How I Boosted My Fertility Naturally at 42

Claudia Spahr, traveller, yogini, author and journalist, is the brains behind the acclaimed pregnancy manual, ‘Right Time Baby – The Complete Guide to Later Motherhood’. Additionally her excellent website houses a really informative blog discussing all things later motherhood. Here, she talks about her journey into parenthood and how a healthy lifestyle impacted on her conceiving at 42.

Enjoy …..

HOW I BOOSTED MY FERTILITY NATURALLY AT 42.

I’m an older mum for many of the typical reasons. I met Mr put-a-ring-on-it in my late thirties after years of going out with dysfunctional, commitment-phobic, substance-abusing men, who were nowhere near ready to have children. Of course I wasn’t ready either in my twenties and early thirties. It was all about me.com. All about my career, my travels around the world, my journey of self discovery and my healing.
I had so much growing to do before I could become the mother I’m now able to be for the children I was meant to have.

I had my first child shortly before turning 40 – a bouncy gorgeous boy who’s nearly four now. He was 2 years old when I felt ready to start trying for a second baby. I’d just finished writing a book on later motherhood and was keen to try out all the pre-conception measures on myself. At 42 I actually felt better and more vibrant than I did at 32. Partly thanks to a healthier diet and lifestyle. During the research for my book I got into nutrition, big time. We’re talking anoraks and train-spotters. We’re talking drive your husband crazy with food-talk. I decided to try out what I was discovering about fertility foods. So the first thing I did was detox.

Toxins produce acidity in the body and upset the fine balance of the hormones needed for reproduction. Pesticides, environmental toxins, synthetic hormones and water additives can all cause problems, if you’re trying to conceive. Also toxic heavy metals can pass directly from the mother to her foetus, so it’s a good idea to detox three months before trying to get pregnant. For my detox I juiced and took zeolite. This can reduce toxins by 100% if you do it for a week or two. My husband detoxed more gently by eating raw and steamed veg for a week. Studies show that men who eat a lot of processed meats, fast foods and junk foods have low sperm quality. Male sperm counts have halved since the introduction of industrial farming with nearly 50% of the male population today showing reduced sperm motility. An interesting comparison is that organic farmers are shown to have very potent sperm counts of over 5 times the average.

In my early thirties I loved fancy cocktails and fine wine but since becoming a mum and breastfeeding I hardly drink anymore. To prepare for conception I cut out alcohol entirely. So did my husband. Drinking more than three units of alcohol a week has been shown to prevent conception taking place. Even binge drinking will affect sperm and eggs for three months. Luckily neither of us drinks much coffee or smoke because both these stimulants have also been clearly linked to lower conception and higher miscarriage rates.

The next step for boosting our fertility was getting a personal nutrient analysis done, via a hair strand sample. You can do this at various places. We chose Foresight Preconception in the UK where two large, long-term studies involving hundreds of couple have been carried out. The studies showed that a preconception care programme involving changes to diet and lifestyle, enabled 89% of couples to give birth, including 81% of those who had suffered infertility for up to ten years. These success rates are over three times higher than the average IVF clinic. The miscarriage rate was practically zero.

Based on the results from the hair strand analysis I stocked up on nutrient-dense food by eating plenty of wholefoods (rather than processed), organic fruit and vegetables and food rich in essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants. I sprouted alfafa and chia seeds and made myself fruit and veg smoothies with superfoods such as maca. I also ate a lot of salads and raw food. The most important fertility vitamins and minerals are the B vitamins, vitamins A, C and E, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc. I did take some vitamin supplements but it’s always better to get them via real food. I also made sure I was drinking plenty of water.

The next pre-conception measure involved a bit of exercise. At the time I was running a yoga resort in India so it was easy to do lots of yoga, which I love. As well as calming the mind, yoga is a wonderful tonic for the internal organs. It’s important for conception to get oxygenated blood flowing to the reproductive area. I had some massages and acupuncture to support this and strengthen my Qi (flow of life energy). I was told by the therapist to breathe deeply into my belly for a few minutes every night before going to sleep. I’m convinced this helped me get pregnant.

Even though I was 42, an age where most doctors wrongly say you have a 5% chance of getting pregnant, I felt that I would have another baby. This is an important aspect because science is proving that our health is largely determined by our thoughts and emotions. It’s been shown that positive thoughts, affirmations and visualisations create neural connections that lead the body to believe something is true. I genuinely   believed I would get pregnant when the time was right and trusted this belief. Belief is the basically the body’s strongest medicine. For every emotion or thought the body has a matching chemistry. So you can have life-affirming chemistry or life-denying chemistry flowing through your veins.

I had actually been diagnosed with a large cyst on my right ovary about six months earlier. The gynaecologist said this would greatly reduce my chances of getting pregnant and that the cyst may have to be removed surgically. Even though I saw the cyst during a scan, I never actually believed it was there. I never gave it attention or thought “Oh poor me”. Throughout my yoga practice and meditation I focused on being strong and healthy and fertile. I told my body it was getting ready to grow a baby. And sure enough, a few months later the cyst had disappeared and I got pregnant. My second child is nine months old now and brings so much joy to my life daily. I’ll be 44 this year and still feeling broody. Maybe in a year or two I might try for a third child. I sincerely believe that as long as you’re menstruating you can get pregnant. The key to having a healthy baby is in your diet, lifestyle and mindset.

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As well as Claudia’s book, you’ll also find further information on pre-conception care here.

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