Stress and Your Fertility

photo courtesy of drshawnadarou.com

photo courtesy of drshawnadarou.com

As a society, Americans are used to spreading themselves too thin.  In June 2012, The New York Daily News reported on a study showing that stress levels in America had risen 30% over the previous 30 years!  Stress has unfortunately become ingrained into our daily lives.  However, if you are trying to become pregnant, it is definitely time to step back and examine your stress levels.

Stress can prevent you from conceiving in a variety of ways: Continue reading

How Lifestyle Choices can Impact Male Fertility

photo courtesy of theatlantic.com

photo courtesy of theatlantic.com

If you to ask a random individual, chances are they would know at least a few of the things women should avoid when they are trying to conceive, such as alcohol and caffeine.  However, it is not as commonly known that certain everyday choices can have an impact on male fertility.  Men, read on to learn more about items which can impact male virility. Continue reading

Healthy Eating Tips for the New Year

photo courtesy of teluguone.com

photo courtesy of teluguone.com

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to develop more healthy habits, such as joining a gym or eating more nutritious meals.  If you desire to eat healthier in the coming year, the United States Department of Agriculture has given you a great head start with their Healthy Eating Tips website.  Below are some of their suggestions to start a healthier diet. Continue reading

Have a Low-Stress Holiday Season

photo courtesy of playbuzz.com

photo courtesy of playbuzz.com

The holiday season is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends.  However, as your calendar starts to fill up with work events, parties, and time dedicated to shopping for gifts, you may find yourself feeling anything but jolly as you are being pulled in several different directions.  Below are some tips for helping you keep your stress level down during the flurry of activity that is the holiday season. Continue reading

Pros and Cons of Natural Family Planning (Part 3- Final)

photo courtesy of acoupleofcatholics.com

photo courtesy of acoupleofcatholics.com

“Natural family planning” is any method of fertility management that uses natural methods to determine the time of the month when a woman is most fertile.  These methods help a woman to learn and recognize the changes to her body around her fertile time, and make decisions about having sex in accordance with if she is trying to postpone or achieve pregnancy.  As with any birth control method, there are things about it that you may feel are advantages or disadvantages to you personally.  Below are some things about natural family planning methods to keep in mind. Continue reading

Myths about Natural Family Planning (Part 2)

myths about natural family planning“Natural Family Planning” is an umbrella term which encompasses natural forms of fertility management based on scientific research about women’s fertility cycles.  This includes the Basal Body Temperature, Ovulation, and Sympto-Thermal Methods, as well as the more technologically advanced Lady-Comp personal fertility computer.  Unfortunately, there are many pervasive myths about natural family planning that prevent some couples from trying it.  We will dispel some of those myths below. Continue reading

How Men Can Support Their Partner with Natural Family Planning (Part 1)

natural family planning

photo courtesy of la-archdiocese.org

“Natural family planning” is a form of fertility management where a woman uses the signs her body naturally gives her to determine the point in her menstrual cycle when she is most fertile.  For many women, this system is preferable to the uncomfortable and unhealthy side effects that can accompany the use of hormonal birth control methods.  If you are a man with a partner who has chosen a natural family planning method of birth control, it is important for you to know that you have a part to play in supporting her with her choice.  Below are some ways in which you can work with your partner to achieve your fertility goals. Continue reading

The Pill Can Kill Your Sex Drive

birth control pills and your sex driveApproximately thirty percent of all women in the United States suffer from a diminished sex drive, and many studies link this to the use of hormonal birth control.  A woman’s libido is largely driven by the testosterone produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands.  When testosterone is released into the bloodstream, it either remains free or binds with a protein known as serum hormone binding globulin (SHBG).  The testosterone that binds with SHBG becomes inactive, and therefore does nothing to increase libido.  When you consider the fact that hormonal birth control raises the level of SHBG in your blood, the link becomes clear. Continue reading

User Effectiveness Rates

the patch birth controlIn a recent post, we discussed the difference between the effectiveness of a birth control method versus the effectiveness of its use.  Method effectiveness is defined as the effectiveness with perfect use.  In other words, the number of unexpected pregnancies which occurred when the method was correctly and consistently used over a period of time.  On the other hand, user effectiveness, or typical use, is defined by the actual practices of the couples using the method, both correctly and incorrectly, over that same period of time, which is usually one year.

As a review, the chart below describes some common birth control methods, along with their method and user effectiveness rates, based on 2,000 users and one year of use.  For comparison, having unprotected sex with absolutely no method of birth control used results in pregnancy 85% of the time.

Birth Control Method Typical Use Failure Rate Perfect Use Failure Rate
Today contraceptive sponge 32% 20%
Diaphragm with spermicide 16% 6%
Male latex condom 15% 2%
Combined oral contraceptive pill 9% 0.3%
NuvaRing birth control ring 9% 0.3%
Birth Control Patch 8% 0.3%
Depo Provera birth control shot 3% 0.3%
Intrauterine device with copper 0.8% 0.6%

 

As you can see, the typical use failure rates for some of these methods are staggering, and much higher than the more commonly known perfect use failure rates.  The Center for Disease Control is dedicated to public awareness regarding birth control methods, and goes into great detail regarding typical use failure rates on their website.  However, many birth control users remain unaware of just how significant the difference in protection can be if you do not follow the method’s instructions to the letter.

With so much on the line, do you think that condoms and birth control medications should have the consequences of imperfect use right on the packaging in giant bold print?  Do you think more should be done to educate the public on the proper use of birth control?  We want to hear your opinion!  Please share it with us in the comments below.

Herbs to Enhance Fertility

herbs in increase fertilityHerbs can be used to support your body’s natural fertility in a variety of ways.  If you visit http://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-herbs, you will find an extremely detailed and lengthy list of fertility issues and herbs that can be used to treat them.  Below is a primer which will allow you see the wide variety of possibilities when it comes to this type of treatment.**

Fertility Issue

One Herb Used to Treat It

What the Herb Does

Estrogen imbalance Flax seed The lignans and fiber in flax seed help remove excess estrogen from the body.
Immune system imbalance Ashwagandha root This root supports the endocrine system and overall immune response.
Low libido (women) Damiana dried leaves and stems This increases circulation to the female reproductive system and also increases sexual pleasure.
Low libido (men) Muira Puama bark and root This supports fertility and a healthy erection in men.
Ovarian cysts Tribulus aerial parts and fruit This has worked to normalize ovulation in infertile women with consistent use.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Vitex dried berries This herb works to balance the hormonal feedback loop in women with PCOS, promoting ovulation and regular menstrual cycles.
Poor egg health Castor oil When applied as a pack to the abdomen, castor oil stimulates the lymphatic system, and can increase circulation and promote the healing of tissues and organs beneath the skin.
Progesterone imbalance Maca root This root works to balance the body’s estrogen and progesterone in both men and women.
Sperm count Goji berry dried fruit This berry, which is high in antioxidants, helps protect sperm from overheating, increases hormone levels, and increases sperm quality and quantity.
Uterine fibroids Dong Quai root This root increases circulation of fresh, healthy blood, which aids in removing excess tissue growth, healing tissue damage, and limiting the formation of scar tissue and adhesions.

 

**Please keep in mind that while we want you to be healthier and happier, our blogs and suggestions shouldn’t supersede that of your doctor’s advice.  Please consult your physician prior to adding any herbs to your daily diet.