Having children, particularly the first one, becomes an excellent practice in expecting the unexpected. Despite the anxiety and uncertainty, there can be joy, feelings of accomplishment, and confidence.
Couples often think that planning for and going through a second baby is much easier. In many ways, it is. While the big fears don’t go away, it’s easier to relax into the process. But what we don’t usually anticipate is the possibility of fertility issues on the second try.
Lifestyle Changes For Improved Fertility
Even if you do not notice any apparent problems, it’s better to be on the safer side. Consider these few tips when planning for a second pregnancy:
1. Nourish Your Body
Sometimes, in the throes of trying to conceive, my patients get caught up in the mechanics of the process. Like in most schools and books, we tend to focus on the pregnancy process, but not many consider the energy required to give birth to a healthy baby.
Like how a bear prepares itself before winter hibernation, you need treat yourself with good nutrition and store enough energy before going through this phase. Now, I’m not suggesting that you should gain a ton of weight before getting pregnant. But a certain level of nourishment is required for both the mother and father.
[pullquote]Act as if the baby is already there, growing bigger, and take nutritious food accordingly.[/pullquote]
- Surround yourself with positive vibes and reduce stress. As much as nature feeds on chance, it delights in well-tended and intentionally cared for surroundings.
- Tonic teas such as nettle, red raspberry leaf, and oat straw help build micro mineral stores and tone the reproductive tissues.
- Nutrient-dense foods like avocados, beets, nuts, and seeds have essential minerals and fatty acids necessary for tissue repair and brain development. These are also the first fuels our body will burn off under times of stress, so they have to be consistently replenished.
2. It Takes Two
Often, it’s just the women who approach me about fertility issues; up to that point the health of their partner is a secondary consideration. I always treat both partners, as reproductive success is never up to one. Even if sperm analysis has come back completely normal (in my experience, this rarely happens), there are things we can’t necessarily measure that can impact successful fertilization.[pullquote]Sometimes, lifestyle considerations, like chemical exposure, underwear and pant choices, history of smoking, etc., can impact fertility, even if the couple’s shared diet is nutritious.[/pullquote]
A sperm’s ability to swim in the correct direction is actually an issue that can be addressed nutritionally. Men should take nutrient-dense foods, particularly those high in zinc and selenium, like nuts and seeds. Vitamin C is a huge food source for the sperm on its way to the fertilization site, so fruits, vegetables, and supplementation are the key.
3. Reset The Clock
[pullquote]Previous birth control use, previous pregnancy, breastfeeding, and irregular eating patterns are a few of the many factors that can affect a woman’s cycle.[/pullquote] Sometimes, the first thing to be done is what I call a “reintroduction” period, where your body has to relearn what a normal cycle is. How you can do this depends on, of course, why the cycle is off, and also if you are breastfeeding.
Some of the best results I see in practice come from a combination of timed herbal supplementation, manual techniques like Mayan or abdominal massage, and stress management techniques.
Since you are essentially resetting your “creativity center,” pursuing creative endeavors for stress management can be very helpful. Getting in touch with a cycle can actually be a really anchoring and affirming exercise, with the final outcome being a sense of balance before another pregnancy happens.
When the goal is to expand the family, some of the best things you can do is nurture the family members that are already present. Even if other medical methods have to be taken up to help the process, incorporating some of these concepts into your daily regimen can be grounding and supportive.