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If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant you’ve probably been studying up on everything hormone and fertility-related, right? In fact, there’s a good chance that by the end of your pregnancy, you will feel like somewhat of an expert!

Today we’re going to be sharing a little bit about the connection between hormone health and fertility. (And, from one expert to another, we’re so excited to join you in this journey.)

 

Which Hormones Support Pregnancy?

We could spend all day talking about the different ways to support a healthy pregnancy – it needs a whole-person approach. However, some components take a larger role than others. Some of the major players in pregnancy support are hormones. Specifically:

  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
  • Relaxin
  • Oxytocin
  • Human placental lactogen (hPL)

When these hormones are present in the right amount at the right times, they are able to lay the groundwork for a healthy, viable pregnancy. This is one of the reasons we recommend saliva hormone testing at home on a regular basis – especially when you are trying to become pregnant.

 

Pre-fertility

A little-known field of health is preconception care, or preparing more than just the house, finances, and mindset to have a baby, but focusing exclusively on mama & papa’s bodies and overall health. We are exposed to countless toxins and stress on a daily basis, so it’s important if you are planning on having a baby to prepare your body before getting pregnant. For example, having general lab work completed to make sure your heart, blood vessel, and metabolic health are all properly aligned to develop a baby. But also, specialized toxin and hormone labs are essential to preconception care. You can decrease your toxin exposure by changing out some of the household items to less toxic versions (read: shampoos, hairsprays, cleaning products, etc). The goal with preconception care is to help your body create the healthiest and strongest egg and sperm possible and set up both mom & dad to have strong and healthy bodies prior to trying to conceive (TTC). Naturopathic medicine is ideally situated to help with this aspect of family planning.

 

Infertility 

When we talk about fertility, we’re talking about two concepts: 1) getting pregnant and 2) staying pregnant. Infertility is when challenges arise within either of those two categories. Healthy hormone levels play a significant role in creating and keeping a fertile environment for those sweet babies (and YOU, momma) to thrive in.

Hormone Facts Related to Getting Pregnant:

  • Not being able to get pregnant has to do with egg quality and the ability to ovulate. Many people don’t know they can actually improve egg quality, ovulation, and the ability to conceive naturally. 
  • There are two parts of our menstrual cycle. The first half is all about estrogen, which helps the egg released at ovulation. The second half is all about progesterone, which helps implantation of a fertilized egg. 
  • One of the most common reasons why women have difficulty conceiving is because of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Check out Dr. Crawford’s interviews about PCOS here. 

Hormone Facts Related to Staying Pregnant:

  • Not being able to stay pregnant is a very common issue. The older we get the higher the risk of losing a pregnancy. This may be partly because of hormonal imbalances that are not being properly addressed.
  • Stress directly depletes progesterone. Low progesterone is one of the major causes, other than genetics, that results in a woman miscarrying.
  • Women between 30-39 are at a 25% risk of miscarriage, 40-44 are at a 50% risk, and women 45 or older are at 75% risk of experiencing a miscarriage. This makes sense since stress-related hormone imbalance gets worse as we get older if it does not get addressed.

 

Your Women’s Health Partners

We realize that all of this can be incredibly overwhelming to consider, especially if you have already experienced difficulties with conception. Please know that you do not need to go through this alone. We have several resources readily available to you that can help get your body on the path to a balanced, healthy pregnancy today!