Fertility, Nutrition & Mental Health
Updated: Jul 6
Could your depression or anxiety be giving you clues about the underlying conditions that are making it harder for you to conceive naturally?
The answer is YES.
Dr. Emily and I chat about the nutrients that matter in both mental and reproductive health, and how you can use both your diet and mindset to maximize your chances of happily growing your family.
Some of what we covered in this video:
1. You may think that you're depressed because you're going through treatment for suboptimal fertility. But what if you're depressed BECAUSE of low vitamin D, thyroid, B vitamin or amino acid status and THAT is impacting your fertility? This is way more common that you think! There are a number of studies that suggest that correcting these nutrient deficiencies can improve chances of conception by 10-65%!
2. What if the anxiety you're feeling about getting pregnant is actually due to low inositol, low zinc, or low magnesium? All of these nutrient deficiencies impact fertility, particularly men with sperm fragmentation issues or women with PCOS / insulin resistance as part of their picture. Have your doctor screen you for these common conditions to give yourself the chance to heal both anxiety and subfertility.
3. The Mediterranean Diet can improve fertility by 40-60%! If you're wondering how to make this diet work for you, contact Dr. Emily or I and we'll explain more.
4. Mindset is a huge part of managing stress when you're trying to grow a family. This is due in part to uncertainty and timelines that are too short to be realistic. So here are Dr. Emily and my suggestions:
a. Give yourself 9 months at least to improve fertility. It can take 26 weeks to mature a primordial follicle in the ovaries into an egg. It takes 100+ days for spermatogenesis. All this means that by the time you're nutrient sufficient, it takes your body at least 100 days to create healthier sperm or ovaries as a result. Give yourself TIME to heal and get this right. Use this time to read parenting books, watch your friend's kids, improve your health and diet, etc. This will all make you a better parent when the time comes. Additionally, it makes you a better partner and better version of yourself because you feel better. It's a win-win.
b. Uncertainty is a big part of the stress of fertility treatment. So please hear Dr. Emily and I loud and clear: YOU WILL GROW YOUR FAMILY IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT. It may or may not be through natural conception, but the great news is that that is not the only way to grow your family. Chats about caregiving, fostering, adoption, volunteering and mentoring should be more accepted parts of every day culture. Dr. Emily and I are part of normalizing these conversations in medicine with *all* adults regardless of fertility status. I suggest you start following great influencers like Foster the Family (www.fosterthefamily.org) and organizations like AdoptUSKids (https://www.adoptuskids.org/) and the Northwest Adoption Exchange (https://www.nwae.org/) if you want to learn more.
If you want to chat with us or learn more about each of our practices, you can find us here:
Dr. Kate Henry
Dr. Emily Hartsfield
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