Getting pregnant can be hard. Getting the finely-tuned Swiss watch that is your body to work the right way is hard enough. When it comes to fertility, you’re trying to make two of those watches work together to create a third. There are many different scenarios in which pregnancy may be difficult to achieve, in which case we are grateful for the assistance from various reproductive technologies.
There are various scenarios in which reproductive technologies could be extremely valuable. From trauma to the ovaries or testicles that make it difficult to extract sperm or egg naturally, to genetic predispositions to disabilities, struggles with secondary infertility, or a pregnancy loss that a couple may want to avoid. Whatever the reason for choosing IVF, IUI or another technology, we understand this wasn’t your first choice as these treatments can be both emotionally taxing and very expensive. On top of that, it still comes with no guarantee and the last thing people want is to be so invested, yet further set themselves up for more disappointment and heartache. The Wellness Way specializes in helping prepare the body for a successful pregnancy ahead of time, in order to increase your chances for success.
The Problem May Not be Strictly Hormonal…
Most of the time, when people hear a couple is having a hard time conceiving—whether for the first time or after they’d previously had a baby–the first thought is that something is wrong hormonally. It makes sense. There’s a lot that goes on hormonally when a couple is trying to get pregnant. That’s not the only system running in full gear, though. A woman can be ovulating every month, and her period can be regular and steady. A man can have a good semen report. This couple could still have problems getting pregnant, because pregnancy goes deeper than just the hormones cycling through the body. The problem could be the woman’s immune system.
Why the Immune System?
As stated above and in the previous fertility series article, pregnancy is complicated because you’re trying to get two finely-tuned bodies to work together in just the right way. Part of this working together is forming something that isn’t the momma, and isn’t the daddy, but that is both combined into a brand-new being: the baby. Because this baby isn’t the momma, the momma’s body will recognize it as “non-self.”
This is simple and easy, but the chances of problems come in when you remember that the main role of a person’s immune system is to differentiate between self and non-self, and destroy non-self material in case it’s dangerous to self. Women have a stronger immune system that can be triggered easier than a man’s is. This is one of the reasons women are so much more likely to have autoimmune disorders than men. If a woman’s immune system is triggered too easily, then, the immune system will come and destroy the non-self baby.
A Weak Immune System Will Come to the Same Result
When a body is under a large burden of stress–through starvation, mental stress or physical over-exertion, for example–her fertility cycle will halt. If a woman’s immune system is too weak, she is under much greater stress from the heightened attacks by pathogens and viruses. This resultant stress, then, will cause her fertility cycle to halt if it goes on for long enough.
A hopeful mother needs a balanced immune system.
Why is a Balanced Immune System Important?
If a woman’s immune system is triggered too easily, it will attack every combination of egg and sperm within the mother–whether that’s due to fertility treatments, or the couple got pregnant on their own. This is the most common reason for secondary infertility; the momma’s immune system isn’t in the right place to support a pregnancy.
There aren’t any symptoms you can pinpoint to show the immune system is attacking the eggs and sperm. There won’t be any cramps or nausea or anything like that.
The Hormones Might be a Sign of the Problem
If a woman’s period is irregular, or the man’s sperm count is low, the body won’t be able to support a pregnancy, and the body won’t take on a pregnancy it can’t support. This may be what led the couple to infertility treatments in the first place.
The body is designed for life and knows what it’s doing. It takes care of what’s wrong to sustain life, as best as it can, and that’s what often shows up as symptoms. If a woman’s cycle is irregular or a man’s semen report isn’t optimal, that’s a symptom of dysfunction. Whatever that dysfunction is that’s the source of these symptoms needs to be addressed to better increase the chances of sustaining pregnancy.
While it’s easy to point the finger at hormones, hormones are only the messengers, telling the body what it needs to do, and with what level of intensity. The real problem is whatever it is knocking the body out of homeostasis. That dysfunction that causes the body to need so many or so few of the hormones beyond the delicate balance for optimal and proper function. Fixing the actual issue will help the body accept and support the pregnancy better than it otherwise would.
This problem may lead right back to the immune system, as hormones don’t just do things on their own–they trigger processes and are triggered by processes. Everything in the body works in tandem, like a finely-tuned Swiss watch. There have been couples intent on fertility treatments that, once they fixed that uncalibrated gear that was negatively impacting the rest of the watch, found themselves getting pregnant without the treatments.
Take Care of Baby’s First Home
A woman’s body won’t get pregnant if it can’t support and bring the pregnancy to term. Inflammation is the root of all bodily evil–aches, pains, processes not working the right way, autoimmune issues. Keeping inflammation down is key to the body handling a pregnancy well, too. Fertility treatments help start the process, but the woman’s body is what needs to and will sustain it.
Stress comes in three forms–physical, mental, and chemical. Inflammation, just like working out too much, puts physical stress on the body. Worry and taking on too much work with impending deadlines and lots of hoops to jump through cause mental stress. If there’s a chemical imbalance in your body–whether it be an imbalance of hormones or allergic reactions–that causes chemical stress. When you have an overabundance of stress, your cortisol levels go up.
If you need more cortisol to get through the day, the body starts taking it from progesterone. Progesterone is the hormone that sustains a pregnancy. This is why doctors will give women who are going through IVF and IUI treatments a lot of progesterone. Because women going through IVF or IUI treatments didn’t ovulate on their own, they need this progesterone to have any at all to sustain the pregnancy.
How to Keep Inflammation and Physical Stressors Down
Pregnancy and growing a family are hard work emotionally and financially–however the pregnancy is started. Starting a good, clean-living habit with Momma and Daddy before Baby comes is a good way to save health and money in the long run. Clear out the toxins you both come into contact with–remember, the baby is just as much Daddy as Momma. This will help the pregnancy continue and the baby grow well.
Get your allergies tested and then stop eating them so your immune system isn’t constantly being triggered to take out non-self material. Check your cleaning supplies, makeup, hair products, lotions, nail polish, air, and water for any toxins you may not be aware of. Cut sugar, dairy, naturally inflammatory foods, GMOs, and dyes from your diet. Stay away from foods on the dirty dozen list. Keep your body healthy and functioning properly to allow a greater chance of the two Swiss watches working well together.
To get your immune systems, hormones, and allergies tested to see if there’s anything under the surface that needs to be addressed, contact a Wellness Way clinic today!