Balancing Hormones for Conception


Since this spring I have felt the call and tug of a little soul wanting into our family.  At first the tug was gentle and patient because I was not ready yet. I flatly asked the soul for patience during our communication through meditation (check out this guided meditation I recorded to help you connect with your soul baby) and prayer.

I hear you, I would say, but I need more time.  If you have read one of my all time favorite books, Spirit Babies, you know what I am talking about. I needed more time to heal, more time to detox, more time to restore, more time to devote my attention fully to taking care of Penelope.

And so the little soul has waited all year. Waited for me to do the things I wanted to do get my body and mind ready to carry another baby. And waited for Penelope to be ready, too. She needed to be in on the family decision to welcome in another soul. And of course they waited on my husband, ever the worrier about money and probably waited for us to get settled into our new beach life and for Peter and I to stop fighting so much.  But now my baby is getting impatient.  NOW, she says!  And even Penelope too.  She asks me daily, if the baby is in my belly yet.  I tell her, soon, love, soon.

So the focus of the last year has been getting my mind right after my miscarriage.  The focus of this year has been physical healing by detoxing, healing and restoring my pelvic area: my digestion and my uterus.  In some ways, I have had some set backs (this summer when I first moved I pretty much went ape shit for a bit eating grains and sugar and coffee like it was going out of style) but most other ways, I have taken my nutrition and eating habits to the next level and healed my digestion to a place that is not perfect, but is light years from where it was just a couple of years ago. I also focused heavily on increasing my magnesium stores, with Ancient Minerals lotion and Natural Calm for many different reasons, but mostly to guard off from debilitating morning sickness that I have experienced with every pregnancy.

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As I get closer to the actual official moment of “trying” these are the other steps I have taken:

No more detox!  I am giving my liver a break. Your liver works hard during a detox and it works hard during a pregnancy. Time for it to just take a chill pill.

I am focusing on holding in the energy in my pelvis.  No more digestive fire increasing/downward energy moving supplements, herbs (like red clover, peppermint, or dandelion), or therapies.  I am focusing on keeping my energy in my pelvis now, instead of flushing it out.

I got better quality probiotics.  Natren (Preventrio) is a brand that actually colonizes the digestion system instead of just helping digestion as it is moving through.  I am using the non-dairy, even though I don’t plan on being totally dairy-free during my pregnancy, I do want to limit my dairy intake this pregnancy, because I do seem get some inflammatory responses when I have to process too much dairy, even raw dairy.

I starting making herb infusions with nettle, oat straw, and chamomile. Not a tea, but an herb infusion, it’s basically tea that has been steeped overnight. To make tea infusions, take half cup of herbs, put in quart mason jar, fill with boiling water and let it sit overnight.

I also started drinking red raspberry leaf tea. I wanted to see how I reacted to it and gauge whether or not it was a good call to continue during pregnancy if and when I do get pregnant.  It is an herb that tones the uterus and I may or not need any additional toning.

I will continue with some of my uterus self care routines during the first half of my cycle (first day of period to ovulation).  So for me that meant, 1-2 castor oil packs and one vaginal steam bath sometime in the first half of my cycle  and gentle self care massage every night. I will continue to do my nightly baths but only with sea salt and spirulina powder.

I will stop my uterus self care routines at ovulation and ride out the cycle to see if I got pregnant.

Gained a couple of pounds.  Well, since I am an ambitious over-achiever, I went ahead and did this early. See above about when I moved and I was eating grains, sugar and coffee like it was going out of style. :)  Even though I have cut that behavior out, I have upped my calorie intake of nutrient-dense food, especially good quality fats, and kept the weight on.  Your body needs extra fat for your hormones to work properly.  So while I understand how uncomfortable it can be to carry some extra weight before you even get pregnant, it really does make a huge difference.

Got off all caffeine and alcohol.  Oh, coffee got me through the summer of transition but it was time to cut that shit out.  Caffeine can reduce fertility and increase miscarriage by 50%.  I don’t have good enough odds when I am off caffeine and pregnant, so I don’t have the luxury of keeping this drug a part of my daily routine.  And I also cut out my red wine.  I don’t drink wine every night, usually once a week I open up a bottle of red and drink it for a couple of nights.  But that got cut out too.  Again, giving the ole liver as much time to recuperate and rest up as possible.

Started charting and taking my basal temperature.  I busted out the basal thermometer and then decided to upgrade to this one to test it out. But truth be told, I do not think it is worth the extra money and it was not easy to use, so just stick to a cheapy one.  I stopped charting my daily temperatures after Penelope was born because I was being woken up all hours of the night and getting up for the day at a different time each morning.  I continued to track length of my cycle and physical indicators, such as vaginal mucous, but gave up on basal temp reading for accurate ovulation window a long time ago.  But now its back baby.  And how my OCD brain loves it.  And this time no more pencil and paper chart!  I have handy apps on my iPhone!  I linke Kindara the best, but a new one called Glow is pretty cool too and free.

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Other supplements I have added in my routine in addition to my normal daily supplements (cod liver oil, probiotics and prenatal vitamin) to aid in balancing my hormones:

1-2 tablespoons of flax/pumpkin seeds first half of cycle, and sesame/sunflower second half of cycle

1 tablespoon of flax oil or capsules first half of cycle/ evening primrose the second half of cycle

Maca, taken the first half of cycle.  This herb supports proper hormonal balance in both men and women, encourages a healthy libido in both men and women, supports normal egg health, promote normal sperm health, support normal FSH levels, encourages normal endometrium health, may be beneficial in preparation for IVF

Vitex, taken the second half of cycle.  This herb, supports a healthy menstrual cycle, encourage a normal luteal phase (second half of a woman’s cycle), promotes regular ovulation, supports the body’s natural progesterone levels, aids and support the pituitary gland, supports normal FSH levels, ease occasional PMS symptoms

Progesterone cream the second half of cycle

Female tonic, 3 times a day for 10 days at beginning of cycle, ending on ovulation

Zinc, taken the whole cycle, is a super important mineral that aids in digestion, hormone production and immunity.  It is an essential component of genetic material. This means that a deficiency in zinc can cause chromosomal changes in either partner which in turn causes reduced fertility and greater risk of miscarriage

Chromium  helps regulate your blood sugar, which in turn helps regulate your hormones.  If you are eating a ton of sugar, grains and starches, your body is working hard to produce insulin to get your blood sugar back to normal after eating sugar, then your liver has to work hard to get all those extra hormones out of your system.  You are better off just not eating sugar, but if you can’t be perfect, then chromium is a helpful tool to get you closer to balance.

I am also going to try lunaception this time too.  I always sleep with an eye mask on and need total darkness, but I am going to try and let some light in and just experiment with it for fun.  My cycles are very regular and I will be charting, so I don’t know how helpful it will be, but it is interesting.

And lastly for good measure, I am also wearing a fertility bracelet my friend made me. She has an amazing handmade jewelry business called Blue Sky Designs.  And another friend of mine made me a special rosary.  She has a cool business too, called Trendy Traditions, she is the same woman who made my special rosary for Silas.

And P.S. my husband has refused to participate in any type of detox to aid in our conception and to help create a healthier, stronger sperm which would better our chances to create a healthier, stronger and more vital baby.  But he has agreed to take Maca, which for men improves health of sperm.  If you have a husband that is more open minded than mine, there are lots of things he could be doing to help such as doing a major detox, overhauling diet and increasing his nutritional stores, herbs for balancing his hormones, and abdominal massage and body work therapies to make sure his parts are working right and his body is making the most optimal and healthiest sperm possible-fertility is not all on women, although I know it feels like that.  It takes two people to make a baby and it should be two people working hard to be the healthiest they can be for their baby.


About the Author

Hiya! I'm Stephanie. Mama and Baby Love is all about helping mothers on their own personal health and healing journey and enjoying life along the way. You can learn more about me and what I'm all about. Sign up for my newsletter for more tips, info and inspiration!

Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this. It is such a nice guide that I will for sure use when we are ready for baby two. Thanks also for the link to the post about Lunaception. That is really cool. Sorry your husband isn’t on board with a preconception detox, that must be frustrating.

  2. This is a wonderful post Stephanie and I wish you all the best! I’m just curious what kind of Zinc and Progesterone are you using and where do you purchase your herbs for your herb infusion from?
    Do you take Chormium when you are and have been eating well?
    What exactly is the benefits for evening primrose?

    Thanks!!

    • I just updated the post to include amazon links for those things, sorry I forgot before!

      I like Moutain Rose Herbs online to buy herbs in bulk.

      No, I took it intitially a couple of years ago when I was working on cutting back on sugar and regulating my blood sugar. Now I just keep some on hand, when I feel like my cravings are getting out of control, or if I succummed to my cravings and ate three big cookies-I will take some after the cookies to help my body regulate a little bit easier,hopefully making me less insulin resisitant in the long run.

      It’s a hormon balancing thing, I will have to refer to my research notes and get back to you, but in general it helps your hormones during that part of your cycle.

  3. I wanted to laugh out loud when I read that last paragraph. My partner is the exact same way. I don’t even know if I could get him to take the maca. Thank you so much for this post. I’m hoping to be planning our second pregnancy in another year or so and want to do everything I can to prepare my body. Good luck!

  4. Hi there- great read. I relate so much to it. Question: the magnesium lotion and natural calm, are they ok during pregnancy? I took a lot of epsom salt baths prior to getting pregnant and want to keep up the magnesium but don’t want a detox as such with a bath.

    I’m 5 weeks pregnant with #3 and like you, have been thinking and preparing for a year for this. Of course, I feel there’s so much more I could have done, praying it was enough and this little nugget sticks.

    • Congratulations! Yes, the lotion and mag calm are great during pregnancy! Your body has a hard time absorbing magnesium when you are pregnant because of the hormones, so both products will not be as effective, but will still be very helpful. I plan on continuing both throughout pregnancy for sure.

      • I am also 5 weeks pregnant and I have been taking mag calm since around conception. I definitely feel better taking it, no morning sickness yet, but I can tell I need to take more now that I’m pregnant because of the slower: lower absorption. I’m blessed to have a husband that was stubborn at first but after reading on one of the many blogs I follow that HE should be doing the same things I was doing preconception he got on board and was drinking hormone regulating herbs with me every night. After 2 failed months, it worked after he got with the program! :)
        Thanks for keeping it real Stephanie, cussing and all ;)

  5. Thanks for sharing everything…even the disagreements you admit are there with you and your husband. Makes me feel somewhat normal. I hope you don’t let his decision to not detox stress you out.

    Based on what you write, I am sure he’s healthier than most men with a combo of your cooking and his surfing! :-)

    Thanks for always being real.

    • He really is. He eats much better than the average American, which probably was because his parents were NOT American and never let him have soda and lunchables as a kid. But he is an environmental engineer and has worked around lots of chemicals for the last ten years. I wish he would do a detox for his own health, maybe one day!

  6. oh…..and happy Friday the 13th! A year or so you wrote about it. I am the one with two kids both born on Friday the 13th. I am 13 too, and so is their Grandma. Love the day!

  7. So happy to hear you are ready for this! Best wishes to you and your family!

  8. Thank you Thank you Thank you so much for this! I love your blog, and this post was just perfect timing for me- you did such a wonderful job of just laying out exactly what you are doing, and it showed me that their are some tweaks to my pre-conception routine that I could make (I have been researching/working towards the goal of a healthy pregnancy for about a year and a half- I have Celiac disease as well as have been on the pill for 10 consecutive years- don’t get me started, never again!- and had some hormone imbalances (stupid synthetic hormonesl!) that I have managed to normalize with many holistic treatments and supplements and lunaception). We have been “trying” for 16 months, knowing that my body was healing but still hoping, and now being in a much much better place wellness wise, we are hoping that my body is ready for a pregnancy to stick! Thank you so much for all of the invaluable information, and also for keeping it real in regards to husbands- mine is totally on board with the preconception detox and all the food changes (no grains, etc) but he can still sometimes be a pain, as they probably all can! Much love and good luck!

    • Thanks so much for sharing about your journey and so glad you found this helpful! And so glad to know my husband is not the only one who is a pain in the you know what!

  9. Good morning! Everything I have read about EPO says to take it during the first half of your cycle until ovulation and then discontinue. I believe the reason was uterine stimulation. Since the benefit is supposed to be healthier cervical mucous it would also make sense to take before ovulation. Have I missed something about talking it in the second part of a cycle?

    • I am not sure, but I know I was told to take EPO the second half of cycle, but I will double check.

      • She said you take it the second half of cycle to balance out estrogen from the first part of cycle, and that it is anti inflammatory and promotes the right prostaglandins to be released on the period in cases of inflammed pelvis, in the cases of women with trouble conceiving.

  10. Natalie Mauszycki says:

    Thanks for sharing! I have a leutel phase defect, and vitex
    Really seemed to help with that, along with the ” make me bat shit crazy” progesterone. :) do you continue with progesterone after you get pregnant? Best wishes on your journey!!!

    • Does the progesterone cream make you crazy? I have been feeling a bit sadder the last couple of days and I wonder if it is the progesterone! I plan on continuing the progesterone at least throughout my first trimester because of my history of miscarriage.

  11. Are these supplements also good for balancing hormones when you’re not trying to get pregnant? My hormones have always been way out of whack (except during the time I took birth control, which I don’t ever want to do again), and after we finish having kids, I would love to balance the hormones naturally…but I won’t need any pre-conception support at that point. Just curious if there’s anything you’d add or leave out in that situation.

    Thanks, and good luck!!!

    • YES! Balancing your hormones will make you feel so much better, regardless of getting pregnant. The Mood Cure is a great book for women who need help balancing hormones at different stages of life if you are interested.

      • Hey Stephanie – is the book Mood Cure a good book to read if you are going through Adrenal Fatigue?

        • I don’t know if I would say its the absolute best and perfect book to read for Adrenal Fatigue, because it goes over many topics and things in the book, but I bed you would find it very helpful. Acupuncture is great for adrenal fatigue and weak thyroid and other hormone function as well. I totally forgot to mention that in the post, that I am cotinuing with my regular acupuncture treatments.

          • Thanks Stephanie. So, you would say acupuncture is better than regular massages – in this case(adrenal fatigue) that is AND if I could only choose one out of the two:).

          • Yes, maam. Unless, you had a highly trained massage therapist who knew acupressure and energy healing. Like me. ;)

  12. Hi,

    It is a little overwhelming to hear about all of these herbs and supplements. Where is a good place to start?

    Also, you mention Mayan massage, acupuncture, the chiropractor, etc….? How do you determine which one to do because practically and financially I can’t invest in all of them.

    Thanks so much for your posts.

    • Of Mayan massage, acupuncture and chiropractor, I think Mayan is crucial. The other two are super important too, but if I had to only pick one because of finances I would pick that.

      And if you don’t have any money for herbs and supplements, just eat perfect, get lots of rest and excercise. You can heal and balance your body pretty far with just those three.

  13. Stephanie – I’m just curious to know if you had your progesterone levels tested or do you just use the amount it states on the progesterone container? ANd do you prefer saliva hormone testing over blood testing? thanks!

    • Yes, I did just recently get my levels tested. I did a blood test, because I tested a bunch of different things too, it had been awhile since I had done a complete blood work up. I don’t follow the guidelines on the package, it’s totaly Spirit led. I know it’s sounds quacky and irresponsible, but I totally trust my body’s intuition and my guidence from Angels and God about this stuff. So for example, if I forget to take a supplement one day, I trust that it was Divine and for a reason.

  14. I too went through a miscarriage last year…and not long after I got pregnant again…while visiting Disney world…I see you are there now! Haha hope it will be just as “magical” for you too :)

  15. JUST read this. Exciting!

  16. Amy sidran says:

    Are there any others for sperm health? My husband is on the lower end of normal but we do have a 3 year old so some must be good! Thank you!

    • Yes! I am not an expert on supplements for sperm health, but I do know Male Tonic from Rainforest Remedies is superful helpful in all things male fertility.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Sorry this is long, but i really need some guidance!

    Ok, when you say “second half” of cycle, are you referring to before or after ovulation? I just received my ultrasound results which showed a thickened uterine lining and an enlarged right ovary (probably because I had a functional cyst rupture on it that morning). I suspect adenomyosis because my mother had it, with precancerous cells. She was 32, I am 25. I fought estrogen dominance to get pregnant 18 months ago. I took yellow dock, red raspberry and vs-c for a virus and was pregnant in 6 weeks. Perfect happy pregnancy, natural water birth with no interventions at all. I thought things would normalize after that. Now I have INSANELY heavy periods with clots. I have low iron, low calcium and high progesterone. I do not eat grains, starches, gmos, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, soy, most sugars or anything with pesticides. I eat a small amount of animal protein. I gained 60lbs when I was pregnant and I have lost only 25lbs in almost a year. I breastfed for 8 months. :( I am going to fight this, seriously I really want to have more children. I am going to see a holistic minded gyno in a few weeks. I am charting my cycle, every tiny detail: my weight, temps, symptoms and cervical mucus/menstrual bleeding. I started castor oil packs 5 days ago. I started bleeding yesterday, had pms, bloating and all the usual symptoms. I thought this could be a normal cycle, but (tmi alert) the blood is very light in color and stringy? I’m wondering if my uterus is clearing out. If so, is this considered a period?! It’s so hard to find this info anywhere.

    I am sorry for this full medical history, but here is my question: How does this schedule look? My goal is to clean out my uterus and heal it to create a healthy environment for babies. (also so I can live a healthy life myself and avoid a hysterectomy or cancer)

    cycle day 1-14 (post ovulation or pre? I test my lh cycle day 14-20 due to my irregular cycles, i conceived my baby on cycle day 20 when I was pregnant last year) maca, evening primrose, flax in smoothies

    14 (post ovulation)- day 1 of cycle (first day of period) wild yam progesterone cream and vitex

    10 days past ovulation, after negative preg test, castor oil packs daily until period begins.

    • Never too much information for me! The more the better! Yes, you have the schedule correct. And yes, when I say second half of cycle I mean, the part of the cycle ovulation till start of bleeding.

      Yes, castor oil packs and abdominal massage can cause mucous, celluar debris, scar tissue and even old caked on the walls of the uterus blood to release and leave the body.

      I would love to work with you via Skype or in my office in South Florida, there is so much than can be done healing wise, but you are off to a great start. Good job being proactive with your healing!

  18. After extensive research online and based on my sister’s and my experience with infertility after first baby, I have a bit of advice. Get your thyroid checked. TSH should be under a 2. Maybe this can help, I don’t know, but if I had known this, I could have conceived a lot easier. Mine was a 4.1. I went on Synthroid, 75 mcg/6days a week…conceived 3 months later.

    • YES! Thyroid is a huge factor. I learned that myself earlier this year during the Thyroid Sessions. I had no idea how big a role the Thyroid plays in producing progesterone, which I have always been low in!

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