Baby Brains are made of Fat
By: Stephanie Daniel D.O.
This e-book is an integrative, whole body, holistic approach to getting you naturally pregnant. This is one of the few books on the market written by not only a Physician, but one that has gotten many women deemed “infertile” pregnant without using fertility drugs.
This book aims to address the 5 spokes on the balanced body wheel to prepare the body to welcome new life. It relies on data driven detailed case studies that have led the way to a formula that works.
This protocol nicely compliments IVF rounds to increase treatment success or can be done before drug attempts to save time, money, and the sometimes damaging spiking of hormones.
There is no downside to getting the body and mind in balance. There are only benefits. I’m excited to empower you with my research based protocol to illuminate the divine and powerful creature you are and the wonders of your body in balance. Now, let’s get you pregnant
PART I: The Prescription
-Lowering Inflammation & loading up on baby brain builder
-Vital Nutrients for egg and sperm health
-Gut Health, the missing link
-Foods that detox
-Resetting with Sleep
-Removing the GMO foods
-Understanding the pathway (conveyor belt function)
-Inflammation, Immune system, oxidative stress
-Bad Hormones from outside the body
-High Blood Sugar
-End of Part One
PART II: Social Context
-The power of the Mind
-Trusting of Self
-Masculine / Feminine imbalance in our modern world
-Distrusting our bodies
THE FERTILITY INDUSTRY
-Analogy of masculine paradigm
-Cost analysis across different countries
-The nature of fear used in infertility consults and effect on pregnancy outcome
PROLONGING YOUR FERTILITY
-When to start detoxing
-Supplementing for her
-Supplementing for him
-De-stressing – how & when
-Sexy time start
-Trusting (let go & watch it flow)
CHAPTER 1. NUTRITION
This chapter looks at the most essential nutrients to include in your pre-pregnancy protocol and the ones you absolutely must avoid. One ingredient found in our daily diet is the number one cause for infertility in America. Another that has been villainized since the 80s is the number one nutrient that builds baby’s brain. The misinformation is disastrous and the costs to your infertility is high.
Lowering Inflammation & loading up on baby brain building fat is the key to pre-pregnancy prep success. Let’s start with the most important: good fats.
Omega 3s are essential for our own brain and mood health. They do so many wonderful things in our body and are essential to build the baby’s brain. Healthy fats are the baby’s brain.
Avocados, fatty fish, flaxseeds, olive oil, and walnuts are your best friend while building baby. When navigating the world of fish choices remember SMASH. Eat: Salmon Mackerel Anchovy Sardines Herring. If getting from a can, look for cans that say BPA free.
Nuts and seeds are wonderful and often do better being eaten raw. There is substantial advocacy for soaking them first due to their nutrient blocking phytates. Nuts have so many other wonderful properties, I don’t hyper focus on this, though soaking is optimal. Avocados with flaxseeds, sea salt, and turmeric or salmon salad dip with cucumber slices are perfect snacks.
I want you to load up on the good Omega3 fat. Access to iron and choline rich Omega 6/9 filled farm raised antibiotic-free turkey and beef is also important. It’s the ratio that matters for our health and priority
should always be given to Omega 3 sources. There is data showing even short term use of high amounts of Omega 6s cause problems with fertility.
Processed chips and snacks are filled with the less optimal 6s & 9s which is why so many Americans have a tragic 17:1 omega ratio in the wrong direction. The healthiest cultures have at least a 1:1 ratio with the ideal to eat more Omega 3 fatty acids.
Your mantra should be: Fat, Fat, Fat, no sugar. While healthy fat is an INCREDIBLE building block for mama and baby, sugar is poison. Sugar is actually the #1 REASON FOR INFERTILITY in America. High blood sugar causes a host of problems to fertility, most notably the production of Androgens (male sex hormones like testosterone) over estrogen. This syndrome called PCOS, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, is directly tied to high blood sugar. If the body isn’t making female reproductive hormones, it’s not going to be able to get pregnant.
Processed sugar hurts fertility in other subtler but harmful ways. It raises inflammation, an emergency signal in the body that makes the immune system hyper reactive over time and slows wound healing. This alarm in the body sends a signal it’s not a safe environment to reproduce. Sugar raises stress hormone cortisol which throws off hormones, digestion, and sleep.
Sugar also feeds bad gut bacteria that feed on starches. These harm body balance while pushing out the good, essential bacteria. The gut is directly tied to messaging in the brain. An unhappy gut will ring the alarm to the brain. The largest nerve in the body, the vagus nerve, runs between the brain and the gut and the messaging largely goes from gut to brain, not the other way around!
If the gut bacteria are off thanks to antibiotics killing the good bacteria or too much sugar feeding the bad bacteria, our unhappy gut will send anxious and depressed messaging to the brain. A distressed brain will not give the signal that it’s an ok time to build a baby.
In addition, high blood sugar spiking cortisol means the body will switch over to giving the body’s resources to cortisol production. This means the body’s B vitamins and essential nutrients are rerouted away from building sex hormones to get you pregnant.
Cortisol is such an important hormone for the body to have on hand to ensure survivability, it will always take from other processes to make sure it can make cortisol. Keeping our stress, inflammation, and sugar down becomes a key part to getting pregnant.
Stick to fiber filled fruits to avoid the downsides of processed sugar. Filled with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, fruit’s sugar is negated by its fiber. The presence of fiber drastically helps reduce the sugar spike and therefore damage on hormone balance and insulin issues. Processed sugar is so dangerous to blood sugar balance and insulin resistance because of the fiber being stripped away in the chemical processing.
We’re looking for 30-45 grams of fiber per day and eliminating processed sugar in general. Fiber is wonderful for colon scrubbing, detox, handling blood sugar spikes, and processing extra hormones that tip the balance into the infertile category. Every meal’s focus should be on FAT, FIBER, and PROTEIN.
We’re roughly aiming for 20 grams of Protein per meal or 60/day. Three eggs have 21 grams for instance while a medium handful of nuts have 5-10 grams. Protein helps us feel full, balances blood sugar, and is made of the amino acid building blocks we need converted into important hormones and brain chemicals.
Protein is another important nutrient with the amino acid building blocks built in. Pasture raised Eggs are wonderful pre-pregnancy choices. A complete protein full of healthy fats, eggs also boast an impressive amount of choline, important B vitamins, and essential D vitamin. The choline helps avoid dreaded neural tube defects during pregnancy.
Vitamin D deserves special mention for its many uses in the body. It’s is so vital and yet so many of us are desperately low in it. The farther we get from the equator or the more time we spend working inside, the more D we’ll need to get from sources beyond the sun. Nicknamed the super hormone, D keeps our thyroid healthy putting out cellular energy, mood happy, and both cardiac and immune systems supported.
Cholesterol is also extremely important for pregnancy. As a precursor to important hormones, being too low in cholesterol is a common problem I see in my practice among women struggling with fertility. The baby’s brain is largely made up of healthy fats as we’ve discussed, so make sure mama has enough cholesterol and good fats stored.
Ovulation along with sperm and Egg health require these important nutrients to build proper hormones. Sugar makes a female body produce male hormones and imbalanced gut bacteria or too much stress can throw off the body’s ability to absorb and convert these nutrients.
CHAPTER 2. DETOX
Toxins unfortunately are more prominent in our food and environment than our bodies are designed to filter out. Toxic foods, toxic products, environmental chemicals, burn bi-products in the body from normal processes, stressful situations, and even toxic thoughts can all get in the way of your fertility.
Toxins become a problem when they incite stress in the body through inflammation, prolonged high cortisol levels, and blocking filtration systems’ ability to cycle out waste and excess hormones.
Because our body wasn’t designed to process out these extra environmental toxins in our industrialized world, our liver and kidneys are working overtime. They are designed to filter out cellular waste and natural burn bi-products and can get overburdened by man-made chemical substances.
When this happens, they fall behind their clean up tasks and toxins in the system throw off our pregnancy hormones and ring the thyroid alarm bell whose job it is to pull the e-brake on expending resources, i.e. getting pregnant. Supporting our filters becomes extra important when we’re trying to prepare our body to be open for pregnancy.
When you factor in the crazy number of preservative chemicals, altered unrecognizable GMO food particles, and crazy high amounts of added sugars put in to hijack our brain’s reward centers or produce food cheaper – we have a recipe for toxins trapped in the body. And that leaves a toxic environment for baby to grow if our imbalanced hormones allow us to conceive at all.
While avoiding toxins will be covered below, there are a couple of important ways to detox that need to be worked into your week.
These are: Move, Flush, Sweat.
Movement to help the lymph system move toxins out using gravity, flushing through the kidneys with filtered water, and sweat to use the skin’s detox pathways.
Detox is a two-part process involving lots of vitamins and minerals. Healthy intestinal lining and ability to absorb nutrients are essential along with a healthy micronutrient rich diet. Getting the body to release the toxin through clean eating is step one.
This initial release step is the step juice cleanses and clean detox diets accomplish. To avoid those toxins just recirculating and wreaking havoc on your system all over again, released toxins must be converted from a fat soluble state to a water soluble version. Remember, toxins are stored in the fat cells in fat soluble form but the kidneys filter out water.
Converting toxins to water soluble form requires specific nutrients and will be covered in more detailed cleanses in my fertility book Drug Free Fertility.
Here is an overview of :
More advanced detox tools to focus on are: sleep, lymphatic movement, gut health, clean nutritious eating, fiber, lots of water, sweat (sauna or medium exercise), and liver support.
Let’s deep dive into supporting the liver, our essential filter, and master antioxidant producer.
Keep your liver healthy through rest breaks, helping it clean out, not overburdening it with toxins, and supporting it with herbs and antioxidants. We need the liver processing out toxins and excess hormones to have a baby ready body.
I suggest a Pure Encapsulations supplement in my practice that supports the liver through key herbs and antioxidants. When selecting supplements, make sure to heal your gut first to allow absorption while cleaning up their diet to gain access to nutrient rich food sources. Then, only supplement with the highest grade, well sourced nutrient support.
Detox mode is turned on in the body when we rest. The body does it’s cleaning cycle during empty belly fasted sleep. The times of rest are important as our species is tied to a circadian rhythm around the sun’s schedule. Sleep before midnight is considered twice as important as sleep after midnight. This is quite counter to the schedule demands on most of our hopeful mamas.
This is often the hardest parts for busy, social, modern day mamas-to-be. We’re taught to value our ability to produce, go, and do when we really need to relax, release, and go slow. The detox benefits of rest along with the lowering of stress hormone cortisol are necessary signaling to the body that it’s a safe environment to reproduce.
Even deep breaths, exhales specifically, are a powerful part of detox. With each deep calming breath in, we bathe our cells in essential oxygen before exhaling out the cellular waste in the carbon dioxide. Inhale and exhale fully. Deep breathing is a powerful stress release tool too providing double benefit through lowering inflammation. Try my favorite 4, 7, 8 breathing: Breath in for a count of 4, hold for 7 seconds, exhale slowly for 8 seconds. Repeat 4 times.
CHAPTER 3. GENOMICS
Our genetics absolutely play a role. But whether our genetic propensity gets turned on or off, is up to us. Genomics is the term for the parts of our genetics that we can affect. These switches, genetically gifted from our ancestors, get switched on and off based on our environment and behavior.
This means that how our genetics express themselves in many areas we do have some control over. We just don’t know where our tipping point is. Recent science is showing that each behavioral food, sleep, and lifestyle choice we make leaves tiny marks on our genetic switches.
When these marks add up to a certain point, the switch is flipped. How many marks your body can take before the dam breaks and the switch flips is up to your pre-determined genetics you don’t have control over. But how many dings are on the switch is up to you and your environment.
Let’s look at an important switch that plays a huge role in fertility. The conversion process mentioned above that is responsible for activating our Vitamin Bs to usable forms in the “conveyor belt” (Methyl pathway) is called methyl-folation. This process is responsible for converting amino acids into baby supporting hormones and feel good brain chemicals.
It’s very important we know whether or not we methylate / activate our Vitamin Bs. Mama bear needs to properly convert her Bs to make sure she makes enough hormones. Papa bear needs proper methylation for sperm health. Miscarriage has been tied to the methylation ability in the man.
Because we don’t want to build up a back log of Bs, we need to test whether our genetics have blessed us with the ability to convert properly during this essential process.
Here’s how the pathway works and why it’s important.
The methylation pathway = activated B vitamins help amino acids turn into other important amino acids / neurotransmitters that then later, farther down the pathway, are again converted to yet another essential neurotransmitter or hormone.
An example is methyl folate (activated B9) helping amino acid L-Tryptophan convert to 5HTP which later converts to happy Serotonin which finally converts to sleepy Melatonin. This pathway is obviously important for our happiness, sleep, and all of the health and fertility benefits attached to both.
This means we need to check to see if we convert properly and make sure to eat & absorb B9 / folic acid. These Bs must be present to be the mechanics on the various stages of the conveyor belt. Foods like leafy, green vegetables, shellfish, and legumes are my favorite sources.
Because the Bs have to be converted into an active form called
methyl-folate, in order to help convert the amino acids, any problems in methylation of our Bs is a big deal.
Methyl-folate is a crucial co-factor for the conversion of amino acids like tryptophan into neurochemicals like serotonin. It also is the gate-keeper for the entire methylation pathway as a whole, which means if the conversion of folic acid to methyl-folate is less efficient, it will affect everything that the pathway is responsible for doing downstream from there, such as turn on and off genes, manage inflammation, make immune cells, metabolize hormones, support detoxification pathways and make the body’s most potent antioxidant, glutathione, which is crucial to keeping cells like eggs and sperm healthy and free of oxidative damage from free radicals.
It’s worth mentioning that B vitamins are not only the mechanics building our hormones and brain chemicals, they are our soldiers in the battle against stress. This means that even if you are eating enough Bs (with proper absorption and methylation) to build baby hormones, the stress you’re under is sending those Bs to war as soldiers and the mechanic shop is likely empty or understaffed.
Taking Bs throughout the day and popping into your Dr. to get a B vitamin injection is especially important during pre-pregnancy prep. Because many people have an unfortunate variant on their MTHFR gene – the one responsible for converting B9 to Methyl-Folate – getting a test to see if they should be supplementing with methyl folate instead of B9 is a great idea. If their gut is healthy and they’re a good converter, here are other great way to get crucial Bs in raw form:
**Though wheat bread used to have lovely fiber and B vitamins, some terrible things have happened to the US wheat seed making it a terrible choice. Specifically, the de-ammonization of our GMO Franken-wheat, fiber stripping, extra gluten added, and pesticide glyphosate bioengineered into the seed to save big corporations a patent bill, wheat bread in the US is unfortunately no longer a good option for B vitamins.
Look for ancient grains and breads shipped from Europe that ban Monsanto products if you’re hooked on bread. You can also bake your own at home with Einkorn wheat.
Getting back to Bs and how they are important to getting your client pregnant. Proper methylation is important in the context of fertility for many reasons. In the hormone section below, I’ll cover why estrogen dominance makes it hard for you to conceive. For now, know that Bs help the sperm not trigger miscarriage, controls dangerous chronic inflammation, and helps us metabolize estrogen avoiding dreaded estrogen dominance.
Let’s look deeper at breaks in the MTHFR conveyor belt.
Like any conveyor belt, a problem in the middle, affects the end result. Remember the famous Lucille Ball sketch at the chocolate factory? Her silly incompetence led to a huge chink on the conveyor belt chain resulting in not much chocolate getting through to the end. If we do have chinks in chunks of the belt, we need to address them.
In the methylation pathway, that could be not having enough amino acids ready to be built into hormones and chemicals, not enough B vitamin (mechanics) present, or methylation problems with our Bs (untrained mechanics showing up unable to do their job).
If you’re wondering if you may be one of the many poor converters, get a 23andme.com or ancestery.com test.
Supplementation should start with a high-quality, activated B Complex and Magnesium, or a prenatal vitamin that contains the active form of B vitamins. From there you can increase the methyl-folate in 400 mcg increments using well sourced products until you reach a state of “optimum” -one notch prior to the dose that elicits side effects.
There is more advanced testing that can indicate adequate methylation as well such as FIGLU levels, or a methylation pathway panel from Health Diagnostics Research Institute. You can also monitor homocysteine levels if these were above optimal to begin with (optimal is 7-8), but overall, going based on symptoms is more than adequate for the majority of people. Thereafter, it’s estimated that staying at an optimal dose of methylation support for 6-24 months before doses needed to maintain optimization can be lowered.
Why does this matter again?
Inefficient methylation (poor conversion to methylfolate) lowers Glutathione master antioxidant production making you susceptible to aging & free radical damage, especially of single cells like eggs and sperm. Having a healthy liver and a properly conversion MTHFR is essential, especially for older mamas-to-be.
Glutathione can be raised independent of methylation support by using glutathione directly or its immediate precursor, NAC. NAC has a number of properties, in addition to being a glutathione precursor. Most notably, it’s shown to effectively prevent miscarriage. The dose of NAC can range from 600 mg per day up to 3600 mg daily in divided doses.
And here’s a newsflash most don’t see coming: It’s the man’s genetic conversion of MTHFR that is tied to miscarriage directly. Male proband (sperm) MTHFR influences miscarriage more than egg. Fortunately, we know this and can make sure daddy supplements with methylated Bs. Get your clients tested and if you feel it’s appropriate for them to supplement, I like B pure by Pure Encapsulations. See other daddy supplement suggestions in chapter 7 for nutrient support.
Our final topic in the genomics chapter looks at oxidative stress to help the quality of egg & sperm: what lifestyle factors can do this and/or reference back to nutrition section and discussion of high antioxidant foods.
Oxidation is the toxic burn byproduct that releases free radicals into our body to wreak havoc. They go around stealing electrons from healthy cells and rapidly increase the aging process. Antioxidants, found in veggies and fruits, are what combat this oxidative stress.
Obviously we can increase our antioxidants through eating lots of veggies after balancing our gut bacteria and improving our intestines ability to absorb those nutrients. We can suggest antioxidant supplements and hope we can absorb their benefits.
We can also improve our bodies ability to detox out some of these free radicals through sleep and keeping the liver healthy so it can make master antioxidant glutathione.
Most importantly, we can slow the assault and avoid huge amounts of oxidation in the body by avoiding huge meals, intense workouts, sunburns, too much stimulation, processed foods, and chemicals in our environment. Anything that creates a lot of internal burning processes that release oxidation or directly puts the body in contact with pollutants that release oxidative stress.
CHAPTER 4. HORMONES
Let’s look at the major hormonal players in the game. You’ve heard of all of these but might be surprised at how ratios can matter even over amounts. Let’s deep dive into the factors to understand these five factors.
- Estrogen Dominance
- Cortisol’s role
- Xeno Hormone
- Thyroid Health
- High Blood Sugar
- Estrogen Dominance
What it is, how it happens, why it’s bad.
When the ratio of progesterone to estrogen is low, this is defined as estrogen dominance. It occurs as a result of poor estrogen metabolism, excess exposure to outside estrogen or compounds that mimic estrogen or from a decrease in progesterone production.
Detrimental because estrogen dominance blocks thyroid hormone
conversion (T4 to T3), which can affect your ability to conceive. It is involved in endometriosis, PCOS and formation of ovarian cysts.
How to address Estrogen dominance:
COMT (catecholamine methyl transferase): enzyme that breaks down
estrogen and that can be inherited genetically as a slowly functioning enzyme, thereby making women more susceptible to conditions of estrogen excess.
DIM, diindoylmethane, is a compound rich in cruciferous vegetables that increases the activity of the COMT enzyme. It would take 1.5 lbs. of cruciferous veggies to equal just 10-30 mg of DIM, so supplementation is recommended.
Calcium- D-gluconate: promotes binding of estrogen in the digestive tract to promote elimination.
The Progesterone to Estrogen ratio:
Not uncommon for women to be estrogen dominant. Estrogen dominance is defined by a ratio of P4 to E2 that is less than 100.
P4 is in Nano grams and E2 is in pictograms, so you have to convert the P4 by multiplying by 1000 before dividing by the estradiol levels. This is done with cycle day 19-21 levels on testing. This can be normal estrogen levels with low progesterone or high estrogen levels with normal or low progesterone.
Compounds that mimic estrogen can influence this ratio:
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the form of parabens found in many beauty products or BPA found in plastics. These are a big problem
so check their labels.
Environmental Working Group has helpful list of toxin filled and toxin free products. Check EWG.com SKIN DEEP to see which products have these bad ingredients.
Boosting Progesterone naturally:
Chaste Berry (vitex) boosts progesterone. Favorite brands are Gaia and Vital Nutrients.
Avoid Parabens & Plastics (mimic / increase estrogen).
Parabens are used in a wide variety of cosmetics, as well as in foods and drugs. Cosmetics that may contain parabens include makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving products, among others. Many major brands of deodorants do not currently contain parabens, although some may.
Cosmetics sold to consumers in stores or online must have a list of ingredients, each listed by its common or usual name. This is important information for consumers who want to find out whether a product contains an ingredient they wish to avoid. Parabens are usually easy to identify by their name, such as methyl paraben, propyl paraben, butyl paraben, or ethyl paraben.
Plastics have BPA in them – a chemical found in hard plastics and the coatings of food and drinks cans which can behave in a similar way to estrogen and other hormones.
Be mindful of Foods that Increase Estrogen Levels.
(These have many other benefits but should still be mentioned if estrogen dominance is an issue for you.)
Dried Fruits. Dried fruit, especially dried apricots, dates, and
prunes, can increase your estrogen levels in a big way.
Flaxseed. … High in Fiber & Omega 3s, these also help boost estrogen. (Ideally we keep these in our diet & stop the chemical estrogen mimickers that boost levels to imbalanced states)
Sesame Seeds. … Sesame seeds contain phytoestrogens. They are loaded with fiber and minerals.
Chickpeas. … Often eaten in Hummus form, this phytoestrogen is high in both fiber and protein.
Beans. … High Fiber & Protein sources that also are phytoestrogen
Peas. …phytoestrogen full of minerals like magnesium, iron, and potassium, even pack some protein. Peas are full of fiber and are a surprising source of Vitamin C.
Tempeh. …derived from soybeans which are estrogen building and loaded with minerals magnesium and iron along with fiber, protein, calcium and potassium.
Alfalfa Sprouts… contain phytonutrients, while being naturally low in calories and carbohydrates
Increase Your Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C Intake.
B6: metabolize foods, help form hemoglobin (part of your red blood cells), stabilize blood sugar, and make antibodies that fight disease. Found in: Fish, beef liver, and poultry are all good sources of B6, but the food richest in this vitamin—good news for vegetarians—is the chickpea, or garbanzo bean.
Vitamin C: important antioxidant necessary in bodily processes, such as protein metabolism and the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Sources: leafy greens, sweet red peppers, citrus like kiwi, cantaloupe, cooked broccoli and Brussels sprouts. *Remember to lightly cook these cruciferous veggies if you have low thyroid function.
Consume Foods Containing Zinc.
Zinc plays a role in immune function. Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food (74 mg per serving or nearly 500% of DV), but people more often consume zinc in Alaska King crab, red meat, and poultry.
Eat Magnesium Rich Foods.
Magnesium is involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions. including maintaining muscle and nerve function, keeping heart rhythm steady, and keeping bones strong. Good sources of the mineral include almonds, cashews, and green vegetables such as spinach.
Wheat bran is deceptive because it technically has the highest amount of magnesium per serving but you have to eat unrefined grains to get the benefit and wheat in the US often loses its magnesium in refinement. Magnesium is lost when the germ and bran are removed from wheat (as is the case with white and refined breads), so let’s focus on better sources of Magnesium.
US wheat is also de-ammonized making it less recognizable by the body but easier to mix with other foods so more convenient for food companies. It’s also high in pesticide glyphosate as well as gluten amounts which can exacerbate sensitivities against gluten in the body. With gluten looking structurally like thyroid hormone, if the body gets overwhelmed by the poison glyphosate and confused because so much gluten is present during the assault, the last thing we want is the thyroid pulling the emergency brake against pregnancy because the immune system is accidently attacking thyroid hormone.
Control Your Stress Levels.
Stress compromises our gut and its ability to filter our excess estrogen. It keeps our B vitamin stealing cortisol levels high. It literally steals the building blocks for Progesterone. It harms our ability to get proper rest and go through our clean up cycles.
- Cortisol’s role:
Stress hormone released during stress and inflammation that steals resources (like Vitamin B) to combat stress. These Bs are needed to convert building blocks into Progesterone and other feel good hormones, neurochemicals, and baby building chemicals.
Cortisol steals resources needed to make hormone pregnetalone, which is a precursor to Progesterone. Remember, Progesterone is named because it’s Pro-Gestation and is necessary for building baby, not just feeling calm. Progesterone is essential in conception — not just in maintaining pregnancy).
Progesterone is made from the corpus luteum (egg sac) after ovulation. It maintains the lining of the uterus preventing immune system rejection of growing baby. It also activates Osteoblasts.
Stress is such a saboteur of pregnancy, any calming activity is a HUGE win for baby. Stress throws systems off, steals resources, raises inflammation, and triggers a cascade of chemicals spreading the bad rumor that your body is in a state of war, not a relaxed, peaceful baby friendly space.
- External / (Xeno Hormone) Producers:
Xeno hormones are hormones from outside sources. They lead to Estrogen dominance throwing off the delicate balance necessary for conception. Sources of Xeno Hormones: Animal Milk, Car Exhaust, Plastics, Parabens, Pesticides, Solvents in soaps, Emulsifiers in beauty products.
- Thyroid’s role
As mentioned above, the thyroid is our watchdog gatekeeper. This butterfly shaped gland in our neck has the job to notice toxins and resources in our environment. If it’s an unsafe place due to toxins or there isn’t enough food to pick, the thyroid slows down activity in the body and puts us in protective hibernate mode. This is when we put on weight, feel tired, and don’t get pregnant.
We often see a slow thyroid that is trying to tell us something but because only one of the indicators is low, Western doctors have been trained to say women are fine and send them on their way. The levels acceptable to these conventional doctors is grossly low. And these poor women wonder why they aren’t getting pregnant!
This is called Subclinical hypothyroid – TSH being low but not addressed because an antibody shows up meaning it’s an autoimmune issue. This is a problem because TSH (thyroid hormone) is a major indicator from our watch dog thyroid that all is clear and it’s safe to expend energy. I’ve just addressed thyroid hormone levels and gotten women pregnant. Ideally, we address the reason the thyroid is pulling energy thyroid hormone back, but simply giving women thyroid hormone has done the trick.
- High Blood Sugar
High Blood sugar leads to excess Androgens (testosterone & DHEA). High sugar levels confuse the body into creating the androgen male sex hormones over female ones. PCOS results (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
High Blood Sugar = #1 REASON FOR PCOS (premenopausal infertility) in the US making it the #1 reason for infertility in our country.
Here’s why: Insulin excess leads to insulin resistance which = excess of estrogen conversion to testosterone. The lack of Ovulation from imbalanced hormones results in low estrogen & no progesterone.
High blood sugar also affects cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a precursor to hormone production and we need enough cholesterol present to build baby hormones.
CHAPTER 5. PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL CAUSES
The final spoke on our wheel of a balanced baby making body is the mind body connection. How you consciously or subconsciously feel about getting or being pregnant, your image of self, and what being a mom means to you all play significant factors in allowing pregnancy. This important element is often missed completely in the pregnancy discussion. Our formed beliefs, cultural pressures, fears, and inner dialogue play a role.
A scientific explanation to start with is Melissa Rankin’s book “Mind over Medicine” – how the power of our thoughts influence our biology.
Next, we want to look at three factors that may be creating blocks in your mind around being pregnant.
1) Trust of Self
Trust your abilities regardless of your early experiences or inner messaging around your capabilities. You can do this and you are not alone in having doubts. There are also great psycho therapists in this field that can deal with fears of being a bad parent, comparing ourselves in this culture of self-doubt, and processing old traumas from early abuse cycles that may arise during this time of transformation.
2) Masculine / Feminine imbalance in our modern world
With the wonderful advantages of women’s equality, some of the cost has been in “equality” being misconstrued for “the same.” Women increasingly find themselves having to play the masculine role without any concessions made for how they are biologically wired. Needs special to women, including honoring productivity levels associated with hormonal cycles, are largely ignored in our hyper masculine competitive work force. Women often squish their feminine to stay competitive in a world that values yang, strength, and masculine abilities. This operation from the masculine can lead some women to rejecting their feminine strengths and roles- including carrying and having children. They may be energetically resistant even as they are physically trying.
Another downside to the energetic masculine / feminine imbalance is that women often find themselves unmet, unseen, and unheard in their relationships. They may not have words to articulate this disconnect of
not being met in their relationship. They may dread being “stuck” with this partner that they don’t feel shows up for them. This is not exclusively the man’s fault but more a symptom of our current imbalance.
The combination of these two can leave a woman not feeling safe enough to release into her softer feminine. If it’s not safe to release control, she’s not going to allow herself to be vulnerable. And pregnancy is the ultimate surrender. A woman must feel safe to be vulnerable to expose her personal safety and her personal resources to grow a child.
3) Distrust of their body
With our perfectionist comparison culture of makeup, lighting, filters, and photo shop we’re raised to believe only certain bodies have worth and that worth is largely around being attractive to men. Sacrificing our pretty youthful mate-attracting body to build one man’s baby may be a fear women subconsciously carry.
Then there’s the inconvenience of being a woman. If monthly mood swings throw off a woman trying to compete in a masculine environment, being hormonally benched for a year is too much for many working women to fathom. Motherhood is not celebrated in this country with almost no maternity time being allowed and women being passed over for promotion so the company can avoid investing in someone that’s going to ‘bail for maternity leave anyway’. Women are taught to reject their body. Who can blame women for wanting to fast forward through the annoying parts of the female biological cycle.
Finally, there’s the fear of actual childbirth. Though we are designed to give birth, there is little preparation given to women around what to expect. Some cultures still prep women, but most have bought into the reality TV fake glam of celebrity mom’s looking perfect post pregnancy. Women don’t know what their body and mind are going to be like afterward and it’s frankly scary we don’t prepare women.
Modern women have heard it’s quite painful and the idea of their body stretching that way can be mind-bending. Women have been taught to reject their body as this foreign entity that can’t be controlled and often gets in the way of their ideal summer bikini body. They can develop fears of their future post baby rather than faith in the transformational process they’re about to undertake. They may subconsciously avoid this fear and energetically block pregnancy.
With all of these factors, it gets quite easy to distrust our bodies, capabilities, and support systems. There are appropriate trained healers, therapists, and birthing coaches. You are supported.
CHAPTER 6. PROLONGING YOUR FERTILITY
Here is a checklist for women interested in having kids later in life:
- High Antioxidant intake
- Avoid Sugar & binge drinking (moderate only & none ideally)
- Anti-Inflammatory diet
- Fish Oil & DHEA (testosterone precursor)- egg preserving… clinically proven. DHEA shown to help increased pregnancy rate in IVF using women over 37. It reverses effects of aging on eggs…. Shown to reduce miscarriage in women
- Avoiding Outside Estrogen sources… plastics, paraben, households, antibiotics, antibiotic filled meats (anything that disrupts microbiome and therefore hurts body’s ability to keep inflammation at bay.
- Avoiding Omega 6s- corn fed beef, vegetable & seed oils, (safflower, sunflower, grape seed oil, canola oil) processed foods – study show ova (egg) quality decreases with even short term omega 6 intake.
CHAPTER 7. LEAD UP TO PREGNANCY
- When to start detoxing- 3 months minimum before
- No sugar no alcohol
- No processed foods
- Greening home… bleach, plastics, parabens
- Supplementing for her: 3 months before
- Supplementing for him: 3 months before
- De-stress How & Now
- Breath work… 2 min breath time outs
- Rolling out & stretching
- Daily total 20-minute meditation- 5 min scheduled breaks…
- Apps & Tools: Headspace, Muse, GPS for the soul
- Tech unplug- digital sabbatical 24 hrs. per week
- Walks in nature
- ..touching sand, dirt, ocean
- Scheduled breaks
- Perspective reframe & gratitude thoughts
- Calming supplements: GABA, L-Theanine, Taurine, B vitamins, Magnesium
- Sexy time start: 3 months after detoxing mind, body, & home
- Three months after detox and supplementation
- Trusting (let go & watch it flow)
CHAPTER 8. SUPPLEMENT GUIDE
- Mommy Support:
- Prenatal multivitamin: ProThera Prenatal – prenatal essentials
- Mitochondria support – Pure Mitochondria ATP – ATP support
- Omega 3s – Nordic Naturals – Omega 3
- Probiotic – Therbiotic, Complete Probiotic
- Daddy Support
- Vitamin D- Vital Nutrient 2000 IU. capsule
- Vitamin B – B pure (w/food throughout day)– body can’t absorb too much at once
- Mitochondria support – Pure Mitochondria ATP – ATP support
- Probiotic -Therbiotic, Complete Probiotic
Additional important nutrients:
Zinc, Carnitine, Selenium, CoQ10, ALA, NaC, C, E, Resveratrol
In summary, the body has to feel safe and have enough reserves to consider pregnancy. If toxins have overwhelmed the immune system and inflammation is chronically high, body processes will be harmed and the thyroid alerted. We’ll have the emergency break pulled on our pregnancy efforts even as we allow sperm and egg to meet at the right time.
The right hormones must be made in order for gestation and ovulation to occur. Gut bacteria health, proper nutrients present, correct cofactor conversion, and balanced blood sugar all aid in hormone production, excretion, and overall balance.
Getting calm, toxin free, and loading up on nutrient rich foods will help. As will understanding how safe, confident, and excited we feel about being a woman and being pregnant.
Thank you for trusting me and the results of my practice in your journey to building your beautiful baby. Together we can understand and use the latest tools to get the body into balance and get you pregnant.
With love, Stephanie.