If you’re planning to get pregnant in the near future or even just in a few years time, it’s helpful to know your current fertility status. Many of most common reasons women have trouble conceiving are reversible, treatable health issues. Spotting the signs early that you might be dealing with infertility issues will help you to conceive when you want to and avoid some of the stress that can come when it isn’t happening how you expected it to. Our bodies give us signals that we might come up against problems when we want to get pregnant. Knowing what these signals and signs are puts you on the path to resolving the problem and boosting your fertility. Start early on the process of treating and resolving an infertility sign and you can then feel more confident that when you want to have a baby, you’ll have a much higher chance of success.
I always advise that women take at least a year to prepare themselves and their bodies for conception and pregnancy. If you have a hormonal imbalance like irregular periods or PCOS that you know could be an obstacle to pregnancy, then this prep time is essential. I have a protocol created for women looking to conceive for this very reason - it’s a holistic protocol that ensures you’re feeding your body what it needs for ovulation and healthy fertility, to sustain a pregnancy, as well as getting you in the right mindset to create a new life.
But if you’re reading this right now and thinking, “I haven’t tried to get pregnant yet, but I’m worried I could be infertile” then believe me, I get you. Women spend years trying to avoid getting pregnant, but we also worry that we won’t be able to get pregnant and have children when that time does come. It can be a real source of anxiety and worry. Knowing the early signs of infertility issues is key to allaying these fears. These signs are not life-sentences, they can be turned around and you can return to healthy fertility and have no fertility issues. It’s just the first step to knowing exactly what you’re dealing with.
The 5 early warning signs of infertility
1. Early warning sign: Brown spotting before your period starts - your period is a fantastic indicator of your fertility status. Its color, consistency, length and the spacing between your periods can help you to understand many underlying health issues. If you have brown spotting in the days before your period really starts, this can indicate low progesterone levels. Low progesterone levels can be a risk factor for infertility and miscarriages. You may be able to get pregnant, but have trouble sustaining a pregnancy.
FLO-fix: B6 supplementation and eating a lot of B6-rich foods is a very well-researched way to increase your progesterone levels.
2. Early warning sign: Irregular cycles - again, your period is a great indicator of your fertility status. If you have irregular cycles, then you may not be ovulating and are probably experiencing cycles when you don’t ovulate at all. This is vital information - to get pregnant you need to ovulate, and you need to have sex during that fertile window of your cycle. If every other cycle is an anovulatory one, this can be a real infertility issue. Just because you have a period, it does not mean you are ovulating.
FLO-fix: Learn how to track your ovulation signs so you can really get to the bottom of if and when you are ovulating. The two most common causes of irregular cycles (without a PCOS diagnosis) are sugar and stress. If you have irregular cycles as part of a PCOS diagnosis, the FLO Living protocol is going to help you manage this issue. I’m a PCOS sufferer myself and Cycle Syncing® my diet allowed me to conceive my daughter at 37 years-old, on my third try.
3. Early warning sign: Chronic yeast infections, Bacterial Vaginosis, undiagnosed Chlamydia - it’s always a good idea, prior to conceiving, to get a full check up on STDs and STIs to make sure you do not have undiagnosed, symptomless chlamydia or anything else. The low-level inflammation caused by Bacterial Vaginosis is linked to the prevention of fertilization of the egg, spontaneous miscarriage, and a higher risk of preterm birth. Chronic yeast infections and urinary tract infections suggest your vaginal and gut microbiome is off-balance, which can trigger more inflammatory response.
FLO-fix: Aside from a full STD check up with your doctor, I recommend natural treatment protocols for yeast infections and urinary tract infections, no antibiotics. You can also reverse Bacterial Vaginosis with supplements and the support of the FLO Living protocol.
4. Early warning sign: Poor gut health - by this I mean Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gut dysbiosis, frequent bloating and discomfort, and leaky gut syndrome. Your gut health is of vital importance to your fertility. If you have any of these issues right now then you will likely have problems conceiving. The health of your estrobolome (which is part of your gut health/microbiome) is key to your hormonal balance. A poorly functioning estrobolome can cause estrogen dominance that will set off the “stress axis” in your body and cause infertility at an early age.
FLO-fix: I recommend cutting some foods completely out of your diet - including “the white stuff” - aka sugar, dairy, and gluten. You need to eat fermented foods daily and take a really good quality probiotic.
5. Early warning sign: Premature aging - are you in your 30s and experiencing premature signs of biological aging like vaginal dryness, sagging skin, brittle nails, hair loss? These can be indicators that you will struggle to get pregnant. When we age too quickly, it's because we are not supporting our body’s production of healthy hormone levels. This can set us up for infertility at an earlier point than we expect. It can also be an indicator that egg quality may be suffering. You can enter perimenopause and have the process speed up in your mid-thirties, leaving you less time in which to choose to conceive. This is especially important when many of us are delaying getting pregnant until our mid to late 30s.
FLO-fix: Get your hormones tested so you can see the data on what you might be dealing with. Start taking my 5 favorite anti-aging supplements. Then feed your body the nutrients it needs to continue making a good supply of hormones well into your late 30s, delaying these symptoms of premature aging.