As a women’s health and fertility expert who has written books on fertility and has helped hundreds of women conceive, getting pregnant at 40 was thankfully easy for me. It happened naturally and on the second month of trying. And, I’m definitely not taking my healthy pregnancy at my ‘advanced maternal age’ for granted, as I know how challenging conception can be for many women, at any age. But, I do want to convey that from my decade of clinical experience in fertility—I have become very clear on the fact that age is not our biggest fertility challenge. Rather, it seems that the fertility challenges we are facing as a society are less about age and more about overall health and wellness—mentally, emotionally, physically and nutritionally. In my clinical opinion biological age and chronological age are often very different. By this I mean the age of your cells and your organs can be much younger (or older) than the number of years old you are. In fact, there’s an entire branch of science, called epigenetics that dedicated to researching this topic. Basically the science shows that the way you live your life—from how much you sleep, to your diet, to your stress levels—absolutely affects not only how you age but how fast you age. From this notion, we can argue that our lifestyles determine our age, not our birthdays.
For me, I wholeheartedly practice what I preach (and have been for many years) to all of my clients and I follow a mind, body and soul lifestyle that I believe has optimized my health and ultimately my fertility. That’s not to say my turning 40 years old didn’t make me worry a bit about my fertility, it did. It’s been challenging to be surrounded by doctors and media and clients who are all concerned about age and fertility and for sure this affected me. However, I didn’t let it affect me too much, as I know the stress wouldn’t help my desire to become healthfully pregnant. So, when we decided to begin trying to conceive, I remained positively focused on the faith I have in my body to do what I desired it to do, regardless of my age.
Because I know fertility is on the mind of many women, I want to share with you my top five tips on achieving a healthy, happy and fabulous pregnancy in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s (and, even if you are going through western fertility treatments these tips are still extremely valuable):
1. Embrace a pre-conception plan. I recommend that for at least 3 months, ideally 6, before you even start trying to conceive, you follow a preconception plan of decreasing alcohol intake (3 drinks per week), eating a nutrient dense diet full of organic fruits and vegetables, pastured and grass fed animal products and plenty of healthy fats, limiting caffeine to one cup of organic coffee or tea per day and taking supplements rich in omega 3 fatty acids and folate (the vitamin your body needs to make folic acid).
2. Sleep seven to eight hours per night. Period. Sleep is imperative to optimal health and fertility.
3. Meditate daily. Ideally for 20-30 minutes, but any amount will do. Meditation will help you combat the aging effects of stress. Check out this video to learn how (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3oQhsc9PQg)
4. Go non-toxic with your bath and beauty products. Avoid harsh chemicals in commercial products that have been scientifically proven to disrupt hormones and cause reproductive disorders. Check out this article for the most important ones to avoid: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanessa-cunningham/dangerous-beauty-products_b_4168587.html
5. Be happy. Yes, be happy—right here, right now. No more waiting to be happy when such and such happens in your life. Be happy now. Find ways to make your soul sing on a daily basis. Happy people are healthier people and healthier people have optimal fertility. One way I do this is I keep a daily gratitude list where each morning I list (either in my head or written down) five things I am grateful for in that moment! It’s a great way to stay present and positive.
Remember, these are lifestyle habits that you should adopt because they will optimize your health for the long haul. Don’t just follow these tips for a few weeks because you want to get pregnant—follow them for life. And, when you get pregnant continue to follow all of these tips as the ultimate goal is not just pregnancy—it’s a healthy pregnancy that you carry to term with a healthy baby that you take home to a healthy and happy space!