Want to get pregnant? Support the phase AFTER ovulation.
What’s the #1 thing that everyone thinks about when they think about trying to get pregnant? Ovulation.
Am I ovulating?
How do I know when I’m ovulating?
Are we having sex close enough to ovulation?
Is ovulation healthy enough?
Yes, these are all good questions to ask when trying to conceive, BUT if you’re only focusing on supporting ovulation, finding ovulation, or noticing cervical fluid… you’re missing a crucial piece of the pregnancy achievement process.
And, that’s implantation.
Implantation is when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining. Without implantation, pregnancy will not occur. Yes, even if sperm and egg meet in every single cycle.
You cannot get pregnant if that little fertilized egg doesn’t not attach to the lining of the uterus.
That means that implantation is crucial to pregnancy achievement… and it takes place AFTER you’ve already ovulated.
In case you need a quick reminder…
Ovulation is when the egg is released from the ovary. It is a momentary event. The egg, once ovulated, is viable for fertilization for 12 to 24 hours. Fertilization occurs in the uterine tubes. That means sperm should already be there waiting for ovulation because it can take a while to get all the way from the vagina up into the tube. We quite often get pregnant from sex on the days BEFORE ovulation, not from sex on that very day, and almost never afterwards.
Fertilization is when the sperm and egg join together.
That brings us to implantation.
Implantation takes place during the phase of the menstrual cycle that comes after ovulation. This phase is called the luteal phase. And, almost no one is thinking about it when trying to conceive which is a huge disservice.
If the luteal phase is not at least 10 days long, implantation cannot occur. Why? Because it takes roughly 10 days from ovulation for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterine lining. If our period begins less than 10 days after ovulation that means that the uterine lining has released (creating your period) BEFORE the fertilized egg has had enough time to attach to it. In the fertility awareness world this issue is known as luteal phase defect, and it absolutely negatively impacts conception.
Ps. If the fertilized egg does attach to the uterine lining and pregnancy occurs, we don’t get our periods because the uterine lining knows not to release itself. So smart!
So what causes luteal phase defect?
Excess estrogen and/or low progesterone in the luteal phase.
Progesterone is what helps hold the uterine lining in place. When estrogen overpowers progesterone for whatever reason - low progesterone production, overproduction of estrogen, inability to properly flush out estrogen from earlier in the cycle, etc - it can cause the uterine lining to release early creating a short luteal phase.
This specific hormonal imbalance is also one of the main culprits of heavy periods, long periods, short cycles, raging pms, pms anxiety, craving sweets before your bleed, bloating, and more.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms in your menstrual cycle and period experience, it’s time to start supporting the luteal phase well BEFORE you want to start trying to conceive.
And, really it’s time to start supporting the luteal phase if you want to have a period experience that is easier and more enjoyable.
So how do we support the luteal phase?
> Eat a nutrient-dense diet
That means eat primarily (like 90% y’all) whole, fresh foods in their natural form. Veggies, fruits, whole grains, full fat sheep & goat dairy, organic eggs, grass-fed beef, organic meats & poultry.
We should be eating our vitamins, not taking them in pill or powdered forms. Supplements are SUPPLEMENTS for a reason. They serve to supplement and fill the gaps in our diets. If you eat a highly nutrient dense diet, you will have less gaps that need to be filled.
Your menstrual cycle - ovulation, the luteal phase, your period, all of it - requires a lot of nutrients to happen healthfully. Nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D, B-vitamins, magnesium, zinc, fats, slow carbs, protein, iodine, and more. And, you know what depletes many of these nutrients? The birth control pill. So if you have a history of birth control pill use, it’s extra important to be eating a nutrient-dense diet.
> Greatly Reduce Inflammatory Foods
Yeah you know the ones - ice cream, brownies, cookies, chips, packaged foods, frozen meals, pretty much anything that comes in a box or is not in its natural form. Some of the biggest inflammatory culprits include refined sugar, caffeine, A1 cow’s dairy (which is most dairy in the US), processed foods, and alcohol.
These are all foods that create inflammation in the body.
You know this. I know this. We just try really hard to not know this because these foods are yummy. Girl, I get it.
Inflammation can impact gut health, elimination, immune health, liver detox, and more. All of these systems are vital to healthy menstrual cycles and fertility.
Your gut and liver are responsible for breaking down estrogen that your body no longer needs so that it’s not lingering around during the luteal phase wreaking havoc on your period and fertility.
Our elimination system (aka pooping, peeing, & sweating) is responsible for flushing out the estrogen that was broken down by the gut and liver. You need to poop out the estrogen that your body no longer needs. If you don’t, it gets reabsorbed and creates estrogen excess. If you’re not pooping every day, you’re not properly flushing out estrogen. This impacts your periods and your fertility.
The immune system is a sister system with our reproductive system. It’s why when you get really sick sometimes ovulation gets delayed and pushed to later in the cycle. Your immune system tells your reproductive system that you’re super sick and in no condition to get pregnant and support another life at that time so it needs to wait and ovulate later when we’re feeling better. If our immune system is overburdened with inflammation it may indeed impact ovulation, our periods, and our fertility too.
> Chill out on all the cardio workouts
I bet you didn’t expect me to tell you to work out less, but for some people it’s true. The luteal phase of our cycle is a grounded and lower energy phase of the cycle and it’s important that we honor that. When we push ourselves too hard and try to keep up the go-go-go pace during this important phase of the cycle we can negatively affect our periods and our fertility.
The luteal phase of the cycle calls for a break from all the high-energy cardio activities. It calls for trading out some of those jogs for yoga, that spin class for a hike or long walk, and that HIIT class for some low impact strength training.
If you want to speed up your fertility journey, you may in fact need to slow down your workouts during this part of your cycle.
> Meditate, however that looks for you.
Stress wreaks havoc on our progesterone production. The more stress we’re under, the more difficult it can be to reap the benefits of progesterone. It’s those stressful months when we tend to notice more difficult periods because… progesterone was compromised in that cycle. And, we know that healthy progesterone is crucial when trying to conceive because it supports implantation by preventing luteal phase defect.
To keep stress well-managed I recommend meditation. And, meditation can look like whatever you need it to look like. As a yoga teacher with 10 years of teaching experience and 15 years of practice under my belt I can tell you with confidence that meditation is simply a state during which we experience space between our thoughts. With time, hopefully a lot of space. Within that space, we experience peacefulness. Therefore, meditation is whatever allows you to create space between your thoughts and experience peacefulness. It might be gardening, walking in the woods, painting, singing, or sitting quietly in front of your altar. It’s all good. It’s all meditation.
In addition to these 4 action steps that you can take to support the luteal phase and implantation, there are DOZENS of other steps we can take to support this crucial phase of the cycle when trying to conceive or improve our periods.
In fact, this is the #1 thing I am helping my clients with when I’m not teaching them how to track their cycles.
This is a very common issue and, with the right support, one that can be fixed easily and naturally.
If you’re trying to conceive or thinking of trying soon and want to make sure that luteal phase defect is *not* going to hold you back, let’s chat! I have a few *free* consult call spots available each week. You can scoop one of those up here. (Limited space. First come, first serve!)
And, if you’re like “Brandy, I’m not trying to conceive but my period kinda sucks and I think it’s this whole luteal phase/excess estrogen/low progesterone thing.” Then, I want to meet you too! Use the link above and scoop up one of those free consult calls too!
Disclaimer: Brandy Oswald, Sauvage Wellness LLC, and her employees are not doctors, nurses, physicians, psychotherapists, or in anyway licensed medical practitioners and information presented here is to serve as an educational resource and not to be interpreted as: (1) medical advice; (2) a 100% effective birth control or pregnancy achievement options or (3) nutrition or health guidelines. By reading this you acknowledge that you understand that as a specialized form of consulting, fertility awareness education is not the same as professional or licensed therapy or medical advice and intervention; and recognize that it is your responsibility to seek such services from a licensed professional. Brandy Oswald is not a medical provider and cannot give medical advice. All information provided by Sauvage Wellness LLC and Brandy Oswald is of a general nature and is intended only for educational purposes to help with your personal health improvement goals and should not be relied on as medical advice. Always consult a physician with any health concerns and prior to changing your diet, lifestyle, supplements, birth control, fitness, or prescription medicine routine. Should you choose to use the information provided by Brandy Oswald it is of your own volition and you recognize that neither Brandy nor Sauvage Wellness LLC is not held liable for any intended or unintended outcomes.
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