It can be overwhelming to discover that getting pregnant is going to take a little more effort than you had anticipated. However, it is not as uncommon as you think! In fact, about 15% of couples when trying to conceive, face infertility roadblocks on their journey.
As intimidating as the term ‘infertility’ sounds, it encompasses a wide range of issues that may or may not require various lines of treatment from several skilled experts. Additionally, many factors come into play when a couple addresses infertility. Whether it be maternal age, genetics, or their external environment, navigating all these issues on your own can be pretty daunting.
Fertility treatments also take a toll on a family’s mental, physical, emotional, and financial health. This is where having a solid fertility support team can be of invaluable assistance. A fertility support team offers much-needed personal and professional help from fertility specialists, counselors, coaches and loved ones to guide and encourage you.
To get you started, here’s a helpful checklist on how to build your fertility support team. You may use these and some more, depending on your individual case.
According to the CDC, if you have been trying to get pregnant for over six months (women aged 35 and older) you should consider making an appointment with a fertility specialist. The fertility specialists you will primarily see are physicians specializing in reproductive endocrinology as well as Obstetrics and Gynecology. They undergo this specialized training to assist patients who are struggling with fertility issues.
Reproductive immunologists, reproductive surgeons, and andrologists are some of the many fertility specialists you may consult with depending on your specific case. Fertility specialists treat both male and female issues, and among other services, they will guide you through:
- · Identifying an organic cause of infertility
- Suggesting fertility testing to ascertain what treatment options are best suitable for you, including IUI and IVF
- Discussing the course of the fertility treatments
When it comes to improving fertility, exercise can truly go a long way. A six-month-long study conducted with overweight women having a prolonged history of anovulation (with and without polycystic ovary syndrome) revealed that, with maintained regular exercise and fitness, 89% of women witnessed fertile ovulatory cycles and 77% went on to become pregnant naturally. (A fertility diet plan especially for women with PCOS works wonders too, sooner than later!)
Working out under the watchful eye of a physiotherapist specializing in fertility can benefit your plan to conceive. These professionals help create the right program to improve your chance of success based on your present health and activity levels, the cause of infertility and the particular stage of fertility treatment you are in.
Acupuncture is a great alternative therapy option that is recommended for various medical conditions that affect fertility. These include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, endometriosis, and issues with an ovarian reserve and sperm quality. It may also help relieve some of the side effects associated with fertility drugs (such as bloating and nausea). To experience the full benefits of this therapy, work with a practitioner specializing in fertility acupuncture.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
Whether you’re a newbie in the conceiving game or a fertility treatment warrior who has experienced multiple IVF cycles, getting your diet assessed and optimized will give you and your future baby the best start. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is an indispensable component of your fertility support team. These specialists are qualified to navigate several medical conditions. For instance, an RDN will help create an optimal PCOS fertility diet plan if you are trying to conceive with PCOS. Even if you do not have PCOS, there are so many compounding variables that could hinder your fertility that a certified fertility registered dietitian can uncover, increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
You will be surprised to know that it can take up to three months for your new diet to start showing positive results in your fertile health, so it is advisable to get in touch with an RDN in the very early stages of your treatment.
A certified fertility registered dietitian nutritionist will work with you to identify the gaps in your diet and improve nutrient levels to help prepare your body for pregnancy as you undergo fertility treatments. They play a crucial role in fostering a supportive and healthy environment that leads to healthy conception and pregnancy. Seeing a fertility dietitian who can complete a thorough nutrition assessment, considering medical and health history, diet and lifestyle, ensures you’ve checked off an essential box in your fertility checklist.
Partnering with a trusted RDN can help you:
- Analyze your current dietary intake and overall well-being.
- Identify potential nutrient deficiencies that may be hampering your progress.
- Develop meal plans based on optimal calorie and energy needs.
- Establish healthy eating habits considering serving size and food group balance.
- Work alongside symptoms of your fertility medications and develop solutions to navigate them.
- Tailor your diets for PCOS fertility or other conditions you are struggling with that are hampering your fertility goals.
- Guide you on the best-customized diet, nutrition and supplements your body needs when you are undergoing an egg freezing process or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Going through infertility and its treatment is a long, distressing, and emotional journey as couples experience stressful thoughts, mixed emotions, waiting, and doubt. Couples, especially women, often report feeling emotionally overwhelmed from hormone treatments and other aspects of overcoming infertility. Seeing a counselor can help you navigate these challenging times with the right tools and techniques to cope with those feelings of anxiousness.
Counseling is also a smart choice for couples who wish to consider their options for building a family and analyzing how different decisions they make can impact their relationships. You can opt to visit a counselor, ideally before you begin treatments or anytime during the process. For instance, if you choose to use a sperm or egg donor, your counselor will involve you in constructive conversations at various stages of the journey to ensure you feel in tune and comfortable with the entire experience.
Invaluable during times of stress and worry, support groups make you feel heard and seen on your fertility journey. Whether you join an in-person group or become part of an online network, exchanging your wins and losses with other couples on the same path can have a therapeutic effect. A support group can also prove to be resourceful with personal recommendations of just about everything, from emotional support to lunch ideas to doctors and more.
How Can Holness Nutrition Help You?
Did you know that PCOS is one of the most widespread reasons for female infertility? Did you also know that a customized diet for PCOS can enhance your fertility? Yes, your long-term diet and lifestyle will impact your conceiving ability. Therefore, giving it time and attention is imperative, instead of trying short-term fixes to no end. You can build a solid Fertility Support Team by reaching out to Nicole Holness. Nicole, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist from Holness Nutrition is certified to work with couples struggling to conceive, undergoing IVF and other fertility treatments, women freezing their eggs, and other conditions. If you have any concerns, we have a solution! Book a free consult now to access a one-on-one call and discuss your fertility nutrition journey!
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infertility/symptoms-causes/syc-20354317 , Infertility
https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm#:~:text=Because%20fertility%20in%20women%20is,who%20specializes%20in%20managing%20infertility. Infertility FAQ, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8567797/ Weight Loss Results in Significant Improvement in Pregnancy and Ovulation Rates in Anovulatory Obese Women,
https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/acupuncture-and-infertility-treatment/, Acupuncture and Infertility Treatment
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6079277/#:~:text=Diets%20high%20in%20unsaturated%20fats,outcomes%20in%20women%20and%20men., The Influence of Diet on Fertility and the Implications for Public Health Nutrition in the United States
https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/infertility-counseling-and-support-when-and-where-to-find-it/, Infertility Counseling and Support: When and Where to Find it