So, you've started trying to conceive but nothing's happening...?
We hear you!
When having regular unprotected intercourse:
80% of women <35 years will conceive within 12 months
and 90% within two years
If you’re using a fertility app to tell you when to time intercourse for conception, you’re probably using flawed information - the days your app gives are a guide only, and are not an exact way to predict ovulation.
Fertility apps use a 'textbook' ovulation/menstrual cycle to determine your fertile times. When you input your menstrual cycle length, and after a few cycles when the app sees your 'average' cycle length, it simply counts back 14 days. This is because, in a 'textbook' 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs on day 14 with a post-ovulation phase of 14 days.
The problem is most of us aren't textbook, ovulation isn’t uniform, and none of us conform to a one-size-fits-all algorithm.
For example, you might have a 28-day cycle, but ovulate on Day 18. Or a 35-day cycle and ovulate on day 19. In these cases an app won't give you accurate timing information, and we see this a lot in clinic.
The best way to confirm ovulation is with your basal temperature or using an ovulation test kit.
Your fertility app could be misdirecting you…
Also, remember to have intercourse in the lead-up to ovulation, so sperm are up there ready & waiting when your egg is released. Digital ovulation test kits will let you know when you’re approaching ovulation, and your body will too! - pay attention to your cervical mucus and its change to fertile ‘egg-white’ mucus in the lead-up to ovulation.
If you’re under 35 and have been trying to conceive for 12 months,
or if you’re 35 and over, and have been trying for 6 months,
As we mentioned above, most women will conceive within those timeframes, so if you haven't it's well worth taking a closer look into why.
ask about your menstrual cycle history
organise some blood tests (eg. a full blood count & iron studies, to look out for anaemia / check in on your Vitamin D levels / look at thyroid function, blood sugar)
check your AMH (for ovarian reserve) and/or your baseline hormones (FSH, LH, oestrogen on Day 2/3 and progesterone 7-days post-ovulation)
do an infection & STI check for things like Hep B/C, HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, CMV, toxoplasmosis
review any medications you're on
review any underlying health conditions you might have, such as asthma, hypo/hyperthyroidism, depression, diabetes
discuss any genetic disorders in your family such as cystic fibrosis, or any birth defects
discuss any previous pregnancies, miscarriages, terminations
organise a pelvic ultrasound (to investigate ovarian cysts, fibroids, tubal patency)
maybe refer you for cycle tracking
maybe refer you to a fertility specialist
A good GP will also recommend a male partner have further testing too, including a full semen analysis.
Preconception is the really valuable time before you conceive. Addressing any underlying health issues during this time, making dietary & lifestyle changes, and taking nutritional and herbal medicine where appropriate (at the very least a prenatal supplement), can positively influence both egg & sperm quality, and fertility outcomes (including IVF outcomes).
Ideally you’d focus on preconception care for at least three months - this is the time it takes to make a new sperm cell, and for egg cell maturation prior to ovulation.
eating a whole food diet
stopping alcohol and smoking or vaping
having a regular exercise and sleep routine
All these things can all positively impact your fertility.
Trying to conceive isn't always easy - we know this because we've been helping women and couples conceive for over 15 years. Put these three tips into action and reach out if you'd like some in-depth and personalised guidance to optimise your fertility.
The New Leaf Naturopaths, Herbalists and nutritionists are experts in supporting your fertility journey. We're here to help guide you with detailed investigation interpretation, personalised supplement prescriptions and an abundance of suggestions, including food & lifestyle advice. Book online for your virtual appointment today.
New Leaf Naturopathic Health has always provided dedicated fertility support. Now, with Jacintha Gunasekera joining Hannah Boyd to provide comprehensive and compassionate fertility care, we have a combined 30 years of experience in this special field.
We have helped so many people become parents. Our naturopathic expertise have prepared them with personalised preconception care, and encouraged them through their pregnancies. We've supported individuals and couples through complicated Assisted fertility journeys. It really is work we love to do, and now New Leaf can offer even more support with two dedicated fertility practitioners.
We wanted to let you know a little about how we structure our fertility appointments at New Leaf. All our appointments are carried out via Telehealth, and with the utmost care and support.
We structure a long initial fertility appointment because we avoid one-size-fits-all ‘protocols’, and want to do more than simply skim the surface of your case. These appointments can be made for individuals, or for couples if your fertility journey involves a partner. Fertility is not just about egg quality, we assess many areas, especially male factors.
During your first appointment, we comprehensively review your reproductive health and explore the relationship between your reproductive and overall health. We’ll take a thorough look at any investigations you’ve already had done, and determine if you’d benefit from further investigations such as blood tests, ultrasound, semen analysis, and vaginal microbiome profile - we can work collaboratively with your GP to arrange these. We’ll also explore the ways your environment and diet can influence your fertility.
Your individualised treatment plan may involve dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as herbal and nutritional medicine. All treatments are safely prescribed alongside any current medication, including IVF medications.
Follow-up fertility appointments are held every 4 - 6 weeks, or appropriately timed around your IVF egg collection / embryo transfer. These appointments provide the opportunity for us to discuss your progress and any results, and to review and reassess your treatment plan.
We take this very thorough approach to fertility appointments at New Leaf because your fertility doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We know that egg, sperm and uterine health are affected by your broader overall health and environment and that we can make changes to optimise fertility outcomes.
Adding a naturopathic lens to your fertility care is suitable for anyone trying to conceive - whether you are in a preconception phase, or if your needs are more complex, such as those with PCOS, endometriosis, those needing IVF treatment, doing egg/sperm donor cycles, those with diminished ovarian reserve, with recurrent implantation failure, or experiencing miscarriage or baby loss. Where partnered, ideally both partners are evaluated and treated.
We look forward to working together towards your fertility goals.