If you are looking to improve your egg quality it is best to start 90 days before trying to conceive. An egg prepares for ovulation 90 days before before it leaves the ovaries. Everything that you do for your health during this time will directly affect your future embryo.
Exercise : Starting a Routine
A great way to begin your fitness journey is to set out a weekly schedule. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- Schedule your week out beforehand. Pick the days that will work best for you and try to keep it the same throughout the month.
- Try and train three to five days a week. An ideal time for your workout would be 30 to 60 minutes.
- Don’t forget your rest days. It is very important for your body to have a day or two to heal and replenish itself.
- If you are just beginning, start out with something simple such as going for a walk, bike ride, run, swim, or dancing to a playlist of your favorite songs.
Stretching is very important when it comes to your fitness journey. It is best to stretch right after your workout, while your muscles are warm. Stretching will help you to avoid injuries and increase your flexibility and range of motion. After a workout your body’s lactic acid rises and makes you feel as if your muscles are burning. Taking the time to stretch after a workout helps to release that acid and allows your body to properly relax and repair.
Beginner Exercise Example:
- Leg Exercise
- Squats – Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out. Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. You can also bend the elbows or clasp the fingers. Sit back and down like you’re sitting in to an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend. Lower down so your thighs are parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels. Keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for two to four sets.
- Arm Exercise
- Bicep Curls- Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length. Keep your elbows close to your torso and rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward. This will be your starting position. Now, keeping the upper arms stationary, exhale and curl the weights while contracting your biceps. Continue to raise the weights until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level. Hold the contracted position for a brief pause as you squeeze your biceps.Then, inhale and slowly begin to lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Repeat eight to ten times for two to four sets.
- Overhead stretch (for shoulders, neck, and back) – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees and hips relaxed. Interlace your fingers and extend your arms above your head, palms up. Take 10 slow, deep breaths, elongating the stretch on each exhale. Relax, and repeat once more.
- Torso stretch (for lower back) – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent. With your hands at the small of your back, angle your pelvis forward while pointing your tailbone backward slightly; feel the stretch in your lower back. Pull your shoulders back. Hold for 10 deep breaths; repeat once more.
- Cat and cow stretch – Get down on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders, your back flat, and your toes pointed behind you. Tighten your abdominal muscles, arch your back, and drop your head down so you’re looking at your stomach. Hold for 10 seconds, breathing deeply. Now lower your back until it’s swayed, simultaneously raising your head. Hold for 10 seconds, and then return to the starting position. Repeat four times.
Meal Planning – 7 Day Sample Meal Plan
When it comes to improving your fertility healthy your diet has a lot to do with it. Here is a 7 day sample PCOS meal plan to get your first week started off right.
- Breakfast: Omelet with 2 eggs, spinach, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, and salsa, ½ banana
- Lunch: Bacon, avocado, lettuce, and tomato sandwich on gluten free bread, an orange
- Dinner: Chicken stir-fry with mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli, 1 cup of brown rice
- Snacks: Carrot sticks and hummus
- Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal with 1 Tbsp. of butter, walnuts and cinnamon, ½ cup blueberries, 1 egg
- Lunch: Shrimp cocktail, a leafy green salad with veggies, 1 hard-boiled egg, and vinaigrette dressing
- Dinner: Turkey and kale stew with veggies and brown rice, 1 piece of gluten free bread
- Snacks: ½ banana with almond butter
- Breakfast: Plain Greek yogurt with 1 Tbsp. of raw honey, handful of gluten free cereal, slivered almonds, and a splash of lemon juice
- Lunch: Homemade chicken salad with Dijon on a piece of gluten free toast, ½ cup of strawberries
- Dinner: Baked salmon, baked sweet potato with butter, and roasted asparagus and zucchini
- Snacks: ½ apple with peanut butter
- Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with goat cheese and leftover salmon and asparagus, ½ grapefruit
- Lunch: Turkey burger, ½ gluten free bun, tomato and cucumber salad, ½ cup of cantaloupe
- Dinner: Roasted shrimp, broccoli, and cauliflower, 1 piece of gluten free bread
- Snacks: Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
- Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs, 1 piece of gluten free toast topped with ½ an avocado, ¼ cup of green olives, ¼ cup of cashews
- Lunch: Brown rice salmon and avocado sushi roll, miso soup, ½ banana
- Dinner: Baked chicken fajitas loaded with veggies and black beans on a gluten free tortilla
- Snacks: ¼ cup almonds and an ½ apple
- Breakfast: Muesli with plain Greek yogurt and 1 Tbsp. of raw honey, ½ cup of pineapple
- Lunch: 2 slices of gluten free pizza topped with grilled chicken and veggies, small leafy green salad with vinaigrette dressing
- Dinner: Shrimp fried rice with veggies and brown rice
- Snacks: Blueberry smoothie
- Breakfast: 2 egg frittata with sautéed spinach and mushrooms, goat cheese, 1 piece of gluten free toast with butter, ½ apple
- Lunch: Salmon Caesar salad with avocado, tomato, and mushrooms
- Dinner: Grilled steak with grilled mushrooms, peppers, and onions, baked sweet potato with butter
- Snacks: Yogurt parfait made with plain Greek yogurt, berries, honey and slivered almonds
Self Care – Developing a New Habit
Starting a new habit can be hard, but there are a few steps that you can follow to help make it easier.
- Commit to 30 days to start with. It only takes three to four weeks to create a habit. Once you finish the initial conditioning stage, it will become much easier to sustain.
- Do it daily. It is crucial to be consistent if you want this new habit to stick.
- Start things out slowly and simply. Try not to completely change your life from the start, change a few things at a time and don’t take on too much.
- Stay consistent. The more consistent your habit is the easier it will be to stick. Try going at the same time to the same place for your first few weeks and it can make the routine eventually feel like a second nature.
Helpful Tips – Diet and Egg Health
It is important to eat a nutrient-dense diet when trying to improve your egg health. Try to stick to more natural whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains. It is best to avoid foods that are genetically modified (GMO), processed foods, full of trans fat, or full of sugar.
Exercise – Beginning Cardio
When it comes to workouts it is important to get your cardio in. For just starting out some great options are to go for a 30 minute walk, 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, or you could go take a Zumba class at a gym near you.
- Back and Chest –
- Push ups- Get down on the ground. Lay with your toes on the ground holding yourself up with your hands. *For an easier option put both knees down on the mat.* Lower your torso to the ground until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle. Keep your elbows close to your body for more resistance. Keep your head facing forward. Try to have the tip of your nose pointed directly ahead. Keep your body in a flat plank—do not drop your hips, and do not have your butt hanging in the air. It is important to keep your body as straight as possible. Remember to breathe as you lower yourself. When doing push-ups, your chest should come within inches of the ground each time you go down for a rep. Remember to keep your body at a flat level.
- Legs –
- Leg Lunges – Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don’t keep looking down). Always engage your core.Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position. Alternate lunges
- Abs –
- Crunches : Lie down on your back. Bend your legs and stabilize your lower body. Cross your hands to opposite shoulders, or place them behind your ears without pulling on your neck. Lift your head and shoulder blades from the ground. Exhale as you rise. Lower, returning to your starting point. Inhale as you lower.
Diet Focus – Vitamin C & E
When it comes to your diet and fertility there are two things to focus on. The first is that you want to have a diet that is healthy and well balanced. The second is that you want to choose foods that are high in fertility-boosting vitamins and minerals.
Try and include vitamin C and vitamin E within your diet. Think bright reds, yellows, and oranges when looking for what to eat. Almost all fruits and vegetables with these colors contain vitamin C.
Vitamin E helps to reduce free radicals within your body. Try to eat foods such as leafy greens, seeds, and avocados.
Self Care – Sore Muscles
With every new exercise regime comes the inevitable sore muscles. Here are a few things that you can do during, right after, and the day after your workout to help combat the sore.
- During : The best way to prevent soreness and injury is prevention. Remember to stretch before and after your workout. If you are weight training make sure that you do some sort of warm up, such as running in place for a few moments. Hydration is very important and can help to prevent cramping and to decrease inflammation.
- Immediately after: Taking an ice bath right after a tough workout can help to significantly reduce muscle soreness. Or if you enjoy heat you can use a heating pad on the area a few hours after an intense workout.
- The next day : Moving your muscles the day after an intense workout can help to relieve some stiffness. Take a walk or stretch your muscles in a way that do not add to your pain. You can even try giving yourself a nice massage to help break up the lactic acid that builds up after a workout and relax.
Helpful Tips – New Routines
Try and keep in mind that it is best to start out small. Do not push your body farther than feels comfortable. Developing a new routine takes time.
If an exercise hurts or is uncomfortable, do not push through it. Take time to relax and give your body the rest that it needs. Your body will let you know what it can and can’t handle. If something does not feel right, listen to your body. You can always try again after you have had some time to rest.
Exercise – LIT (Low Impact Training)
LIT, low impact training, is a great way to get a workout that is joint friendly. It allows you to get your heart rate up and burn fat without the jarring impact. LIT focuses on slow, controlled movements. You can then include weights and resistance as you go to help build strength and muscle. LIT can give you the same burn as a high intensity training session, by working the muscle for longer and slowing down the movement.
- Abs –
- Extenders: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Stagger your feet so your back toe is in line with the heel of your front foot. Extend your arms up in the air. Then, bring your arms by your sides as you drive your back knee to the opposite elbow. Repeat for one minute before switching sides.
- Back and Hamstrings-
- Inchworm : Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and bend over so your palms touch to the floor. Walk your hands forward until you are in a plank position. Then, walk your hands back to your toes and return to the starting position. Repeat for one minute.
- Full Body –
- Plank – Plant hands directly under shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width) like you’re about to do a push-up. Ground toes into the floor and squeeze glutes to stabilize your body. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Your head should be in line with your back. Hold this position for at least 60 seconds. Rest and repeat.
Diet Focus/Meal Planning – Fertility Stimulating Foods
Work to include fertility stimulating foods within your diet such as produce, plant based fats, and protein. Research shows that consuming produce raw is the best way to ensure that you get nutrients such as glutathione and phytochemicals that have been known to help improve egg quality. Try to include raw fruits such as watermelon and goji berries and vegetables such as kale and asparagus.
For plant based fats include foods such as olive oil and avocado. They help to reduce inflammation, which in turn can help to improve ovulation. Proteins help to maintain energy and build muscle strength. Meat is a great source of protein, however you should limit how much fatty beef that you intake. Try to include poultry, pork, and fish within your diet.
Self Care – Detox Bath
By this point, you are three weeks into your new routine to help improve egg health. Why not take the time to enjoy a nice detox bath on your rest day this week. A detox bath is great to help with your fertility and to relieve stress. The warmth of the water can help you to relax and to be more receptive to getting pregnant.
Helpful Tips – Try Not to Over Do it
When trying to conceive, it is important to not push your body past its limits. Unless you regularly train for athletic competitions, there is a chance that you could be doing too much of a good thing. Studies show that five or more high-intensity workouts per week could increase the amount of time that it takes to conceive. If you reach a point where your body mass index, BMI, this can alter your menstrual cycle and even halt ovulation all together.
Exercises – How to Stay Motivated
If you are new to fitness it can be hard to stay motivated. It may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not as big of a leap as you might think. Try and think of your fitness journey as a blessing and not a sacrifice.
Set a goal. There is nothing more motivating than than a realistic goal with clear milestones. Watching yourself progress towards your goal will help keep you pushing on ahead!
Try these exercises for eight to ten reps. Go for a total of two to four sets.
- Walking Leg Lunges – Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don’t keep looking down). Always engage your core. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position. Alternate legs as you walk forward.
- Overhead Tricep Extension – With feet shoulder-width apart and core tight, hold a dumbbell with both hands. Lift the dumbbell until your arms are fully extended with palms facing the roof and elbows pointing forward. This is the start position. Bending at the elbows and squeezing your triceps, slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head. Slowly return to start position and repeat
- Bent Over Dumbbell Row: With a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing your torso), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist; as you bend make sure to keep your back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. (Make sure that you keep the head up. The weights should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is your starting position.) While keeping the torso stationary, lift the dumbbells to your side (as you breathe out), keeping your elbows close to the body (do not exert any force with the forearm other than holding the weights). On the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a second. Slowly lower the weight again to the starting position as you inhale.
Diet Focus/Meal Planning – Refined Carbohydrates
Limit the amount of highly refined carbohydrate products that you intake. This will help to leave room for the nutritious foods that truly help boost your fertility. Instead, try to eat carbohydrates such as beans, lentils, brown rice, and other complex carbs. These will burn more slowly within your body and provide energy to all of your bodily systems.
Self Care – Emotional Health
Trying to conceive can be a hard path at times, it is important to make sure and take care of your emotional health throughout the process. Here are a few ways that you can make sure to do that :
- Limit Negative Emotions: Let yourself feel your emotions as they come, but set a time limit on them. Try not to wallow in self- pity or sadness. Accept the negative emotions as they come, but try to let them go and move on after.
- Stay Off the Internet : The internet is full of information that can keep you up at night while trying to conceive. Try to avoid searching for reasons as to why it is taking so long. This could lead to self diagnosing issues that aren’t even there and worrying you more than necessary.
- Have Fun : Try and enjoy the time that you are spending together while trying to conceive. However, do your best to not get lost in it. Go on romantic dates, long walks, or spend the night talking to each other.
- Take Care of Yourself : Try and do things that you know will keep your soul happy. Take the time to travel, be active, read a good book, or even go for a spa day. Spend time focusing on what makes you happy and it will help to keep your spirits up during this time!
Helpful Tips – Low Carb
Research shows that women who limit their carbohydrate intake could have an easier time getting pregnant. Eating refined carbohydrates, such as those found within white flour products, sugar-rich snacks, and breakfast cereals, could prematurely age the body. This in turn could affect egg health and fertility. By striving to eat a low-carb diet, you could potentially help improve egg health.
Exercise – Intermediate Cardio
Now that you are over a month into your new routine, why not try stepping it up a notch. For your cardio try some of these ideas:
- Swimming : Swimming is a total body workout that begins the second you start to tread water. You have to work to fight gravity so your muscles will be working extra hard to keep you afloat. Try and incorporate different strokes within your swim.
- Running : Running at a steady, moderate pace is a great way to burn fat and calories, But it can take a toll on your body and joints. Take it easy and do not push it past where your body feels comfortable.
- Sit ups : Lie down on your back. Bend your legs and place feet firmly on the ground to stabilize your lower body. Cross your hands to opposite shoulders or place them behind your ears, without pulling on your neck. Curl your upper body all the way up toward your knees. Exhale as you lift. Slowly lower yourself down, returning to your starting point. Inhale as you lower. Try to do eight to ten reps. Repeat for two to four sets.
- Legs –
- Weighted Step Up: Hold dumbbells in your hands or a barbell across your shoulders. Step up with the right foot, pressing through the heel to straighten your right leg. Bring the left foot to meet your right foot on top of the step.Bend your right knee and step down with the left foot. Bring the right foot down to meet the left foot on the ground. Repeat this eight to ten times, then lead with the left foot and repeat the same number of repetitions. A beginner may opt to do this for a set amount of time (one minute, for example), instead of a set number of reps.
Diet Focus/Meal Planning – Keto Diet
Try eating a keto diet to help with fertility. A keto diet includes eating few carbohydrates, a moderate amount of protein, and a high amount of fat. When the body uses ketones as fuel instead of glycogen it no longer needs large amounts of insulin. This could in result help to improve your reproductive hormone levels.
A typical keto diet may include the following:
- Eggs cooked in butter with bacon and cheese for breakfast
- Salad with sliced steak and full-fat dressing for lunch
- Vegetables sautéed in butter with grilled chicken breast topped with cheese and diced avocado for dinner
Self Care – Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy, also referred to as hypnosis, is a therapeutic protocol that is performed by a mental health professional. They induce a trance-like state that lets you use relaxation and concentration as a way to overcome medical, emotional, or psychological disorders or issues.
Some mental health professionals believe that it could be stress or anxiety that is associated with struggling to conceive. Hypnosis could potentially help to overcome any psychological blocks that could be leading to fertility problems.
Helpful Tip – Maca Root
Maca root is a superfood that is known to balance out many hormones to help improve your egg health. Taking Maca will help to cleanse your system of extra hormones, such as cortisol. Your hormones are responsible for healthy egg production and fertility when taken in the right amounts over time.
Exercise – Strength Training
Strength training is important if you want to help replace the fat in your body with lean muscle. It can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass to avoid muscle loss as you age.
Strength training also helps you to:
- Develop stronger bones. You will increase your bone density and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
- Enhance your quality of life. Building muscle can help contribute to better balance and can help to reduce your risk of falling. This can also help improve your ability with everyday activities.
- Sharpen your thinking skills. Research shows that regular strength training and aerobic exercise can help to improve thinking and learning skills as you age.
- Manage your weight. Strength training can help you to manage or lose weight. It helps your metabolism to burn more calories.
Try upping your reps and sets now. Instead of doing eight to ten reps per set, shoot for ten to twelve.
- Toe Touchers: Core muscles get a killer workout with the toe-touch crunch. Here’s how to do it. Lie on your back and reach your arms behind you, pointing your legs toward the ceiling. Swing your arms toward the ceiling; as you do, lift your head and shoulders off the ground and touch your toes, while lifting your pelvis slightly off the ground so your toes move toward your fingers. If your neck tires, place one hand behind your head. Try to do ten to twelve reps. Repeat for three to four sets.
- Crab Walk : Holding a medicine ball in front of your chest, plant both feet together on the floor. Inhale. Exhale. Keeping your right foot on the floor, release your left leg and take one large step sideways. Your feet should be further than shoulder width apart. Inhale. Looking straight ahead, bend at both hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your back remains between 45 and 90 degrees of your hips. Exhale. Push through your heels and extend your legs to return to a neutral standing position and bring your feet together. Repeat, ensuring that you complete an equal number of reps on both sides. Try to do ten to twelve reps per side.
- Arms –
- Skull Crushers: Lie flat on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand (or a weighted barbell with both hands). Make sure you head is near the edge of the bench. Carefully extend your arms so the weight is above your head. Bending at the elbows slowly lower the dumbbells towards your shoulders and pause. The return to start position and repeat.
- Barbell Squat: Stand with the bar on your upper-back, and your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down by pushing your knees to the side while moving hips back Break parallel by Squatting down until your hips are lower than your knees. Squat back up while keeping your knees out and chest up Stand with your hips and knees locked at the top. **If you do not have a barbell, you can use a weight in each hand. Hold them above your head while doing exercise just like a barbell.**
Diet Focus – Combat Unhealthy Cravings
You may notice that unhealthy cravings can be hard to combat, especially when you are burning more calories throughout the day. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track and say no those cravings:
- Try and avoid getting overly hungry. If you eat when you are hungry, this can help you to avoid the “need” to eat now. Which can help you to combat those urges for sweets just because you need something quick to eat.
- Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated will help you to avoid eating when you do not actually need the sustenance. It will help keep your body satisfied for longer.
- Plan your meals. By having your meals planned out, you can prepare what you are eating in advance and give yourself no option to stray from the menu.
Self Care – Sleep
Make sure that you are getting a good night’s rest. We spend roughly one third of our lives spent in our beds. If we cannot get a good night’s rest this can drastically harm your health and fertility.
A night of restful and restorative sleep can help your body to produce hormones and chemicals that are responsible for the body’s ability to repair and get stronger. One of these chemicals is the luteinizing chemical. This helps to regulate your menstrual cycle.
Helpful Tips – Sleep and Egg Quality
Try and avoid being on your phone or other electronics before sleeping. Studies show that the blue light from these gadgets can negatively impact your ability to get pregnant. This light suppresses melatonin which is a key hormone that helps you sleep and protects your eggs when they are nearing ovulation. Without the right amount of melatonin your egg quality can suffer.
Exercise – Stretches
- Seated Forward Fold – Begin by sitting up straight with your legs out in front of you. Reach out your arms to the sides, then up (as you inhale), and then fold forward, grabbing your feet as you are able. Try holding this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Piriformis Stretch – Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you. Cross your right leg over your left, and place your right foot flat on the floor. Place your right hand on the floor behind your body. Place your left hand on your right quad or your left elbow on your right knee (as shown) and press your right leg to the left as you twist your torso to the right. If the spinal rotation bothers your back, take it out and simply use your left hand to pull your right quad in and to the left.
- Chest –
- Chest Press: Lie on a flat bench, holding the dumbbells in your hands. Stretch your arms over your shoulder, shoulder-width apart. From this starting position, inhale and descend slowly until your elbows are parallel to the floor at a 90 degree angle. Then push the weights back up while exhaling to return to the starting position.
- Back –
- Single Arm Rear Delt Raise – Grab a dumbbell in one hand and bend forward at your hips, resting your other hand on a stable surface. Let the dumbbell hang straight down from your shoulders, your palm facing forward. Without moving your torso, raise your arm straight back until it’s in line with your body. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps.
Diet Focus/Meal Planning – Healthy Treat
Try this recipe as a great way to indulge, while staying fertility friendly:
Low Carb Keto Sugar Cookie
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/3 cup low carb sweetener
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup ghee (butter may work too)
- 1 large egg or gelatin egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup powdered low carb sweetener
- water as needed
- Beat all ingredients together or pulse together in a food processor until dough forms. If dough is a little sticky, it’s best to sprinkle in some coconut flour on the outer surfaces when rolling.
- Roll dough out between two pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness (between 1/8 and 1/4 inch). Thinner cookies bake quicker and tend to be more crisp. Sprinkle a little extra coconut flour (or almond flour/sunflower seed flour) on to the dough as needed. Dough can also be rolled into a log and frozen for 20 to 30 minutes and then sliced into circles for easy “slice and bake” cookies.
- Cut into shapes and place on parchment lined baking pan.
- Bake in oven at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
- Remove from oven, let cool on rack for about 5 to 10 minutes then transfer cookies to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
- Pour the powdered sweetener in a small bowl. Add enough water to make a thin glaze. Divide and add coloring as desired (go for natural food coloring). Brush glaze onto cookies in thin layer and allow to dry.
Self Care – Managing Stress
Stress can lead to difficulty when trying to conceive. If you find yourself stressed often it is possible that it could prevent ovulation. While stress is a natural part of life, it is when it becomes constant and severe that it could affect your body.
Here are a few things that you can do to help when you are feeling stressed:
- Write in a journal. Research shows that writing out your daily thoughts and concerns can help to relieve stress. This way you can get any negative thoughts off of your chest and move on from them.
- Yoga and meditation. Taking time to do a relaxing workout or to meditate on your thoughts can help your entire body to unwind. If you don’t find yoga relaxing, you could instead try meditation or guided visualization.
Helpful Tips – Stress and Fertility
Physical or emotional stress can interfere with your menstrual cycle. Usually the reason why is that stress is a trigger for a pre-existing medical condition or a predisposition. While there are women under stress that do conceive, your odds are higher if you work to avoid stress.
If you are finding it hard to relieve your stress with the above suggestions, try and take 20 minutes out of your life to laugh a day. Laughter can help to decrease stress symptoms by 50 percent.
Exercise – Yoga
A great way to help advance your weekly stretches is to grow your yoga routine. Yoga helps to reduce stress, lower your heart rate, increase flexibility, and also can increase your chances of conception. It can also help to stimulate hormone secreting glands and to increase blood flow to the pelvis.
- Cobra Pose – Begin by laying flat on your stomach with your forehead on the floor. Next, place your hands beneath your shoulders and gently push your body off the floor. Lean your head back and stretch your abdomen. Hold for a few breaths, then release.
- Supported Bridge Pose – Begin by laying flat on your back with your knees folded. Reach out your arms across the floor and grasp your ankles, then raise your pelvis while keeping your shoulders and neck on the floor. Breathe normally and slowly. Hold the pose for 30 seconds or more.
- Wide-Legged Seated Pose – Sit down such that your legs are spread out wide, toes and knees both pointed up towards the ceiling. Keep your back straight and keep your arms at your sides, fingertips on the floor behind the thighs. This will let your spine stretch away from the hips. Keep your head rested on something stable, such as a coffee table, and maintain the stretch for two minutes before moving on.
- Chest Fly- Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other. Extend the arms above your chest, shoulder-width apart but keep your elbows flexible at all times (do not lock your elbows). Then lower your arms on both sides in a wide arc until you feel a stretch in your chest and then bring the dumbbells back up. Keep in mind to do the movement to the level of the shoulder joint, and not at the arms and elbows.
- Goblet Squat : Holding a dumbbell with both hands directly in front of your chest, plant both feet on the floor further than shoulder-width apart. Point both feet slightly outward. This is your starting position. Inhale. Looking straight ahead, bend at both hips and knees, ensuring that your knees point toward your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor, ensuring that your back remains between a 45 to 90 degree angle to your hips. Exhale. Push through your heels and extend your knees to return to the starting position.
Diet Focus/Meal Planning – Dinner Recipes
Here are a few new fertility friendly dinner recipes that you could try this week:
Garlic and Herb Cauliflower Casserole
- 1 Package Simply Organic Garlic and Herb Vegetable Seasoning, 71 oz.
- 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
- 2 tsp. butter
- 1 sm. yellow onion, diced
- 2 tsp. whole wheat flour
- 1 3/4 C. of milk
- 1 C. grated cheddar cheese, sharp or mild
- 1 container of Greek Yogurt, at least 5 oz.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and then steam your cauliflower for at least four minutes. Sauté the onions in the butter in a large skillet on medium heat for five minutes before adding the flour. Stir the mixture until the onions are well coated. Next, add the milk and stir until the mixture thickens. Add the seasoning, cheese, yogurt, and cauliflower to the onions and stir until everything is combined. Transfer to a casserole dish and bake uncovered for twenty minutes.
Chicken and Quinoa Burritos
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
- 1 C. cooked, shredded chicken
- 1 C. rinsed and warmed black beans
- 1 C. cooked quinoa
- 1 C. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 1 C. cilantro sprigs
- 1 sliced avocado
- 1 C. corn salsa
After cooking, grating, cutting, and chopping your ingredients, begin piling them onto your tortillas. Roll your burritos and serve with the corn salsa.
Steak and Skillet Tomatoes
- 3 tsp. olive oil
- 2 strip steaks (1-inch thick)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 pints organic grape tomatoes
- 1/4 C. of fresh oregano leaves
Over medium heat, use two teaspoons of olive oil to coat a large skillet. Season both pieces of steak with salt and pepper on each side. From there, cook your steaks to your desired degree of doneness. Before slicing, let the meat rest for five minutes.
Before cooking the grape tomatoes, wipe out the skillet. Use the remaining olive oil to coat the pan, increasing the temperature to medium-high heat. When the tomatoes begin to soften, add the oregano and then serve with the steak.
Self Care- Find Time for Yourself
Life can get busy and finding the time to focus on yourself can get hard. But it is important to take the time out of your schedule and do something just for you. A great way to reduce stress is to spend some time doing something that you can forget about your troubles during. This might be reading a good book, going for a walk outside, making crafts, or even having a girls night. Look into what makes you happy and make it a point to fit it into your schedule.
Helpful Tips – Meal Prep
A great way to help make dinner time easier is to practice the art of meal prep. Meal prep is where you have everything prepared ahead of time or cook and prepare your meals for multiple days at a time. This will help to open up time in your schedule and make it easier to eat healthier.
A few ways to make meal prep easier are:
- Invest in storage containers. Having the right amount of storage containers can help to ensure meal prep goes easier. Try getting four to six of the same container this way you can evenly dish out each meal.
- Start small. If you are new to meal prep you may want to start out small. Try thinking of an easier dish to start out with and then build up to more complicated things.
- Consider all food groups. Don’t forget to plan out your protein, vegetables, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates. By thinking of each food group it will help you to build a well balanced and healthy meal.
Exercise – LIT # 2
Workout – LIT Exercises
- Mountain Climbers with a Twist: Start in a plank position. Explosively drive your right knee to your left elbow, then return to the start position and switch sides. Next, drive your left knee to your right elbow. Repeat for one minute preparing your other leg to move as your leg comes back to starting position.
- Curtsey Lunge: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your left foot back directly behind your right foot, squaring hips and shoulders to face front. Engage your inner thighs to maintain balance and lower into a lunge, both legs at 90-degree angles. Keep your body upright, not hinging forward at the waist. Pulse your left leg up and down in a lunge for one minute. Using your glutes, come up to standing on your right leg and lift your left leg straight out to the side. Tap your left toes to the ground and raise your left leg before returning to the starting position. Repeat for one minute before switching sides.
- Arms –
- Shoulder Taps: Get into a push-up position with your arms fully extended, your body in a straight line, and up on your toes. This will be your starting position. Quickly bring one hand up to tap the opposite-side shoulder, placing that hand back on the floor before repeating to the opposite side.
Diet Focus/Meal Planning- FIber and Iron
Foods that are rich in fiber are great to consume when trying to conceive. Fiber helps to regulate sugar levels which is especially helpful for women who have endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome.
When looking for fiber, try to include foods such as :
- Whole-grain pasta
Another great way to boost fertility is with iron. Iron helps to promote egg health and the health of your reproductive organs. It works to prevent your ovaries and uterus from being oxygen starved which can cause infertility.
When looking for foods with a high iron content, try the following:
- Peanut Butter
Self Care- Reach Out to a Friend
Find a friend that can help to encourage you throughout your conception process. Starting a new routine and trying to conceive can feel like a long, hard task. When struggling with anything in life, having the right friend to talk to can go a long way. This is especially the case if trying to conceive is not going as quickly as you would like. Look for someone who will listen to your thoughts, struggles, concerns, and will help you to relax.
Helpful Tip – Fertility Counselor
If you do not want to find a friend to confide in during this time, you can always look into a fertility counselor. They are especially helpful if you have been struggling to conceive or suffer from infertility. A fertility counselor can help you to determine which path may be best for you if you are looking into fertility treatment options.
Exercise – Intermediate Full Body
Full Body Workout :
- Side Plank with a Twist: Lie on your right side placing your right forearm directly under your shoulder. Stack your left foot over your right. Bracing your core, press up into a side plank, right elbow at 90 degrees and butt off the floor. Raise your left arm overhead to form a T. Next, thread the left arm underneath your body, twisting at the core, and then bring it back up to the start position. Repeat for eight reps then switch sides
- Donkey Kicks: Starting on all fours on a yoga mat, ensure that your knees are below your hips and your hands are below your shoulders. Set your spine in a neutral position and draw your shoulder blades down and back. Inhale. Exhale. Keeping your knee bent, release and elevate your right leg until your thigh is in line with your spine, ensuring that your foot remains flexed. Inhale. Lower your right leg to return to the starting position, but without resting your knee on the mat. Repeat, ensuring that you complete an equal number of repetitions on both sides.
- Sumo Squat : Taking your legs out wide for this squat variation will make you feel it more in your inner thighs. Stand with your feet wide, toes pointing out. Bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply, so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Make sure to keep your weight back in your heels. Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most from the exercise.Do as many squats as you can for 30 seconds at a time.
- Seated Tricep Press: Sit down on a bench with back support and grasp a dumbbell with both hands and hold it overhead at arm’s length. The resistance should be resting in the palms of your hands with your thumbs around it. The palm of the hand should be facing inward. This will be your starting position. Keeping your upper arms close to your head (elbows in) and perpendicular to the floor, lower the resistance in a semi-circular motion behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps. ** The upper arms should remain stationary and only the forearms should move.** Breathe in as you perform this step. Go back to the starting position by using the triceps to raise the dumbbell. Breathe out as you perform this step.
Diet Focus/ Meal Planning – Smoothies
An easy way to make sure that you are getting a tasty snack filled with superfoods is making a smoothie. Adding a variety of superfoods to your diet can help to improve your reproductive health. Try to add dark leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and nuts for a yummy treat.
Here is a smoothie recipe to try:
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 handful baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
- 1 heaped tsp raw pumpkin seed butter
- 1 cup chilled coconut water or cold filtered water, to blend
- 3 ice cubes
- 4-5 drops liquid Stevia sweetener, to taste (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Serve chilled.
Self Care – Get Outside
Stepping outside can help to reduce anxiety and depression. Go for a walk, play a game, or even have a picnic. It will help to get your mind off of your fertility and to enjoy the day around you.
Helpful Tip – Prenatal Vitamins
When trying to conceive taking prenatal vitamins can help to ensure that your body is getting all of the nutrients that it needs to facilitate healthy egg development. Try and find vitamins that are made from 100 percent whole food instead of synthetic multivitamins.
Exercise – Spice Up Your Cardio
If you are looking for some more ways to spice up your cardio, try the following options:
- Stair Climber: This option is a great leg workout, as well as cardio! Try putting in a strong 90 percent or more effort on the stair climber for 30 seconds at a time with a one to two minute active recovery in between. Doing ten to 15 rounds of this could help get a strong workout in.
- Cycling: Stationary bikes can offer a vigorous indoor workout. Taking a spin class could help you burn up to 1,150 calories within one hour. Try doing intervals of high intensity and slower intensity for 30 to 60 minutes at a time.
- Single Toe Touches: Stand on your right leg with your left leg slightly behind you, raised off the floor. Place your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height. Bend your right leg at the knee and squat down to touch your left hand to the toe of your right foot, then come back up. Try to keep your leg in the air behind you the entire time. Repeat motion with your left leg.
- Bicep Dips – Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or stable chair. Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you.Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90 degree angle. Be sure to keep your back close to the bench. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench to straighten your elbows, returning to the starting position. This completes one rep. Keep your shoulders down as you lower and raise your body. You can bend your legs to modify this exercise. Do 15 to 20 reps per set and aim to do two to three sets.
Diet Focus/ Meal Planning – Drinking While Trying to Conceive
If you are not trying to give up alcohol altogether just yet, there are a few fertility friendly approaches that you could take.
You could replace your normal drink of choice with any of the following:
- Wine spritzers – 3 parts wine to 1 part club soda
- Cocktails utilizing Campari, an aperitif, made by infusing herbs and fruits into alcohol
- Low-alcohol and no-alcohol beers
- Low-alcohol wine
- Ginger beer – most contain about 0.5 percent alcohol, but some up to 4 to 5 percent
Self Care- Get Out Together
For many couples, trying to conceive can create a bad habit of “tunnel vision”. Where the couple only focuses on the goal at hand- to make a baby. Don’t forget how important your relationship is. Take the time to nurture your relationship together and focus on your love for one another. Try to find the time to go out on a date a few times a month and give each other your undivided attention. Perhaps avoid talking about baby making while out and talk about how much you care for one another.
Helpful Tip – Fertility Tracking Apps
A great way to help you along your journey is to look into a fertility tracking app to help you learn your cycle. There are many different apps that you could use to track your menstrual cycle, track your ovulation, basal body temperature, or even at-home ovulation kits. Knowing your cycle and determining a pattern can help you to get pregnant faster.
Exercise – Advanced Full Body
Here is an advanced full body workout to end your 90 day journey off right!
- Arms –
- Plank with Bunny Hop – Begin in a plank position with feet touching. Pull your abs in, and jump your feet to the right, bringing your knees toward your right elbow. Your torso will twist to the right.. To complete one rep, jump your feet back to plank. Repeat on the other side and continue alternating sides for 20 reps total.
- Oblique V Up – Lie on your left side, legs angled 30 degrees from your hips. Rest your left arm on the floor and put your right hand behind your head. Lift your straight legs off the floor, bringing your torso toward your legs. Slowly return to start. Do 20 to 30 reps. Switch sides.
- Bulgarian Split Squat: With a bench placed horizontally behind you, safely place a barbell on your shoulders. Plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart and carefully step your right foot backwards, allowing the ball of your foot to rest on top of the bench. Carefully shuffle your left foot forward, if needed. This is your starting position. Inhale. Bend both knees to approximately 90 degrees, ensuring that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. When done correctly, your front knee will be aligned with your ankle. Exhale. Push through the heel of your left foot and toe of your right foot to extend both legs and return to the starting position.
- Frog Jumps : Stand with your hands behind your head, and squat down keeping your torso upright and your head up. This will be your starting position. Jump forward several feet, avoiding jumping unnecessarily high. As your feet contact the ground, absorb the impact through your legs, and jump again.
Diet Focus/Meal Planning – Healthy Baking
Now that you are nearing the end of your 90 day guide you may want to bake something to celebrate. What better way to celebrate than with a fertility friendly delicious treat.
Keto New York Cheesecake
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp erythritol
- 1/8 tsp stevia powder
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 2 cups cream cheese room temperature
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 3 tbsp erythritol
- 1/2 tsp stevia powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs room temperature
- lily’s dark chocolate chips melted
- almonds chopped
- cashew nuts chopped
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Wrap the bottom of a 6” springform pan with aluminum foil.
- In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the crust together until it resembles a buttery crumble. Place in your springform pan and press unto the bottom with a spoon. Even it out with the back of the spoon.
- In a large bowl, place the cream cheese, sour cream, erythritol, stevia powder and vanilla, and beat with a hand mixer until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated. Do not over mix. Add the baking powder, and mix for a few seconds.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan over the crust. Tap a couple of times on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles (if there were any).
- Prepare a tall oven-proof tray and add 2-3 (1″) of water. Carefully place your aluminum-wrapped cheesecake into the water and place into the oven. Bake for 60 minutes.
- Open the oven door and let the cheesecake cool completely inside the oven for 1-2 hours until completely cooled (Your cheesecake should still be wiggly in the middle). Cover with plastic wrap, and place into the fridge overnight. You can decorate it as you wish or eat it plain once it’s completely cooled and set the next day.
Gluten Free Apple Pie
- 1 gluten-free pie crust (Trader Joes or Whole Foods have in their freezer section)
- 5 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- zest of 1/2 orange
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 5 Tbsp cold grass-fed butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/3 cup gluten-free vanilla cake mix ( Bob’s Red Mill is recommended )
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 T caramel sauce optional
1.Preheat oven to 325 F or according to directions on pie crust.
2.Combine apples through allspice and pour into thawed pie shell.
3.Combine butter through cinnamon and use pastry blender or fork to blend well to a crumble. 4.Sprinkle on top of apples and bake in oven until apples are bubbly and crumble is lightly brown about 70 minutes.
5.Top with a drizzle of caramel sauce if desired.
Self Care – Why Not Schedule a Baby Makation
Why not take some time and celebrate your hard work. Schedule a “baby makation” with your partner. Everyday life can get stressful and routine, which can make trying to conceive seem like a chore at times. Schedule a fun mini vacation where you can enjoy each other and have fun!
Here are a few fun ideas that you could try:
- A spa retreat. Book a day filled with a couples massage and facials. This will help you both to relax and enjoy each other. Take a steamy shower to help turn up the heat and excitement.
- Pitch a tent. Go out and explore nature. There is nothing more romantic than sitting by the light of a fire and cuddling up close. You can get lost gazing into the star filled sky around you, or your partner’s eyes.
- Stay-cation. If you don’t have the time to get away, you can always book a quick vacation at a hotel in your city. A quick and simple overnight get away can help provide the right stress-free atmosphere that is quite romantic.
Helpful Tips- Enjoy this Time
Now that you have completed your 90 day guide, take the time to enjoy all of the hard work that you have put in. Try and remember that conception is different for everyone. If it does not happen as quickly as you would like, try not to lose faith.
If you are under the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive without protection for one year unsuccessfully it may be time to talk to your doctor about your options.
If you are over 35 and have been trying for six months without protection, it is recommended to reach out to your doctor for help.