Things you SHOULD KNOW when planning for a baby
Many of the members of my fertility programs are self proclaimed fertility detectives. They’ve been doing tons of research on their own, reading books, listening to podcasts, Googling everything they can, because they’re trying to understand why they can’t get pregnant and what they can do to support themselves. And they’ve been doing this for years, and in many cases if they just would’ve started with some preconception planning and had a plan in place before they started trying, they probably could have saved themselves a lot of time and money. And that’s one of the foundational reasons why I created this preconception minis series, because I want to help you get pregnant easier.
So on this Fertility TV episode we’re going to talk about the thing that you should be doing now, when you’re starting to think about getting pregnant, when you want to plan and have a preconception process in plan in place to get pregnant easier. So I’m going to talk about some of things you already know, and I’m going to introduce some things you don’t know but you should. Before we jump into my tips and suggestions for you today, I want to give a shout out and a thank you to Fairhaven Health for sponsoring this video. Fairhaven Health makes some great supplements to support you on your fertility journey, and as we’re talking about preconception health, my two favorite ones are FH Pro for Men and Women to help set the foundation and get you the results that you’re looking for. If you want more information on Fairhaven Health, use the link in the description below.
Hi, I’m Dr. Marc Sklar also known as the fertility expert, and I want to welcome you to Fertility TV, your YouTube channel dedicated to helping you get pregnant. I’ve been working with couples for over 18 years through my online coaching programs, and right here in sunny San Diego at both of my clinics, to support all of you and help you get pregnant. And I want to let you know that I can help all of you no matter where you are, if you want me and my team to support you on your fertility journey, then you can apply for a discovery call to qualify for my HOPE Fertility Coaching Program. We have a few spots left this month, and if you want to be one of those to join the program, then you can use the link in the description below to apply.
Okay, so in this video we’re talking about the things that you should know when you’re trying to get pregnant, and one of the most important things and foundational things is tracking your cycle. So if you haven’t watched one of my videos before, you’ll know that I’ve got my trusty computer here with my notes here, so sometimes I’m going to look down just to make sure I’m not missing a point, because I want to make sure that I include everything possible in this video for you. So tracking your cycles, BBT charting, OPKs, which one should you be doing, and what shouldn’t you be doing? Well if you’re just starting to try the most important thing that you should know is that you just want to understand what your cycle is doing. How many days is it? How long do you bleed for? When do you ovulate? These are just some foundational, basic things that are really important to help you on the process of trying and planning, and part of that is understanding your cycle.
So to better understand your cycle the first thing I want you all to do is open up the apps on your phone and find an app that you’re comfortable with that can help you track your cycle. If you want to you can just do it on your regular calendar and basically you mark the first day of bleed as day one and you just say started my period, then you track how many days you bleed for, and what I recommend is that you track each day, so I bled a heavy flow, a medium flow, a light flow, what color was it, or what shade of red, was there pain, no pain, clots, those sorts of things, and you’re going to track those every day of your bleed.
And then when you get into the middle of your cycle, if you notice a change in cervical mucus, if you know when you’re ovulating, these are things that you’re also going to track and document either on the app or your calendar. You’re doing this because you want to be able to reference it back and look at it and be able to see a pattern, see the trajectory of when your cycles are coming and going, when you’re ovulating, and what they look like, and if you’re making changes in your health in any way, then we want to also see is that influencing or affecting your cycles positively or negatively?
So those are the basics, those are the keys for tracking. I do recommend a couple things, that you do get an app, it is easier for tracking them, there’s lots of free apps out there that you can check out. And I also do think it’s important that you start with, but don’t make it stressful, either tracking ovulation with an OPK and ovulation predictor kit, you just pee on the strips in the middle of your cycle for a period of days and just see when you get a positive, and that’s when you can track and mark ovulation, or with basal body temperature charting. And this is a little bit more in detailed, I do have many videos on this topic specifically so I’m not going to spend a lot of time of it here, but tracking your temperature, your basal temperature, which is your resting temperature, so first thing in the morning, that allows you to see a rhythm, a fluctuation of your temperatures throughout the day, and will let you know when you’re transitioning.
Now it’s not going to help you in that given cycle, or maybe for the first couple of cycles, but once you start to see a pattern, understand what that pattern is telling you, and you’ll be able to understand that better if you watch my videos on basal body temperature charting, then you’ll be able to know when you’re going to bleed, when you’re going to ovulate, and the most important thing about all of that is that you also now know when you should be trying to conceive, when you should be having intercourse for conception purposes, and that will make the process much easier when it’s time to get pregnant. To help support you all through your fertility journey I created a fertility starter kit, this includes all the different home therapies, all the different tracking methods that are going to help you on your fertility journey and help you get started. If you want that information, or you want to check it out, then you can use the link in the description below to find it.
Second point that I want to bring up is time. When you and your partner determine that you are thinking about it, you’re ready to start to get pregnant, or you’re ready to start thinking about it and have the conversation, that’s really probably the signal that you need to start planning. And why do we need more time? Why do we need time in advance of just saying, “Hey, let’s just try this cycle and have sex and see what happens.” Well, the reality is that follicular genesis, the time that it takes for your body to pick an egg, to mature it, to ovulate it, that is a 120 day process since, it’s about four months. And so once you get past that window of time, there’s very little, especially on a given cycle, there’s very little you can do on a specific current cycle to influence the egg quality of the eggs that you’re ovulating.
So if you want to support your hormones, if you want to regulate your cycles, if you want to improve the quality of your eggs, we need some time to do that, which is why you’ll often hear either three to six months, or four to six months, because we want to set that foundation and give your body a little bit of opportunity and time to make those changes so that it actually influences the quality of the eggs that you’re ovulating on any given cycle. So if you’re starting to have a conversation with your partner and think about, well, when do we want to start to plan to have a child, or start trying, odds are that means that you should actually start thinking about what you should be doing now so that when the time comes you are ready.
And I want you to be serious about these things, I want you to be serious about the changes you’re going to make, reducing your alcohol or eliminating alcohol and caffeine, improving your diet, exercising, meditation, whatever it is that you’re going to start to do, and for many of you you might need some guidance on that, then I want you to be serious about that because it’s going to affect your health, your fertility, and the health of your future child. So all these things that we hear about, and then I’m going to talk about whether it’s supplements, diet, whatever it might be that you’re going to do, these things need time, they need a proper plan based for your specific needs, and you need to give it the time to actually get the results that you’re looking for.
And while I mentioned fertility supplements, I do have a resource page on my website that gives you my favorite foundational supplements to help support you at a basic level on your fertility journey. So if you want to check those supplements out and you want to use that link, that link is in the description below, or you can just jump on over to my website to find it.
Now also while we’re talking about time, and we were just talking how much time necessary, one thing I do want to mention real quickly is that if you’re on birth control, or have been for an extended period of time, and you are starting to have the conversation about planning to get pregnant in the future, I want to encourage you all to get off of the birth control pill now. You want to give your body some time to regulate after you’ve been on birth control for a period of time, I would actually even encourage many of you when you get off to do a detox, or fertility detox, I talk about that in other videos as well, to help clear your body of the excess hormones that you’ve been giving it, and to help reset your body hormonally so that you can get a regular cycle faster and get back on track for your fertility.
No preconception video would be complete if I did not talk about testing. If you’ve watched any of my previous videos you know that I’m a big fan of testing and not guessing and understanding where you are, and the same is true for preconception. We just don’t know, we just don’t know what we don’t know, so if we don’t look, we’re not going to know if there’s something that we need to do. So we need to do some foundational testing.
I want to share a story with all of you, very close friend of mine reached out to me and said her and her husband, they’ve been married for about a year and a half now, they’re thinking about getting pregnant it in the future, and she wanted to make sure that everything was in line moving forward. And I really congratulated her because everything I’m talking about in this video is exactly why she reached out, it’s about preconception planning and understanding so that when she was ready to get pregnant, she was ready to move forward.
So I laid out the things that I needed her to do, we need to have her partner, or your partner get a semen analysis done. Yeah, that is the basic thing that any man can do to know if they are ready. And in this day and age, like her husband, many men have been taking testosterone for a variety of reasons for a long period of time. That’s a no-no on the fertility journey, we need to make sure that that is not happening, and if it is, we need to get rid of that, we need to give time for that to correct, and we need to support that process to improve the semen analysis to make sure that we’ve got good swimmers, good, healthy quality sperm to get pregnant. So I want to make sur,. And I’m starting there because often that gets ignored, and I want to make sure the male side of things doesn’t get ignored moving forward in the preconception planning as well.
Aside from that, for all of you women, before we get into hormones, I want to talk about making sure that your fallopian tubes are open, so we want to do an HSG test, we want to make sure that you’re ovulating regularly, I talked about it in the first point about tracking your cycles and making sure that you’re ovulating, and we want to make sure that your uterine environment, the endometrium, all looks healthy. So these are things that you can do with your OB GYN, have them evaluate you to make sure that your uterus and the pelvic area, or uterine environment, looks healthy and ready to support a healthy pregnancy.
When we start talking about blood work, then we’ve got to dive a little bit deeper. So we want to make sure that all your hormones are balanced. Some of the foundational labs that need to be tested are going to be your FSH, your LH, your estriol, DHEA, prolactin, and testosterone, those are some of the foundational things. But on top of that, from a functional perspective, when we start to look at your body from a functional medicine perspective, then we want to go deeper, we want to do a full thyroid panel, we want to look at your vitamin D level, we want to look at inflammatory markers. We want to understand what’s going on inside your body and if there’s any issues that need to be corrected, we want to know that now so we can use this preconception time to address those areas.
Just because you’ve had those tests done and just because your OB GYN says everything looks normal, you’re all good to go, doesn’t mean that that’s actually true. And I only say this from experience, there are many women in my coaching program who’ve been told everything looks good, and when I take a peak that’s not really the case. So you want to get a second opinion as well to make sure that what you’ve been told is actually true, and my suggestion is that you get that done by someone who has a different perspective, or takes a different approach to healthcare and fertility.
I’ll come to that in just a moment, but before I do talk about that, I want to let you know, I’ve talked about semen analysis, I’ve talked about blood tests, and I’ve talked about all of these different foundational tests that you should be doing to get started so that you can know what’s going on. Well, if you want more information on how can take care of some of that testing, because either your OB GYN won’t order it, or your insurance doesn’t cover it, then I’m going to leave a link in the description below for those resources. There’s resources where you can do a semen analysis, or your partner could do a semen analysis at home, and some resources on my website for additional home testing kits to make it easier for all of you. Again, all that information is in the description below.
For many of you, especially those of you who are just starting to think about it, maybe you’ve done some reading and you realize that, oh, so many people move forward with either insemination or IVF. Just because IVF, in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination, IUI, are more commonplace today, it doesn’t mean that you all need to do it to get the results that you’re looking for. I’m not saying it doesn’t serve a purpose, I’m not saying there’s not a place for it and a need for it, absolutely there is, but I also want to make sure that you give it your best foot forward and that you try appropriately before you jump to those therapies, those treatments.
And that’s where this preconception planning comes in. There’s very little that most OB GYNs can do for fertility, primarily because they just don’t have the time for it, or the knowledge, so you need to step outside of that. You can utilize them for lab testing and whatever resources they can you to make sure everything looks good or to get the information you need, but in the end, when it comes to making changes and getting the results that you’re looking for, I want you all to take a step back, get a second opinion, and start to think about things from a different perspective. I want you to start to think about things, what can I do now to prepare my body in the future to get pregnant? Or let’s say you’ve been trying for a little bit of time. Well, what different approach can I take now to make sure I get the results that I want moving forward, instead of having to wait longer?
Getting a fertility coach like myself and my team be the difference between trying for three months or trying for three years. We don’t want that, we want to minimize that time, we want to shorten that time so that you can deal with things appropriately, so that you can get a plan that’s specific for your needs based on your body. Almost all of the members of my HOPE Fertility Coaching Program wish they had reached out sooner, wish they had done things different earlier so that they could get the results that they wanted sooner. And they wish that they were working with a fertility coach to get a personalized plan much earlier in their journey.
So if you are 30 and older, whether you’re just starting to try to get pregnant or you’ve been trying for a little bit of time, if you don’t have a personalized plan for all of you, for your specific needs, if you’re not working with a reproductive fertility coach who specializes in functional medicine, I want to encourage you to seek that out. Whether it’s an acupuncturist, a naturopath, joining me in my coaching program, whatever it is, I want to encourage you to move forward in that direction, because I truly believe that’s going to get you the results that you’re looking for faster. If you do want to apply to join my HOPE Fertility Coaching Program and have me and my team as your personalized coaches to hopefully get you the results that you want sooner, then you can use the link in the description below to apply.
Okay, we talked about tracking your cycles and understanding what your cycles are telling you, we talked about supplements and when to start trying, we talked about testing, these are all important variables when it comes to your preconception planning and your fertility planning. So which one of those tips is the thing that you’re going to start to do now? Which one haven’t you even thought about? I want to hear from you, comment below and let me know. All right, if you enjoyed this video give me a thumbs up to let me know, if you’re not already a subscriber to my YouTube channel then you need to be so hit that bell to subscribe and get notified when I put out a new video for all of you. And until the next video, stay fertile.