
how I did it
Patience isn’t my strong-suit but but after talking with my amazing functional medicine specialist Cambria Demarco, reading “It Starts with the Egg” and “How to Conceive Naturally and have a Healthy Pregnancy after 30” I knew I had to prep and heal my body from the inside out for a minimum of three months before I could even start to try to get pregnant again.
My pregnancy test on April 21st 2020
Below is a list of the steps that I took and the changes I made. These choices were made based on the books mentioned above, consultations with my functional medicine specialist Cambria Demarco and clinical/ holistic nutritionist Christa Orecchio and acupuncturist Mieko Sie as well as my own research and knowledge as a Holistic Health Coach.
My steps to a natural CONCEPTION
- Removed plastic and other toxic products
- Food sensitivity- and genetic testing
- Choose EWG verified hair, skin and cleaning products
- Supplements to level hormones and boost fertility
- Prioritized rest, relaxation and good quality sleep
- Daily meditation
- Vision board and intentions
15 weeks pregnant and trying to keep up with my son Viggo!
Diet for a healthy conception
Most importantly: go ORGANIC!
I made sure that all my protein and diary products were grass-fed, pasture raised and organic and only ate all organic fruit and veggies.
Avoid pesticides and chemicals known to cause cancer, liver, kidney and blood diseases by choosing organic fruits and veggies. To see the list of the “Dirty Dozen” check out EWG’s website
If you eat meat, make sure you protect your hormonal health by choosing grass fed, pasture raised meat and poultry vs conventionally raised meat that are fed pesticide and GMO-laden crops. Many chemicals in pesticides are xenohormones, that are knows endocrine disruptors which can lead to hormonal imbalance, sexual dysfunction and digestive issues all of which greatly impact fertility.
There are a lot of information and theories when it comes to this topic and after lots of research and consultations I chose to eliminate gluten. soy and sugar.
Gluten creates inflammation in the body and can cause hormonal disruption while trying to conceive. Gluten can also lower the function of the thyroid. I don’t have a gluten sensitivity but my thyroid is compromised and needed all the help it could get. I felt so much better without gluten in my diet so it was something that worked well for me.
Sugar.… I am totally addicted to sugar and have eaten a ton of it trough all my life. I have a huge sweet tooth and it was what I always reach for when I wanted a quick pick-me-up. It is, however, not your best friend when you are trying to get pregnant. Sugar and it’t effect on the body is a big problem for fertility as it disrupts the balance of other hormones what regulates the reproductive system. High insulin and blood sugar has also been linked to compromised egg quality in women.
When I found all this out, I was devastated. But I had my eye on the pregnancy price and chose to eat a balanced diet with lots of protein, healthy fats and carbs to level my blood sugar. That way it was much easier to avoid those “crashes” that I would have and stopped reaching for sugary treats. And there are so many sweet alternatives! Try making healthier treats using coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup and dates and you’ll never go back 😉
Soy in its unfermented form (soy milk, tofu and soybean oil) should be avoided as it mimics estrogen and can disrupt the hormonal system in both men and women. It also block the thyroid from absorbing iodine. If you love soy, go for the fermented kind like miso and tempeh.
Caffein, I know, this is a hard one for a lot of people. If you have one small cup of organic unsweetened coffee with a healthy breakfast, it’s a OK but if you rely on several cups before noon without anything in your stomach then, yes, this may be a great time to change things up a bit. What makes us feel so good has a lot of side effects that we want to avoid while trying to conceive. Excessive amounts of caffein contributes to everything from gastrointestinal problems and stress to adrenal exhaustion and female health problems such as a decline in the production of DEHA and melatonin, two very important components for egg quality.
If you simply can’t let go of that cup of java, make it a good one. Preferably in the morning together with breakfast containing both healthy fats and lots of protein. Explore other options out there like green tea and an occasional chai tea latte.
Food for a super baby
For a detailed list of dietary do’s and don’ts, check out “How to Conceive Naturally and have a healthy pregnancy after 30” by Christa Orecchio and Willow Buckley.
DITCH THE PERFUME AND PLASTIC BOTTLES
Endocrine disruptors disrupts the function of the entire endocrine system including male and female sex hormones (such as estrogen) as well as the thyroid.
They mimic naturally occurring hormones, interfere with the way natural hormones and their receptors are made and controlled as well as block natural hormones from binding to the cells they are supposed to.
Endocrine disruptors should be avoided when trying to conceive for the following reasons
- They can negatively affect fertility in both women and men resulting in lower egg and sperm quality.
2. They can contribute to obesity, PMS, PCOS, prostate cancer, autoimmune disorders.
3. They can impact fetal and child development.
Suggestions on how to avoid Phthalates, Synthetic fragrance, Parabens and BPA:
- Only use glass or stainless steel water bottles
- Use glass or stainless steel storage containers for food
- Minimizing canned and processed foods
- Chose wood and stainless steel instead of plastic kitchenware
- Use a french press instead of a coffee maker with plastic parts
- A plastic tea kettle can be replaced for one in stainless steel
- Stop using conventional perfume and all products containing the word “Fragrance” in the ingredient list. Substitute with products labeled “Fragrance Free” for safer options.
- Avoid fabric softeners and air fresheners
- Stop using nail polish (there are some that claims to be 7-free or 9-free but often the manufacturer has simply changed to another phthalate)
- Avoid hair styling products (unless specifically labeled phthalate-free)
Finally I chose to let go of all my old hair and skin products and exchanged them with EWG verified products. Check out EWG’s Skin Deep website and app for clean fertility-friendly options. I chose to go with most of my skin care and makeup from Beauty Counter who has a lot of EWG certified products.
For a more in-depth explanation of the harm and damage caused by endocrine disruptors, please see my blog “Fertility Detox“.
If you have had difficulty conceiving or suffered one or more miscarriages, you can optimize your reproductive health by doing some more unconventional tests. There are several options, to name a few:
MTHFR Genetic Mutation– Almost 50% of population has this genetic mutation, which inhibits conversion of B vitamins (including B9/folic acid to folate) and can prevent body breaking down heavy metals. Can lead to depression, miscarriages and heavy metal toxicity.
I did mine trough 23 and Me where one can find out ones heritage as well as a number of genetic predispositions. I do have the MTHFR gene and can now take the necessary supplements to help my body function optimally as well as avoiding another miscarriage.
Food sensitivity test– Food sensitivity is different from a food allergy but when trying to conceive you want for your body to function optimally. Tip; If you do a 23 and Me genetic test, you can extract the raw data via Genetic Geanie and give the results to your health care provider to go over your genetic food sensitive predispositions.
Thyroid– I had my thyroid tested by several doctors that all told me “I was just fine”. But I knew something was off so I had my Functional Medicine Specialist do the full thyroid panel which is a blood test for TSH, T3, T4, TPO, and reverse T3. We found out that I had hypothyroidism and I am now taking the proper supplements and my thyroid levels are perfect.
You can find out more information on tests in Christa Orecchio’s book “How to conceive naturally and have a healthy pregnancy after 30”
supplements for preconception
Supplements are highly individual in terms of what your genetic composition and current health status is but there are a few that are commonly recommended.
Please note that the best way to find out what your exact needs are, is to do blood tests with your health care provider. Again, genetic testing will be very helpful here as it will give a more accurate picture of how you will metabolize different vitamins and minerals. Start as early as possible, preferably 3-6 months before starting to conceive.
Prenatal vitamin– opt for a Whole Food vitamin with Folate instead of Folic Acid and sufficient amounts of vitamin B6 and B12. Example: Garden of Life Organic Prenatal
CoQ10– has been proven to increase egg and embryo quality. Please advice with your health care provider for the perfect dose for you. Ex Jarrow Formulas
Fish oil– to provide sufficient Omega-3 fatty acid for the baby’s brain development. Ex The Whole Journey High Potency Fish Oil
Vitamin D– Decreases the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and high blood pressure
Probiotics– Help build your baby’s gut health in utero! Look for the following strands: Lactobacillus, Bacillus and Bifidobacterium
Maca, the Fertility Booster– ideal for preconception. There are many colors or phenotypes of maca, chose yellow for female fertility. Ex Femminessence. Chose black maca for male fertility
Other supplements worth exploring if you are in your mid thirties or older are antioxidants such as vitamin A and C
For an in-depth explanation of supplements to increase egg and embryo quality, check out “It Starts With The Egg” by Rebecca Fett
Do what makes you feel good
This is the time to spoil yourself, take a bath with luxurious essential oils, treat yourself to a massage and/ or a facial at a SPA (DIY if we are still in the midst of a global pandemic), read a book, take a walk, do yoga, cook your favorite meal, indulge in a nap. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, relaxed, in flow-do it and do it a lot. Above all; prioritize rest and relaxation.
Stress is the number one cause to why 1 out of 7 couples in the US are having trouble conceiving.
I didn’t realize how stressed out I was until we were ordered to “Shelter in place” due to Covid-19. It was the first time in my life that I truly slowed down on a cellular level. Never had I experienced such state of rest and relaxation. I truly believe this is one of the reasons I got pregnant during this time.
I love to do yoga and during COVID I have found a great site called GLO. Glo has over 4.000 yoga, pilates and meditation classes online and has been a fantastic source for my health for the past few months. Great place to do guided meditations 🙂
The power of intention
You are 42% more likely to reach a goal when you write it down.
I am a huge fan of vision boards and made a fertility vision board that was very specific. I wrote down words like “I am Happy, Healthy and Pregnant”, posted images with pregnant women, I printed photos of golden eggs that were representing my golden fertile eggs that would lead to a healthy, full term pregnancy. I even found a beautiful pyrite in the shape of an egg that I meditated with every day, setting the intention for a pregnancy with a full term healthy baby.
My vision board
My days start with the words “This is going to be a great day, thank you for all the positive news that I will receive today” and I follow with whatever intention I want to set for the day. Before the pregnancy I thanked the Universe for a healthy pregnancy even before it had happened and now I give thanks for my healthy full term baby, easy and safe birth and happy postpartum.
Vision boards, intentions and meditation has gotten me trough the toughest of times and I have no idea where I would be without these tools.
These are the steps that worked for me and I hope you have found some interesting information that can steer you in the right direction in the infertility jungle. It can be such a lonely and dark road with feelings of total helplessness and frustration. I wish you the very best on your journey to conception.
With Grace & Gratitude