Many women come off of hormonal birth control are looking to get pregnant, and therefore recovering their fertility quickly is extremely important to them. However, for couples who are switching to more natural methods of birth control or for women that simply wish to stop putting chemicals into their body, recovering fertility is equally important. It may not seem like it would be. After all, if you don’t want to get pregnant, why would you want your fertility to return (isn’t that why you were on the pill in the first place)? In fact, a woman’s fertility is intimately linked to the rest of her health. When a woman’s fertility is compromised, it usually is due do something in her life or body that would be inhospitable to growing a child. If your body does not think it is healthy enough to support another life, then what does that say about how it is supporting your life?
Steps to Recovering Fertility
First and foremost, fertility is about health. A woman’s body should be in tip top condition to be prepared to nourish and support a child. If you are avoiding, you want your fertility to return as a sign of good health. If you are trying to conceive, you want to be healthy to bring back your fertility. A little something for everyone!
A detox is a great way to get your path to fertility started. It cleanses your body and gets the artificial hormones, chemicals, and any other junk out of your system. There are many ways you can take this. Something like the early phases of my elimination diet, a Whole30, GAPS intro, or other such healing diets are a great way to help flush out the junk, reduce any junk you put into your body, and help your body heal. I recommend also eliminating as many chemicals as possible from your life by using natural hygiene and cleaning products.
While I use the word “detox” in the previous section, the focus should be on healing, and cleaning just happens to be a part of this. Strict fad detoxes are no good – nourish your body! Eat clean and live a healthy life. Getting healthy doesn’t only apply to food, though. This is the time to address any health problems you may have, especially if they are related to your reasons for going on the pill. If your reproductive system was wonky before going on hormonal birth control, it won’t be better coming off. The pill acts as a band-aid for those issues. It just covers them up, but they are still there and can make getting pregnant difficult if not addressed and treated.
Overall, care for your body and do your best to optimize your health. Start with the detox and healing with food, try to find natural cures and solutions for other problems. As your health improves naturally, your fertility will follow. And remember: health includes mental as well and physical. Don’t let your mental well-being suffer on your return to fertility. If you stress about it, it may take even longer to return.
Exercise is an important part of getting healthy. Along with eating well, exercise will help get you to a healthy weight for a healthy fertility, whether that ends up being an increase or decrease in weight. It will make your body healthy as a whole – your muscles, bones, heart, etc. Exercise can also increase blood flow to reproductive organs, keeping them well-fed and in peak condition.
Light cardio, such as walking and swimming, yoga, tai chi, and chi gong are various exercises suggested in Real Fit at Every Age for optimum health of body, mind, and fertility. I haven’t been doing this this summer, and I plan to start up again soon. I think resuming yoga and daily sun salutations will help immensely with both my physical and mental well-being, while my runs will improve my body composition.
When cleaning up your body and getting healthy is not enough, there are herbs available that can help increase fertility. I could write a whole post on the various herbs, their properties, how they help, and how one should take them. There are herbs to stimulate ovulation, strengthen the uterus, balance hormones, and other fertility-supporting functions. For more information, Natural Fertility Info and Mama and Baby Love have good posts and resources. Be aware that some of these herbs, while they help promote fertility, should not be used when pregnant. I have been taking two capsules of Fem Rebalance every day for three weeks now, and I have noticed my cervical mucus to be more active (Want to make that kind of observation yourself? See my post on Natural Family Planning). I am also about to start drinking a tea daily that promotes fertility. No ovulation or period yet, though, which leads us to the next thing you can do:
Even after all of the above, sometimes, your body just needs time. Be patient. Supposedly, it is “normal” for it to take up to a year for normal cycles to return after going off the pill. Of course, this isn’t normal. But tricking the body into think it’s pregnant for years is not normal either. It can be frustrating, whether you are looking to get pregnant or not. But try to be patient. If after a year (or earlier, if you wish) your cycles still haven’t returned or if you are concerned that the lack of ovulation is due to an underlying health concern, see a doctor. A NaPro doctor or one that specializes in natural remedies and women’s health is ideal.
Any stories out there from women who have come off hormonal birth control? How did you deal with coming off the pill? How long did it take for your cycles to return? Did you do anything to help them get back on track? One can talk all day about things to do, but, for me at least, hearing real stories can be the most helpful.