What is an ovulation ferning microscope? And how do you use one?

An ovulation ferning microscope is also known as a fertility microscope or ovulation saliva microscope and you probably never heard of one of these before trying for a baby. I first discovered these when chatting on a trying to conceive forum as a few of the ladies were raving about how useful they were. I was really interested to know how they worked, how one could help me get pregnant and how to use one and I will share what I have found with you. I will also give you a review of the one I bought and used.

What is an Ovulation ferning microscope?

An ovulation ferning microscope is a little hand held microscope that you can use to check if your estrogen levels are high and you are approaching ovulation. As I explained in the section ‘your menstrual cycle explained- the basics‘, the hormone estrogen starts to increase as you approach ovulation. This rise encourages the maturation of the eggs on your ovaries and causes you to produce fertile cervical mucus. In addition, it causes your cervix to soften and open to allow the passage of sperm up to the Fallopian tubes to fertilise the egg. Without a blood test or e.g. the Clearblue fertility monitor, you are unlikely to know for sure if your estrogen levels are starting to increase but with the help of an ovulation ferning microscope you can detect a rise with confidence.

How do ovulation ferning microscopes work?

Well it is actually quite clever. As mentioned above, as you are approaching ovulation you produce increasing levels of estrogen. High levels of this hormone causes your saliva to become more saline (salty) which changes its structure. This change can be clearly observed using an ovulation microscope.

You first need to smear a thin layer of saliva onto the microscope lens first thing in the morning (before you eat or drink anything or even brush your teeth) and let it dry for a few minutes. If you have high levels of estrogen in your system then once your saliva is dry, you will see some crystallisation. These crystals form a ferning pattern if you have a lot of estrogen in your body and indicates you are in your fertile window.

Do Ovulation ferning microscopes work?

Yes, they do work really well if used correctly. The first cycle I used my microscope I was using it wrong. I would use it at random times during the day and I would see a lot of particles on the lens which was probably bits of food etc. and I missed my estrogen peak. After reading up about their correct use and watching a few videos on Youtube however, it worked really well. I would see the odd patch of crystals on the lens at the beginning of my cycle but a few days before I ovulated, Boom!! The whole lens was covered in crystals in the characteristic ferning pattern.

Should you buy an ovulation microscope?

Ovulation microscopes can be very useful and can give you a greater chance of predicting when you may ovulate. They are not 100% accurate and should not be relied upon for e.g. birth control, but they can save you money when it comes to ovulation tests when trying to conceive. I had long cycles when I first came off the pill and I would go through so many ovulation tests every cycle. Once I bought a microscope however, I would only test when I observed a change in my cervical mucus and when I seen crystals on the microscope.

Product review: Babystart Fertil Focus Ovulation Microscope.

Before buying a microscope I read a few reviews and decided to invest in the Babystart Fertil Focus Ovulation Microscope as it was the most rated on Amazon and the comments were mostly positive. I was doubtful that they worked so I didn’t want to spend an awful lot. As mentioned above, I was using it wrong at first but I can now say that it worked brilliantly. It was easy to use and clean and totally reusable so I could test my saliva everyday. As it is the size of a lipstick it is also very discrete and it was easy to view the results through the lens viewer. I used it when I conceived both my son and daughter and as it gave me positive results before even my ovulation sticks, it definitely gave me that extra bit of warning.

Price:£24.99 (Please note that there are cheaper/more expensive ones available).

Amazon rating: 54% of customers gave 4 or 5 stars.

Please feel free to comment below to let me know if you have tried an ovulation ferning microscope and how you found it. If you have any questions on how best to use one, get in touch.

 

 

 

 

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How to increase cervical mucus naturally – Top 10 secrets revealed.

How to increase your fertile cervical mucus naturally.

You may not have notice this before trying for a baby but your cervical mucus changes throughout your cycle. As explained in the section titled ‘What is the fertile window?‘ you get a specific fertile vaginal discharge which is particularly watery or resembles egg white (EWCM) when you are fertile i.e. a few days before and during ovulation. This ‘fertile’ cervical mucus gives perfect conditions for sperm to swim and survive on their journey to the egg.

During the fertile window, your ovaries start to produce lots of the hormone estrogen which should increase the amount of your fertile cervical mucus. Unfortunately for some women however (including me), they don’t get very much of it. This can be a problem as having vaginal dryness when you need lubrication the most, can make sex painful for both you and your partner and can inhibit sperm on their journey to getting you pregnant. This often means that you reach for your favourite lube to make things more pleasant …………but then as discussed in my post on ‘sperm friendly lubricants‘, your normal lube can be doing more harm than good.

Most women are OK with investing in and using sperm friendly lubricants, but some would much prefer to try to increase the amount of her own natural fertile fluids instead. Luckily there are some great ways to increase your cervical mucus naturally and I will go through the top 10 ways to do this below.

1. Keep Hydrated.

You won’t be surprised to know that your cervical mucus is made up of around 90% water. It therefore makes sense that if you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water that you would be supporting the production of cervical mucus when it is needed.

If you find you are not producing much watery discharge or EWCM during ovulation, then your solution may be to just drink a few more glasses of water a day. We are all guilty at times of not drinking enough but if you already feel you are drinking plenty then don’t over do it. The average adult should drink around 2 litres a day to stay hydrated.

2. Does green tea help cervical mucus?

I have not tried this out myself as I do not like the taste of green tea but it is worth noting that some women have seen an increase in their fertile cervical mucus after drinking it.

Its effects have not been scientifically proven but as green tea has so many health benefits anyway, it won’t do you any harm and if anything if will simply up your intake of water.

3. Grapefruit juice and fertility.

I have read a lot about grapefruit juice increasing a woman’s fertility on different trying to conceive forums. Grapefruit juice is thought to help a woman’s vagina produce the optimal conditions for sperm and despite it being acidic it has an alkalizing effect on the body once it has been digested. Lots of women have reported seeing an increase in their fertile cervical mucus if they drink a glass a day during their fertile window which will then help sperm to survive and swim to the egg. In addition, grapefruit juice may also improve the texture of your cervical mucus further enhancing the passage of sperm through it.

                         

It needs to be 100% grapefruit juice though, which is free of concentrate and sugar/sweeteners. You can squeeze your own juice or buy pre-squeezed juice and although you may find it difficult to get juice free from concentrate in your local supermarket, you may find it in a health food shop or online. The brands ‘eager‘ and Beutelsbacher Demeter are very good.

4. Green vegetable smoothies and soups.

We are told consistently by dietitians that we all need to be eating lots of veg to stay healthy, in particular green veg as they are so high in various vitamins. It is also true that leafy green vegetables can greatly help a woman’s fertility, in particular the quality of her cervical mucus, so it has an added benefit.

If you do not like eating green vegetables and could not face a daily dose of broccoli or spinach, you could make a smoothie and add in some coconut milk, banana and nut butter (peanut or almond is very good) to make it taste more palatable. I currently have a Vitamix blender which is amazing and I would argue it is the best blender available at the moment! You just roughly chop up your veg and blitz it with some fruit, nuts, seeds etc and you can boost your fertility no end. Then once you have your little one all of your own, you can use it to make their baby food, smoothies, healthy ice-cream etc.

I often make a green smoothie for my son which we call ‘dinosaur juice’ and I hide all sorts in there including chia seeds, spinach and avocado. The Vitamix is so good because it keeps all the fibre and makes the drink so smooth you would have no idea of the contents. The same goes for vegetable soups. Throw a load of boiled veg in the Vitamix with a stock cube and the left over veg water and turn it on. It not only blends the soup to an almost silky smooth texture. If you are making a raw vegetable soup, it also heats it up as it blends. You can ensure your smoothie or soup is full of goodness and easy to digest and it will improve your fertile mucus production and your fertility in general. You would have no excuses for you and your growing family to not get your 5 a day so is a great investment.

5. Garlic and fertility.

If you really want to go down the natural route then this one may be worth a go. Some women have seen an increase in their fertile cervical mucus after eating a clove of raw garlic every day before ovulation.

They do say the more garlic you eat, the less you can smell it on your breath but I will honestly say I gave this one a miss. Maybe if your partner eats some as well it wouldn’t be so bad.

6. FertileCM supplements.

FertileCM is a dietary supplement specifically designed to enhance the production of fertile cervical mucus and brings about ideal conditions for sperm to survive. It contains L-Arginine which is known to increases cervical mucus production. It also helps to support and enhance the uterine lining ready for implantation of a fertilised egg. An added bonus of using this supplement is that some ingredients in FertileCM have been shown to increase a woman’s sex drive and so can make trying for a baby less of a means to an end and more enjoyable. After taking FertileCM for a few cycles I definitely noticed an increase in the amount of egg white cervical mucus I had during ovulation.

Price: £26.31 for 1 month supply (90 capsules)

Amazon Rating: 75% of customers have given 4 or 5 stars.

7. Evening Primrose Oil and fertility.

Evening Primrose oil is a must have when trying to increase your cervical mucus naturally. It is a herbal supplement containing a fatty acid called GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid). This GLA is converted into prostaglandins in the body, which may enhance the production of your fertile cervical mucus. Evening primrose oil capsules should be taken between your period and ovulation ONLY. You should stop taking evening primrose oil after ovulation as it may cause mild uterine contractions. This is helpful when you want a fertilised egg to attach to the uterine lining. If you chart your temperatures or have other reliable signs of ovulation then you can stop taking them at the correct time. The suggested dose is 500mg three times a day (1500mg per day) for the first cycle. If your cervical mucus has not increased then you may up that dose to 1000mg three times a day during your next cycle.

Price: Efamol Woman Pure Evening Primrose Oil 500mg – £10.65 for 1 month supply (90 capsules).

Amazon rating: 94% of customers gave 4 or 5 stars.

Price: Blackmores Evening Primrose Oil 1000Mg – £27.98 for 63 days supply (190 capsules).

Amazon rating: Only has 1 customer review giving 5 stars.

8. L-Arginine and fertility.

L arginine is an amino acid which we can take it as a supplement. It may enhance blood flow to the pelvic area by helping our bodies increase the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels and helps to increase blood flow to the uterus, ovaries, and genitals and can help improve fertility for both a woman and man. One of the benefits to women is that it can increase the amount of cervical mucus produced. Be aware that FertileCM contains L-Arginine so you should not take both supplements together. Recommended dose is 1000mg twice daily. If you have a good intake of red meat then this supplement may be unnecessary but for all those vegetarians out there, it could really help your fertility.

Price: Amazing Formulas L-Arginine – 1000 mg £16.49 for 2 months supply (120 capsules).

Amazon rating: 90% of customers give 4 or 5 stars.

 9. Borage oil and fertility.

Borage seed oil is high in omega-6 essential fatty acids. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a great source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), the precurser of prostaglandins (which may increase fertile cervical mucus). It not only increases cervical mucous but it can balance out hormone levels but as it works in a similar way to evening primrose oil, it should not be taken together. The recommended dose is 1000mg daily.

Price: Borage Oil 1000 Mg (Yielding 240 Mg of GLA) – £13.99 for 3 months supply (90 capules).

Amazon rating: 50% of customers gave 5 stars.

10. Red Clover and Fertility.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) has been shown to increase cervical mucus and therefore aids vaginal dryness. It does this by increasing the blood circulation to the uterus and ovaries. It can be taken in tea form or in capsules and tinctures. Red clover contains compounds similar to phystoestrogens which help to increase levels of estrogen before ovulation. Estrogen not only helps to stimulate the maturation of an egg on the ovaries but it also stimulates the production of cervical mucus.

Capsules: High Strength Red Clover 1000mg – £16.09 for 3 months supply (120 capsules).

Amazon rating: 74% of customers gave 4 or 5 stars.

Tea: Neuner’s Organic Red Clover Tea 40 tea bags – £9.72 for 10-20 days supply (if drinking 2-4 cups a day).

Amazon rating: 93% of customers gave 4 or 5 stars.

Tincture: Viridian: 100% Organic Red Clover Tincture 50ml – £6.70 – Dose is 60–100 drops one to three times a day.

Amazon rating: only has two reviews but 100% gave 4 or 5 stars.

Antihistamines and cervical mucus.

If you suffer from allergies like hay fever or pet allergies then you may be taking antihistamines such as piriton daily. These medicines are great at drying up your runny nose but sadly they could be having a negative effect your fertility.Although they are designed to help dry up mucus in your nose, they may also be causing your cervical mucus to dry up too. If you take antihistamines regularly and you find you are having problems with vaginal dryness then it may be worth investing in some sperm friendly lubricants such as Pre-seed or Conceive plus. You may also ask your doctor for advice on this matter.

I really hope you enjoyed this post and would love to hear about anymore natural ways to increase the amount of cervical mucus. Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is sperm friendly lubricant? And how can it help you conceive?

What is sperm friendly lubricant?

A common mistake women make when trying for a baby is to carry on using their normal lubricants such as Durex, KY jelly or baby oil. Such lubricants can reduce a sperms motility greatly and can negatively effect their passage through the cervix so they must be avoided. If you want to use a lubricant when trying to conceive then you need one that is sperm friendly which actually supports sperm rather than inhibit or damage it.

Do sperm friendly lubricants work?

Yes! Sperm friendly lubricants or fertility friendly lubricants are clinically proven to work and over 80% of customers have given Pre-seed a 4 or 5 star review rating on Amazon.

As I didn’t always get egg white cervical mucus every cycle and the months I did get it I didn’t have very much, a lubricant was a must have for us. I wanted to give myself an edge and do everything I could to ease the passage of sperm to the right place. After doing some research, I knew fertility friendly lubricants existed and worked well although they can be a bit more expensive. Despite this I am very glad I invested as I managed to conceive 4 times while using it.

What is the best Sperm friendly lubricant on the market?

I have tried and tested most of the most popular sperm friendly lubricants you can buy online and I have also recently found a new one which has just been put on sale. There are probably a lot more brands and will be in the future but I will review the ones that are readily available to you. It all depends on your budget really and what you prefer to use i.e. self filling applicators, individual pre-filled applicators or just a tube you can apply yourself as and when you need it.

Pre-Seed:

Pre-Seed Fertility – Friendly Vaginal Lubricant Multi-Use Tube with 9 Applicators 40g.

Price:  £14.95 (RRP £19.99).Amazon Rating: Over 80% of customers have given Pre-seed 4 or 5 stars.

Review: Pre-seed is probably the most popular and well known brand of all the sperm friendly lubricants and they have been prefecting their recipe over many years. I found it to be very easy to use and it was a great lubricant which comes with little applicators/syringes to help you get it where it is needed. I actually conceived twice using this lubricant and I really recommend giving it a go. :

  • Pre-seed is clinically proven to be a sperm friendly lubricant.
  • It allows the free movement of sperm.
  • Its pH is similar to a woman’s fertile cervical mucus.
  • It is used within fertility clinics and was developed by doctors.
  • It’s isotonic formula is less irritating to the genitals than other leading sperm friendly lubricants.

Conceive Plus:

Conceive plus: Conceive Plus Fertility Lubricant, Tube 75ml.

Price: £16.15 (Was £17.33). or

Conceive plus: Individual use applicators.

Price3 pack is £10.84  or 8 pack is £16.97.

 Amazon rating: 75% of customers give conceive plus 4 or 5 stars.

Review: When trying out Conceive Plus I found the 75ml tube was more suitable for me. The pre-filled applicators are very good but I found I would go through them very quickly and needed to buy more. With the tube you can chose how much you need and when you need it so there is less waste. The lubricant is very similar in texture to any other lubricant and I cannot fault it really. I conceived my son using this after 6 long months of trying. It has great reviews on Amazon and lots of ladies have conceived using it. I would definitetly recommend giving it a go.

Ritex Kinderwunsch conception lubricant.

Ritex KINDERWUNSCH Conception Lubricant – 8x4g Pre-Filled Conception Applicators.

Price:14.49.

Amazon Rating: This lubricant has not been rated on Amazon as of yet.

Review: This lubricant is quite new and as I only recently discovered it I have not tried it myself yet. The price seems ok and it has been clinically tested etc. It is sperm friendly and has a natural pH similar to semen and cervical mucus so will support a sperms journey like the other lubricants. It is produced in Germany hense the crazy name and is said to be made with ”state-of-the-art technology”.

Emerita Natural Lubricant

Emerita – Natural Lubricant  – 4oz bottle.

Price: £17.96.

Amazon Rating: 86% of customers give 4 or 5 stars.

Review: Emerita’s Natural Lubricant is not specifically aimed at those trying to conceive but of all the other lubricants, this one is the most natural. It lubricates really well and is free of mineral oil and petrolium. It contains vitamin E and allantoin which help relieve vaginal dryness but as it is sperm friendly it can be used when trying to conceive. If you want to go for the more natural option then this is a great choice. It washes out of bedclothes easily and doesn’t stain. I conceived my daughter using this lubricant so it works extremely well.

Zestica Fertility.

Zestica Fertility Lubricant – 6 pre-filled applicators.

Price: £33.90. Amazon Rating: No rating by customers at present.

Review: I am going to state the obvious here and say it is more expensive than other sperm friendly brands on sale but it contains Hyaluronic Acid which has been shown to increase sperm motility. If your man’s sperm has low motility then it might be a good investment for you. The applicators make it easy to apply the lubricant around the cervix where it is needed and it has been designed specifically for woman with very little fertile cervical mucus. All in all it is a great lubricant although a little pricey. I have seen this on sale at Amazon from time to time so it is worth keeping an eye out for a bargain. I only paid  £8.95 for 6 applicators of Amazon back in March 2018, so there is a great bargain to be had from time to time and for this price I would give 5 stars.

Fertilty packs.

What I did when I first started trying for a baby was to buy a ‘Fertility Pack’ off Amazon which contained the following: 1 x Pre-seed Multi Use 9 + Applications and 15 x 20mIU/ml Ovulation and 10 x 10mlU/ml Pregnancy Tests – all for just £19.99. This way I got a bit more for my money and I got to try out the cheaper ovulation tests before I bought more. If you don’t yet have a thermometer to chart your ovulation and would like one then this ‘Fertility pack with thermometer‘ might be a good option for you at just £22.99.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to comment if there are any other sperm friendly lubricants you have tried or recommend I put on my review list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can the female orgasm help you get pregnant?

Can the female orgasm increase your chances of conceiving?

This is something I came across by accident and I found it quite fascinating to discover that the female orgasm can assist us when trying to conceive. Being a biologist and firm believer in evolution, I always wondered what the point of a female orgasm was (apart from being very enjoyable of course). It should in theory give us some sort of advantage when it comes to reproduction and I think I may have found my answer.

Having regular orgasms is proven to reduce our stress levels and may help a woman to ovulate more regularly. Having orgasms can help to reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood stream. This hormone is known to have an effect a women’s fertility by delaying or preventing ovulation if levels are high for prolonged periods. By ovulating more regularly, this in turn will give her more opportunities in a given time frame e.g. 12 months, to conceive.

Not only this but the female orgasm may also assist the passage of sperm up through the cervix. The contractions caused during a female orgasm may help to suck the sperm up through the cervix and help us to retain more sperm inside us for longer. This will in turn increases the chances of a sperm cell reaching the egg. The key for this technique to work is to have the orgasm after your partner has deposited his sperm inside you. So ladies your man has no excuses! You just need to switch roles for a while and let him climax before you. Once he is satisfied it’s your turn to have some fun.

Having orgasms during your period may also help to shorten your cycles by helping to shed the uterus lining more quickly due to the uterine contractions. I doubt this can shorten your cycles by much but it is still an interesting fact nonetheless. If this is true then it will also give a women more chances to conceive over e.g. a 12 month period.

Having regular sex can boost your fertility.

In addition to having regular orgasms, just having regular sex for fun outside of your fertile window can also help boost your fertility in a number of ways. Having regular sex (even if you do not climax) can once again help to reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood stream.  Having regular sex can therefore help us to ovulate more regularly and thus increase a woman’s chances of conceiving.

Furthermore, semen (the fluid which carries the sperm cells) contains a certain protein which may actually help to stimulate ovulation. Once semen is present in the vagina it may encourage or kick start the ovulation process. Lots of research suggests this is the case in many animal species and could be for humans too.

Having regular sex can protect against miscarriage.

Having sex regularly can alter a woman’s immune system in a way to give her an advantage when trying to have a baby. Our body produces an immune response when it detects a foreign cell or tissue inside our bodies (anything from a bacterium to a transplanted organ). When a woman is ovulating, she will produce high levels of a different immune cell which helps us to accept foreign cells such as a sperm cell or embryo. A study found that for women who are having regular sex outside of their fertile window have higher levels of this immune cell so preparing us for the foreign cells in advance. Our bodies really are amazing!

What is the best sex position to get pregnant?

I have seen this question asked so many times on trying to conceive forum and I became quite interested to find a definitive answer. I carried out a lot of research and I came to the conclusion that there is no one position that is better than another. I wish I could tell you that doing missionary or doggy style or backwards cowboy etc. would increase your chances but there is no solid evidence for this so I would not worry about it. Just do whatever position you and your partner prefer and have fun!

What I would say is to try to stay lying flat for at least 15 minutes or so afterwards so that the sperm remains inside the vagina for as long as possible after having sex. I preferred having sex at night before falling asleep to give the sperm the best chances and I would often even stick a pillow under my bum but I doubt this made any difference.

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How to get pregnant faster.

First of all I would like to say welcome to My fertility! My name is Vicki and I really hope you find some of the information I have put together useful and that it in some way aids you on your trying to conceive journey.

The aim of this website is firstly to help as many women out there get pregnant faster! I know myself that as soon as the decision is made to start trying for a baby that it cannot happen soon enough. If you are searching for ways to get pregnant faster and to understand what actually happens to your own body during your monthly cycles, then you have come to the right place!

So on that note…..congratulations! You have decided to take control of your fertility and start being pro-active on your journey to being a parent. To the right are links to all of my 30 most recent posts/blog pages.

Thanks

Vicki at My Fertility

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Progesterone and Fertility – low progesterone can prevent conception.

Progesterone and Fertility.

I am doing a post on this topic as low progesterone after ovulation was the reason I struggled to get pregnant for 16 months and I believe it was the reason for my chemical pregnancy and spotting during early pregnancy. If you are aware of the day you ovulate (through physical signs and charting your temperatures) and you spot lots before your period is due or you come on your period less than 12 days after you ovulate, then please read on.

It could be that your progesterone levels drop too early causing you to have a shorter than average luteal phase and although it is really problematic when trying to conceive the problem could be very easily rectified.

Low progesterone and Fertility.

Low progesterone after ovulation may cause a short luteal phase which means that the lining of your uterus may shed before a fertilised egg can implant. This is a massive hindrance if you are trying to get pregnant but is easily solved either naturally through Fertility herbs and Fertility vitamins including Vitex, Maca root and Vitamin B6 or with the use of progesterone treatment prescribed my your doctor.

Progesterone levels after ovulation should be nice and high and remain high for at least 12 days. If progesterone levels drop to soon then your chances of getting pregnant are reduced and you could even suffer an early miscarriage if you successfully conceive which is heart breaking….trust me I know. Having low progesterone in early pregnancy may cause a miscarriage as the lining of the uterus can start to shed and along with it the precious embryo.

I suffer from low progesterone and a luteal phase defect and I struggled to conceive my son for 16 long months. My luteal phase was particularly short and I wanted to try to lengthen it naturally using ‘Fertility herbs and Fertility vitamins’ first but my issue was so bad and I was so stressed out I had to seek help from a gynecologist.

Progesterone treatment.

There are 4 main forms of progesterone treatment and I will briefly discuss the positives and negatives below.

Which progesterone treatment should I choose? Tablets?, Creams? Injections? or suppositories?

– The injections are very successful but it is unlikely that you would be prescribed the injections to do yourself at home. This form of the treatment is usually performed after IVF under controlled conditions so is probably not an option for most of us. It increases the blood levels of the progesterone and therefore maintains the uterus lining ready for implantation of the fertilised egg.

– The results from tablets seem to be a bit mixed and some studies suggest that although blood levels reach higher levels than the creams and suppositories their effects are poorer. They have little local affect on the uterus lining.

– The progesterone creams do not really increase the levels of progesterone in the blood stream but as you rub it into the thigh which is close to your uterus it could have some local effects on the uterus. Again the results are very mixed.

– I have also been doing some research on the use of Pregnenolone  which is the pre cursor to progesterone. Research has shown that by rubbing Pregnenolone cream into your skin (usually the thigh) it can naturally increase the amount of progesterone made by your body.  As you can buy this cream off the internet it might be worth looking into especially if you are keen to increase your progesterone levels naturally.  I will be writing a separate post on the use of this cream in my blog page shortly.

– Progesterone suppositories seem to have a very good success rate and are favored by most gynecologists. Although the suppositories do not increase blood levels as high as the tablets or injections there is evidence to suggest that by inserting the suppository close to where it is needed (the uterus) it can have the biggest affect and this is why they are used more often in the UK with great success.

How to use progesterone.

Here I will go through in detail how to use the progesterone suppositories to get the most out of this treatment and give yourself the best chance of success.

When to start taking progesterone?

If you chart your cycles and you can confirm when you ovulate then start taking it after 3 mornings of high temperatures. This is confirm you have definitely ovulated before taking the treatment.

You should stop taking them 16 days after ovulation if your pregnancy tests are negative and you should come on your period a few days later. Your doctor will likely tell you to stop taking them 12-14 days after ovulation but this is too early to definitely confirm if you are pregnant or not. Lots of women don’t get their positive tests for 15/16 days after ovulation due to late implantation and you could bring on an early miscarriage by stopping them too early. If you get a positive pregnancy test then carry on taking it until you are 14-16 weeks pregnant.

If you get a negative test and stop taking the progesterone but your period does not arrive after a few days then it would be wise to do a pregnancy test to make sure.

Progesterone dose and how to use progesterone suppositories?

This will vary depending on the brand of progesterone suppository you are prescribed but this is what I was advised by my gynecologist and the instructions on how to take them

– Cyclogest suppositories 200mg vaginally or rectally twice daily from day 14 of your cycle for 12 days each cycle. If you become pregnant then continue this treatment until about 14-16 weeks.

These instructions did not take into account that my cycles were irregular in length and I did not ovulate on the same day each cycle and definitely not on cycle day 14. This is another reason when monitoring your cycles and your fertile signs is important. If I had followed these instructions then I would never have concieved as I probably wouldn’t of ovulated.

On the cycles I conceived both my son and daughter using progesterone I ovulated later than day 14 and by charting my cycles I started the treatment after ovulation.

Side effects of progesterone.

I did not have any negative side effects from using this treatment. I had no spotting which was great but they were a be a bit messy to use. They are waxy in texture and shaped like a bullet so although were easy to insert they melt inside you.

 

I would recommend lying down for a bit after inserting them so that once melted they can coat your cervix and the inside of the vagina and do their magic. Inevitably some will leak out as the day goes on but this is normal and nothing to worry about. Some women complain of irritation to their vagina but I didn’t experience this. Some women get nausea and head aches but again this depends on the individual.

Do not have sex or have oral sex after use the progesterone as it may irritate your man’s penis and he shouldn’t ingest any.

Progesterone and miscarriage.

Does progesterone help prevent miscarriage? The answer to this is both yes and no.

Yes, progesterone may prevent early miscarriage.

If you use Progesterone treatment after ovulation and carry on taking it until your period is missed then it can help maintain your uterus lining and therefore aid in implantation. Progesterone may therefore prevent an early miscarriage or chemical pregnancy by giving the egg the chance to implant properly. If you carry on taking the progesterone until you are 16 weeks pregnant then your baby will have every chance to survive. At 14 – 16 weeks gestation the placenta takes over the production of progesterone so you can stop taking it.

No, progesterone will not maintain an inviable pregnancy.

Although progesterone can help aid a fertilized egg implant and it helps to maintain a nutrient thick uterine lining to feed your baby, it will not support an in-viable pregnancy. Lots of studies have shown that if there is a chromosomal problem with the developing embryo then a miscarriage will occur even when taking progesterone treatment. If you get pregnant and there is a problem then your body will abort the pregnancy if necessary although the miscarriage will more than likely be delayed. This happened to a friend of mine who miscarried at 7 weeks due to chromosome abnormality with the baby despite being on progesterone treatment.

Should you try progesterone treatment?

My thoughts on this are as follows…. if it is not going to do you or your baby any harm and it will not support an in-viable pregnancy then it is better to try them than not if you are having recurrent early miscarriages or have a short luteal phase. I truly believe if I had not used progesterone to help maintain my lining, I would not have my son or daughter here today and there are countless success stories online of women who have experienced the same success.

 

If you discover you have a short luteal phase (shorter than 11-12 days) and you are struggling to get pregnant, if you experienced recurrent early miscarriages along with spotting between ovulation and your period, then speak to you GP about progesterone suppositories. It could be your solution like it was mine.

Please comment below if you have had any experiences with using progesterone.

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Does Vitex help fertility? Let me tell you my experience.

Vitex and Fertility.

When I first came off the pill and wanted to start trying to conceive I met my first hurdle…….no period. After 3 months I went to see my GP and we did blood tests. My prolactin levels were slightly high so this could have been the reason and all my other reproductive hormones were the low end of normal. I felt like I wanted to do something pro-active to try to balance out my hormone levels and so I started to look into the use of fertility herbs. I kept seeing the fertility herb Angus castus AKA Chasteberry or Vitex so started to do some research.

What is Vitex?

I have mentioned Vitex in the section on ‘fertility herbs and fertility vitamins’ but I felt I needed to give it its only post as I am sure this herb in particular has helped me to ovulate more regularly and Vitex has helped me to conceive 4 times.

Vitex is a very popular fertility herb which has been used for 100’s of years to improve fertility as it helps to balance out a women’s fertility hormones. It helps to support the pituitary gland which regulates the sex hormones released by the ovaries which results in a more regular period and therefore more regular ovulation. This in turn brings about a more predictable fertile window to try to conceive. Vitex can increase the amounts of luteinizing hormone (LH) produced before ovulation which may also boost our progesterone levels after ovulation. As progesterone helps us to maintain a healthy uterine lining for longer this is very important for implantation.

Does Vitex help fertility? Here is my experience.

I read lots of positive feedback and reviews from women who had tried Vitex so I decided to give it a go. I didn’t ovulate for quite a while after starting it (2-3 months) but as fertility herbs can take a while to work, I was quite sure that the Vitex was having a positive effect. My cervical mucus would start to intermittently resemble the fertile egg white cervical mucus (which was an indication I was maybe fertile) and I would get positive ovulation tests here and there. Before taking Vitex my cervical mucus was always scant and sticky and my ovulation tests were always negative. I was charting my cycles at the time using my basal body temperature so I knew when I finally ovulated and I managed to conceive.

I had a chemical pregnancy but with the help of Vitex I ovulated again 2 months later and conceived again. This also ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks but I felt that at least I was getting somewhere. I carried on taking Vitex and over the coming months my cycles got shorter and more regular which gave me more chances to try for a baby which was great. I finally conceived again after 6 months and now I have a lovely little boy.

Was it all just a coincidence?

When my son was 6 months old my cycles returned and as I knew I wanted to try for another baby quite soon I started to take Vitex again straight away. I was ovulating irregularly (between day 15 and 30) but my cycles were shorter and I managed to conceive my daughter the first month of trying.

When my daughter was 6 months old my cycles returned again but this time I had no plans to try for another baby. I therefore didn’t start taking Vitex again or any other fertility herbs/vitamins. My first 3 cycles were really long again (35 plus days). I was not ovulating until around cycle day 32-38 and my luteal phase was very short at just 7 days.

The above chart shows I ovulated on cycle day 38 and my luteal phase was only 7 days long. I decided to start taking Vitex again, along with Vitamin B6 100mg (as part of a vitamin B complex) to see if it could help.

The first two cycles taking Vitex and Vitamin B6 I still didn’t ovulate until cycle day 32 and 33, but my luteal phase lengthened to 9 days which was something at least.

Above is my March – April 2018 chart after I had been taking Vitex for 2 months. I ovulated on cycle day 33 and my period arrived 10 days later giving me a 9 day luteal phase. I spotted for 3 days before it arrived.

I was doubtful that my luteal phase would lengthen much more than 9 days however this cycle I got a pleasant surprise. Not only did I ovulate on cycle day 19 but my luteal phase has astonishing lengthened to 14 days with no spotting. This is the first time this has happened while I have been charting my ovulation (in 4 years). As I have always suffered from a luteal phase defect i.e. a luteal phase of 7-10 days, and usually spot for 2 days before my period arrives, this difference is unbelievable.

So not only has the Vitex and Vitamin B6 helped me ovulate around 2 weeks earlier than in my previous 5 cycles, they have helped my body establish a completely normal luteal phase in my last cycle. When I conceived my two children I had to use progesterone to increase my luteal phase as it was too short. If this is the new ‘normal’ for me, then I would not need progesterone treatment to conceive again. I am looking forward to seeing if I will ovulate earlier again this cycle and if my luteal phase is still in the normal range.

Can you take Vitex during pregnancy?

Research suggests that Vitex is safe in early pregnancy and may actually can help to prevent early miscarriage through its positive effects on our progesterone levels. It should be stopped after 12 weeks however to prevent early milk production. From 12 -14 weeks the placenta takes over the production of progesterone so it is no longer needed anyway. If you fall pregnant and are concerned then it is best to speak to your GP to be safe.

Vitex works best when taken over a long period of time and depending on the individual but can take a while to take effect (up to 6 months). It helps to give long term balance to a women’s hormone levels so patience is needed. It should be taken once daily in the morning on an empty stomach (half an hour before breakfast). The suggested dose is 1000mg day but you will struggle to buy this dose in any health food shops in the UK. You can only buy them at 1000mg online.

  

Vitex should not be used alongside prescription fertility drugs such as chlomid or that contain hormones e.g.progesterone.

For more information on the benefits of Vitamin B6 and other Fertility herbs and Vitamins check out this section.

If you have tried Vitex or Vitamin B6 yourself then please comment below to share your experiences or if you have any questions then feel free to ask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Fertility Blog!

I am going to use this section to discuss all things babies…..from getting pregnant to preparing for the birth, from to birth inductions to recovering from a c-section or forceps delivery. I will discuss to the things you truly need for your baby once it is here and give honest reviews of the products I have tried and tested. I will tell you what was in my hospital bag and how I managed to turn my daughter from the breech position to head down twice. I hope you enjoy my blog page.

Trying to conceive abbreviations – what do they all mean?

Can the female orgasm help you get pregnant?

Early signs of pregnancy.

Progesterone and Fertility.

How to increase cervical mucus naturally – Top 10 secrets revealed.

 

 

 

 

 

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Trying to conceive abbreviations – what do they all mean?

Trying to conceive abbreviations

When I first started trying to conceive I thought I had missed the boat when it comes to all the jargon that goes on within the baby forums and trying to conceive forums. I had no idea what each abbreviation meant and it actually put me off asking for help or joining discussions for a long time. I was desperate to chat to other women who were trying for a baby however so I decided to do some research.

I discovered what most of the more common abbreviations stand for and I have put together a little list below so you can be an expert in no time.

AF = Aunt Flo – this is another way to say your period e.g. AF or Aunt Flo is due means your period is due.

AI – Artificial Insemination = when semen is injected into the vagina or uterus.

BFP = big fat positive = a positive pregnancy test.

BFN = big fat negative = a negative pregnancy test.

BD =  babydance/bodydance = means to have sex or intercourse.

BBT – basal body temperature = is the lowest body temperature taken at rest immediately after waking up and before any physical activity has been carried out. It is used to chart your ovulation.

B/W = bloodwork = Blood tests to measure e.g. hormone levels.

BF – Can mean to Breastfeed or your boyfriend

BH – Braxton hicks contractions = weak/false uterine contractions during pregnancy which are irregular.

BP – Blood pressure

CD – Cycle day = The number of days since the first day of your last period.

CIO – Cry it out = to have a good cry.

CM – Cervical mucus = Your vaginal discharge.

CVS  – chorionic villus sampling = a test carried out in early pregnancy to uncover any congenital abnormalities in the baby.

CP = Chemical pregnancy=- when a women gets a positive pregnancy test around the time her period is due but it is usually faint and she comes on her period a few days later.

Dpo – days past ovulation = how many days it has been since the day you ovulated.

DH – dear husband = Your husband.

DW – dear wife = Your wife.

DS/DD – dear son/dear daughter = Your son or daughter.

DOR – Diminished Ovarian Reserve = This means a women has a low number of viable eggs left in her ovaries.

EWCM – egg white cervical mucus = this is your fertile cervical mucus you get when in your fertile window.

EDD – Estimated due date = the date your baby is due.

FF- Formula feeding = When a women is using formula to feed her baby.

GF – Girl friend.

HTH- Hope this helps

HPT – home pregnancy test = a pregancy test that you can buy and do at home.

ICSI – Intracytoplasmic sperm injection = when a single sperm cell is injected straight into a women’s egg in a laboratory.

IUI  – Intrauterine insemination =when sperm is placed inside a woman’s uterus.

IVF – In vitro fertilisation = is a process of fertilisation where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body e.g in a test tube

LMAO = Laughing my arse off

LOL = Laughing out loud

MW = Midwife

MC = miscarriage

MMC – missed miscarriage = this is when a women has miscarried but her body has not yet rejected the pregnancy. A MMC is usually discovered at an early scan when the baby has stopped growing earlier on and has no heart beat.

NS or NT scan –  Nuchal scan/nuchal translucency scan =  is an ultrasound scan used to measure the thickness of the fold of skin at the back of the unborn babies neck. This can indicate if the baby is likely to have Down’s syndrome.

OPK =  ovulation prediction kit = ovulation test.

OH – other half = your partner/husband/wife.

OMG = Oh my god/gosh/goodness.

OT – Off topic = when someone is changing the subject within a discussion

PG – Pregnant.

POASA = pee on a stick addict = This is used when a women is trying to concieve and is obsessed with doing ovulation or pregnancy tests.

Pupo =  pregnant until proven otherwise i.e. until your period arrives there is still that possibility you could be pregnant. Some women also use the phase ‘ I am not out yet’, meaning her period has not arrived yet …….or ‘I am out’ meaning her period has arrived.

PND – Postnatal depression = depression experienced by women following childbirth and is associated with  hormonal changes, fatigue and the psychological adjustment linked to being a mum.

SD – Sperm donor =  when a sample of sperm is donated to a women to be used artificial insemination by a man that is not the women’s sexual partner.

TMI – Too much information = This is used to warn the reader of the impending detail they are about to share about a sensitive subject.

TTC – trying to conceive = trying to get pregnant.

TTW – two week wait = this basically means the luteal phase or part of your cycle after you ovulate. As the luteal phase is on average 14 days long it is called the two week wait before your period is due.

VBAC – Vaginal birth after Cesarean = This is when a women has had a Cesarean with her previous child and has managed a natural vaginal birth with her next child.

If there are any I have missed then please write to me in the comments section at the bottom so I can add them.

 

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Fertility Vitamins and Fertility Herbs – improve fertility naturally.

On my TTC journey I was constantly looking for natural ways to boost my fertility without relying on medication. I will give you some great information here and also ways you can boost your man’s fertility too.

Fertility vitamins.

When it comes to fertility vitamins for both men and women there is a lot of choice. You can either take an all in one pre-conception vitamin which contains lots of different things at the ideal doses or you could opt to take just a selection of vitamins individually. There are several vitamins that increase fertility and these vitamin supplements can help fertility by ensuring your hormones are balanced and as well as protecting your eggs and sperm from any damage. They can also increase your mans sperm count and quality. I will go through which vitamins to look out for in a good preconception vitamin when trying to conceive and why. I will also point out which ones your man should be taking.

Fertility vitamins for women.

Folic acid versus folate: When you decide to start trying for a baby you are generally advised to start taking at least 400 micro grams of folic acid everyday and to carry on taking it until you are at least 12 weeks pregnant. By taking this dose of folic acid we are told that it can help reduce the chances of your baby having a neural tube defect called spina bifida by up to 80%. In addition, it is thought to lower the risk of a having a baby with a cleft palate, heart defect and problems with the urinary tract. Folic acid may also assist in the development of your babies brain and encourages normal cell division, DNA production and bone formation as well as helping to decrease the risks of preterm labor, fetal growth retardation and low birth weight.

After some research however, there is actually a better option to taking synthetic folic acid supplements. Folic acid is actually a B vitamin….vitamin B9 to be exact but is artificially produced. Vitamin B9 can also be taken in another form known as folate which is actually what is naturally occurring in certain whole foods. Folate is converted into the active form of vitamin B9 in the digestive system known as 5-MTHF very efficiently. Folic acid supplements are not converted so easily however and some of us find it very difficult to convert. It can then hang around un-metabolised in our blood stream which may have negative effects on our health. The healthiest way to get enough vitamin B9 is not through folic acid supplements but through folate present in certain foods such as avocado, leafy greens and sprouts. If you think you will find it difficult to get the necessary dose through your diet you can try methyl folate supplements instead. I have no idea why this is not informed to women trying to conceive or who are pregnant.

Folic acid and miscarriage: Along with Vitamin B6 and B12, vitamin B9 (folate/folic acid) can help to reduce levels of homocysteine (an amino acid) in the bloodstream. This is very important as having a high level of this amino acid can cause improper blood clotting and can cause a spontaneous miscarriage. Taking folate/folic acid can also help to prevent placental abruption and pre-eclampsia so has so many benefits and they are cheap to buy.

Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 can help to control your blood sugar levels and can help to lengthen the Luteal Phase of your cycle if it is short (luteal phase defect- see section on luteal phase). You should aim for 100mg per day.

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is needed for DNA manufacture and can improve the quality of your uterus lining ready for the egg to implant. This in turn can help to decrease the risk of an early miscarriage. Taking Vitamin B12 can also help us to ovulate more regularly if your cycles are irregular and can even help women who are not ovulating to ovulate.

Please note: It is best to take Vitamin B6 and B12 in the form of a vitamin B complex to get a good balance of B vitamins. Be aware however that vitamin B complex supplements often contain other vitamins such as vitamin C and Folic acid. You need to be careful not to take too much of a certain vitamin. All the contents are on the back of the bottle.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D enables us to produce the hormones needed for a normal menstrual cycle and a lack of vitamin D can affect ovulation and the balance of your hormones. Several studies found a high percentage of women who were struggling to conceive were deficient in vitamin D.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant which can help conserve the DNA within your eggs.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps to balance our hormone levels and can can help to lengthen the luteal phase if you have a short luteal phase or a luteal phase defect. It can also help to decrease the risks of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities.

Iron: Women with low iron levels may experience anovulation (when they do not ovulate) and potentially poor egg quality. Taking iron supplements can really boost your fertility and help you ovulate more regularly helping you get pregnant faster.

Selenium: Selenium is an antioxidant which aids in the protection of eggs and sperm against chromosomal damage which is known to be a cause of many miscarriages and birth defects.

Zinc: Zinc works with several hundred different enzymes in your body to keep everything working normally. If you have insufficient levels of Zinc then your levels of estrogen and progesterone can be thrown off balance which can negatively affect your fertility. In addition, studies have shown that low levels of zinc can lead to an increased risk of early miscarriage.

Evening primrose: Evening primrose oil capsules can increase your cervical mucus if taken between your period and ovulation. It contains a fatty acid that can be converted into prostoglandins which can increase cervical mucus. The advice I read however is to stop taking evening primrose oil after ovulation as it can cause mild uterine contractions which is not what you want when you want a fertilised egg to attach to the uterine lining. If you chart your temperatures then you can pin point the day you have ovulated and stop taking them accordingly. Sperm are nourished and can last longer in healthy cervical mucus but if your cervical fluid is scant then the sperm may not survive to make the journey up to your fallopian tubes so taking a supplement to increase the amount and quality of your cervical mucus can greatly increase your chances of conception. The advise I have read, is to take 500mg three times a day (1500mg per day) for the first cycle and if your cervical mucus is not increased then you can up it to 1000mg three times a day during your next cycle.

Coenzyme Q10 : Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can improve both male and female fertility. It is present in every cell in our body and helps to provide energy inside our cells for e.g. cell division. Fertilization and embryo development requires high amounts of energy within cells and as we age our natural levels of CoQ10 decreases. This can increase the risk of mistakes during cell division which can lead to a greater risk of a non-viable embryo. Supplementing your levels is a great way to boost your fertility as it also acts as an antioxidant which may help to slow down the natural reduction in our fertility as we age by protecting our reproductive system. CoQ10 starts off as ubiquinone and then is converted within the cell to the more powerful and potent Ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is the most biologically active form as it doesn’t need to be converted by the body and this is what you should take. The daily dose is 100 mg per day.

                                                  

Fertility vitamins for men.

Folic acid and male fertility: We usually think of folic acid/folate as something the women should take but folic acid can boost male fertility by improving the sperm count and the genetic quality of your mans sperm. Encourage your man to take your folate/folic acid vitamin daily when trying to conceive. He can stop after you are pregnant.

Vitamin E and male fertility: Vitamin E can increase sperm quality and motility and can help to conserve the DNA within the sperm cell.

Vitamin C and male fertility: Vitamin C can boost sperm quality and helps to prevent damage to the sperms DNA. This in turn can help to reduce the chances of a chromosomal abnormality and miscarriage due to a none viable embryo. It can also help to increase sperm motility by preventing them from clumping together.

Vitamin B12 and male fertility: Vitamin B12 has been shown to improve sperm quality and production.

Selenium and male fertility: Selenium is an antioxidant which aids in the protection of sperm against chromosomal damage which can lead to a miscarriage or birth defects. It is essential in the production of sperm and men with a low sperm count are likely to be deficient in selenium.

Coenzyme Q10 and male fertility: Studies have shown that men who take CoQ10 supplement have an increase in sperm motility and sperm count.

Fertility vitamins – which ones to choose?

Prednacare are probably the best known pre-conception multi vitamin for women and are reasonably priced. You can get 1 month supply for around £6 which isnt bad considering the vast array of vitamins they contain. You can also get a conception multi-vitamens for men too and prednacare do a great pre-conception vitamin for him and her in one pack. Below are some options for you and your partner.

Options for women

Pregnacare Vitabiotics Conception- 30 tablets – one months supply for £7.39 (was £10.16).

Seven Seas Trying for a Baby 28 tablets –  4 weeks supply for £4.48.

Zita West Vitafem90 Caps – 3 months supply for £14.60 (was £22.50).

Babystart FertilCare Fertility Vitamins – 30 tablets – one month supply for £5.99.

FertileCM can increase the quality and quantity of your fertile cervical mucus. This supplement claims to do the following:

  • Helps to build a healthy uterine lining for implantation.
  • Helps to thin your cervical mucus and provide a positive environment for sperm within the vagina.
  • Contains L-Arginine which increases cervical mucus production

It contains vitamin c, calcium, L-Arginine, N-Acetyl L-Cysteine, lactobaccillius acidopilus and grape seed extract. You should aim to take 3 capsules daily (1 at each mealtime) and to stop once pregnant.

FertileCM (90 Capsules) – One Month Supply for £26.25 (was £27.60).

Efamol Woman Pure Evening Primrose Oil 500mg (90 Capsules)£10.65 (was £10.99).

Evening Primrose Oil – Premium Quality 1000mg (200 soft gels)  – 200 days for £15.50p.

Swanson Ultra 100% Pure & Natural Ubiquinol (100mg, 60 Soft gels) – £21.28 (WAS £22.21).

 

                                                               

                                                                                                         

Options for men:

Wellman Vitabiotics Conception (30 Tablets) – One month supply for £7.45 (was £10.15).

Babystart FertilMan Fertility Vitamins for Men (30 Capsules)  one month supply for £9.99.

Zita West Vitamen (30 Capules) – one month supply for £15.09 (was £17.49). 

Your partner could choose to take these vitamins you like individually but that would be less cost effective in the long run.

Alternatively you can by yours and your partners in one pack.

Pregnacare Vitabiotics His and Her Conception, 60 Tablets – one month supply for £12.95 (RRP £18.35).

                                                                                               

Fertility Herbs.

Fertility Herbs are a great way to boost your fertility and can be used by the body to prepare for pregnancy. Fertility herbs can help to improve certain fertility problems by balancing hormones in particular. They work differently to medication but when used alongside a balanced diet and gentle exercise they are still very effective in improving your fertility. Herbs are a natural alternative to medications as they are plant parts which contain nutrients that can bring about similar effects. They do take a bit of time to take affect but if you are patient then going down the natural route is a great option. They help by supporting your body with the end goal being to get your body working properly on its own eventually. Herbs do not have the same side effects as medications but should not be taken at the same time as any fertility medication.

Fertility herbs for women:

There are many herbs that increase fertility but having done lots of research there are several that come up over and over again. I have listed below the ones I tried and I believe they really helped me to get pregnant.

Dong quai and fertility:

Dong quai can increase your fertility in a number of ways. It can improve blood circulation to your uterus and helps to tone and strengthen the uterus at the same time. It is rich in iron and through hormonal control it can regulate your cycles. Dong quai can also be used to help with conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis. Dong Quai increases blood supply to the pelvis and is known to help bring back an absent menstrual cycles and it can also help to ease the pain cramps that come with your period. It is best ingested in liquid form and the daily dose is 30 drops twice a day in a some water.

Warnings – Most advice says to stop using Dong Quai once you become pregnant and to not use it during your period so I used it between the end of my period and just after ovulation. My cycles were quite long so I was taking it for a few weeks but if you have normal length cycles it may mean you only need to take it for 10 days or so each cycle. If you are on blood pressure medication then seek advice from your GP before taking it and also stop using it if you are having any operations.

Maca root and fertility:

Maca root supports hormonal balance as it has positive effects on the endocrine system. This system is what controls hormone production and function within our bodies. Studies have shown that Maca root can improve fertility in both men and women as it acts like a tonic for the hormone system. It contains many different minerals and nutrients and can support the function of the pituitary gland (which controls hormone output of the sex organs), adrenal gland and thyroid glands. It can help to balance our estrogen and progesterone levels which is very important as having higher or lower levels of these hormones at the wrong time can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant. It may also help to reduce anxiety and stress, decrease blood pressure and help to balance our iron levels. Maca is available in a powder, capsule or drops but I found the capsules to be the best option and the advised dosage is 500-3000 mg in the morning so it does not affect your sleep at night. You may experience a bit of spotting or a change to your cycles at first but this is a positive sign that your hormonal system is becoming more balanced. You should stop taking Maca root once you get pregnant as there have been no scientific studies on its effects on pregnancy.

Raspberry leaf tea and fertility:

The benefits of drinking raspberry leaf tea for fertility are vast and it is like a tonic to prepare your body for pregnancy and labor. Raspberry leaves contain many vitamins such as Vitamin A, B complex, C, and E as well as iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Red Raspberry leaves can help to prevent hemorrhage so can help protect against miscarriage, bleeding during childbirth and healing post birth. It can also help women who are suffering from endometriosis. It acts as a tonic for the uterus helping to tone the uterine muscles. This can improve uterine health in general which can help to prevent miscarriage due to a weak uterus. Toning the muscles can also help to prepare for labor, to bring about strong progressive contractions. It can also help with nausea during early pregnancy.

Raspberry leave tea can be bought in t bags and can help prepare you for pregnancy when drunk daily for a few months prior to conceiving. You should drink 1-3 cups a day. It also comes in liquid drops or tablets but as the tea is quite pleasant it was the best option for me. Most advice says it is safe to drink during pregnancy but maybe avoid it in the first trimester. I stopped drinking it once I got pregnant and then started again when I was a few weeks off my due date.

Vitex and fertility.

Vitex is the most popular and well known herb used to help improve fertility as it helps to balance fertility hormones. It is also known as agnus castus and chasteberry. It gently supports and regulates the pituitary gland which controls many bodily functions including how much of each sex hormone the ovaries should produce. This in turn can help to regulate the menstrual cycle and stimulates us to ovulate more consistently. It does this by increasing the amounts of luteinizing hormone (LH) produced which may in turn also boost our progesterone levels after ovulation. This helps us to maintain a healthy uterus lining for longer (lengthens the luteal phase). Vitex may also support early pregnancy and can help to prevent miscarriage through its beneficial effects on our progesterone levels. Vitex should be taken long term and can take a varying amounts of time to take affect (anywhere from 10days to 6 months). It works by supporting our bodies bringing about long term balance so needs patience. It should be taken once daily in the morning on an empty stomach. The suggested dose is 1000mg a day and you will struggle to by this dose in health food shops in the UK. You will need to buy them online. Vitex should not be used alongside prescription fertility drugs that contain hormones.

Can you take vitex during pregnancy? Information online suggests that it is safe to use during pregnancy but should be stopped after the 3rd month to prevent early milk production. From the third month the placenta takes over the production of progesterone anyway so it is no longer needed. If you fall pregnant it is best to speak to your GP if you want to carry on taking it to be safe.

Cinnamon and fertility

Studies have shown that cinnamon can also help reduce insulin resistance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is important as insulin resistance can delay/prevent ovulation and can affect the maturation of the eggs. Women with PCOS are also more likely to have a miscarriage and can make implantation of an embryo difficult. Cinnamon may also help improve the ability of women with PCOS to lose weight and can help with heavy bleeding during your period and can reduce bleeding associated with endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

Daily dose for PCOS is 1500mg but as the capsules only seem to come in 500mg, 1000mg or 2000mg capsules so you could take 3 x 500mg daily. You should stop taking it once you fall pregnant and do not take it if you are on blood thinning treatment such as aspirin or warfarin or if you suffer from stomach ulcers.

 

Nature’s Answer Dong Quai, Alcohol Free Extract 1 Fl Oz £11.89.

Maca Root 2500mg  Highest Strength – 180 capsules (6 months supply) for £9.99.

Heath and Heather Raspberry Leaf Tea 50 Bags  – £6.15 for 50 tea bags.

Vitex, Agnus castus, Chasteberry –  1000mg Capsules (vegetarian) – 120 tablets for £15.99.

Best Naturals Cinnamon 500 mg250 Capsules (83 days) for £10.99.

 

               

Fertility herbs for men:

Your partner should use these herbs for at least 3 – 6 months –

Maca root: Maca root may increase a mans sex drive, give him more energy, increase the volume of semen, improve sperm count and sperm motility. Your partner should take 500-3000 mg once a day in the morning.

Tribulus: Tribulus can increase testosterone production in men. It can help with low sperm count, low sperm motility and poor sperm health related to hormonal imbalance. It can also increase a mans sex drive. The suggested dose is 500mg a day up to 1500mg a day if necessary.

Swanson Full Spectrum Tribulus Fruit (500mg) –  90 Capsules) for £8.60.

Maca Root 2500mg  Highest Strength  – 180 capsules (6 months supply) for £9.99.

If you have any experience with fertility vitamins or fertility herbs please comment below and share your experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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