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Fertility Tips from Dr. Tara Brandner
Being diagnosed with infertility can be overwhelming for many. It also tends to make you a master researcher and Googler. Let’s not forget about the mental health component of this disease. It’s a lonely, isolating road with moments of pure joy and happiness but also moments of immense grief and sorrow. At the beginning stages of my diagnosis, I didn’t tell anyone. Looking at how much I speak on it now, one would not know this. Once I opened up, I was greeted with support and others around me who were also walking through the same stages of treatment. I also felt lost and searched Google and Facebook groups for answers. No matter where you are at in your journey, I hope these tips can help you better navigate. Rember, my inbox is always open to ask a question or find support from someone who truly gets it.
1. Follow your intuition or that “gut” feeling. If something doesn’t feel right with your body, seek a medical provider who will listen to you and do a comprehensive workup, even if it hasn’t been 6-12 months of trying to conceive. You know your body best, always follow that feeling or nudge. If you absolutely can not find a provider who will order appropriate testing, several companies have home hormone testing you can have delivered straight to your door. If you are already going through treatments and have failed cycles, consider seeking a second opinion from a new clinic.
2. Learn how to track your monthly cycle. This may seem basic, but I often see women missing their ovulation phase. Following an app on your phone is great for knowing when to expect your period but not for tracking ovulation. Understanding signs of ovulation such as cervical mucus changes and following your LH and progesterone levels with a tracking system are essential to successfully identifying your optimal time for conception.
3. There are things you can do now to support your fertility no matter what stage of conception you are in. One is ensuring you take high-quality supplements, including prenatal such as Nourish. Another favorite is Baseline, designed to support healthy female hormone levels. If your healthcare provider is not comfortable supporting your decision to take supplements, find one who is and will support this decision. Create a fertility-friendly daily lifestyle such as daily activity, a quality sleep schedule, and incorporating daily mindfulness practices.
4. Surround yourself with support, and do not feel obligated to share what you are going through with people. Deciding to share your journey can be one of the most challenging decisions, yet it can lead to relief. This road is lonely, isolating, and full of every emotion imaginable. There are amazing support groups available to find others to connect with who are also going through infertility.
5. Be aware of your options and take control of your reproductive healthcare. You are in control of which route to conception you take, how fast or slow you go with testing and treatment, and who is on your healthcare team. If you are presented with an option and it doesn’t feel right, seek a second or third opinion. You get to decide! Find a provider who takes the time to listen to you, acknowledges your concerns, and is familiar with the latest guidelines and recommendations for diseases that lead to infertility. Not all providers and clinics are equal or the same.
Know that you are not alone in this journey. There is an amazing community to support you through your journey to conceive and beyond.