Why it’s So Hard to Get and Stay Pregnant? – The Rise and Fall of Fertility Rates
Since the dawn of time, women have been giving birth.
What’s more; we’ve been told we’re created to do this. And it’s supposed to just *happen* so easily.
After centuries of pressure on women to produce children to prove their worth, it’s no surprise that the rise of infertility in recent years is driving many women who aren’t growing their families to feel like they don’t stack up.
These are some of the most harmful lies my clients have confessed being faced with:
“I am inadequate.” “My body is broken.” “It’s my fault.”
Ugh. Knife to my heart, every time.
What do you tell a couple who has tried method after method to achieve a healthy pregnancy without success What do you tell a woman who has changed her diet and added medicines to try again…only to fail once more?
Well, I tell them, “you are not alone.” (Did you hear that? Read it again.)
You are not alone in feeling unworthy. And you are certainly not the only person demanding to know why infertility has become so prevalent.
In fact, this is so much sadder because you may not yet realize that while you feel like a failure, many generations of wisdom have been stolen from you; and decades of medicine have failed you.
That feeling of loss you’re experiencing is real. We’ve all lost more than we know.
That’s why I am on a mission to arm you with this forgotten knowledge. So then you can know that…you are enough.
And once you know that, we can really get to work on coming up with your personalized master plan.
The Good Old Days
Back in the 1950’s, women were pumping out babies like there was no tomorrow at an average rate of 5 children per family. Year after year, the family photos just kept getting more crowded. Compared to that era, women today are only adding 2.3 children to their families.
Somewhere along the way, things started to change. The common thoughts on this are that society’s expectations of women have also changed, taking her focus from home and family to the pursuit of her professional development and success.
Certainly, the fact that many women today are choosing not to take off a decade of building her career to raise small children is notable, but it’s a false correlation to accept a slower rate of population replacement as confirmation that women are having all the babies they want to have.
That’s simply not the case.
For many women, it’s just not as easy as it once was to maintain a healthy pregnancy from conception to full-term.
The Headlines Have Changed regarding fertility rates
Previous studies showed inconsistencies in fertility rates of different demographics, but the most recent statistics are showing different results.
No longer is it primarily a case of minorities or low income families being uninsured and not having access to good fertility care.
There’s a new narrative in play: infertility does not discriminate.
This news is actually quite shocking because in studies throughout the last 30 years, the research showed that the main factors for infertility were:
Maternal Age – Women over the age of 35 had a significantly lower probability of fertility.
Economic Status – Access to fertility treatments was limited for lower income families.
Race – The disparity of the fertility rates of minorities was as much as 2 times higher than their White counterparts.
But the trends are changing. As fertility for older women has been increasing, the fertility rates for younger women is on the decline. As the socioeconomic status of families has improved, the desire to pursue fertility treatments has decreased. And in 2020 the lowest fertility rates in the United States were seen by White families, while Black families were leading with the highest fertility rates.
Why? Who is at risk?
I know you want clear and simple answers that can explain what has changed and how you can get control back.
Why is it so hard to get and stay pregnant?
I truly wish it was a simple answer, but the truth is there are so many reasons!
Our culture values convenience and speed and rewards people for neglecting their basic needs like rest and health. And we’re not exactly known for our self control in this country.
But did you know that your dietary choices may be contributing to your fertility complications? “You are what you eat” is not just an annoying cliché. It’s the unfortunate truth too. Junk foods have a direct impact on the depletion of egg quality.
Additionally, endocrine disruption from a lack of blood sugar control often results in diabetes and PCOS and is one contributor that has a significant impact on the fertility of both men and women as well as the outcome of a pregnancy.
Part of the reason those foods are so awful is because they are loaded with fillers and exposed to chemicals like heavy metals, pesticides and so many more toxic ingredients that completely negate any nutritional value the food might have had.
But foods aren’t the only vehicles in our lives that could be delivering toxins to your body. With every breath, you are breathing in air pollutants and even your drinking water is chlorinated. And what about vaccinations? Honestly, it’s hard to not make a correlation between the huge increase in recommended vaccinations on the childhood schedule today compared to when I was a kid. It has TRIPLED since the 1980’s.
And then there is the widespread use of birth control for period relief and contraception. These pharmaceuticals shut down your production of hormones and create nutrient depletions.
Remember those endocrine disruptors I mentioned in your food? Yep, your personal care products are loaded with them too. And they do not hold back as they wreak havoc on your hormone balance.
I do know just how ridiculous it is to tell a couple struggling with infertility how stress directly impacts that outcome.
But everyday stressors along with the worry and anxiety caused by your fertility journey can cause a number of essential functions in the body to shut down.
Prolonged elevation of your cortisol level signals a pause in processes like digestion, immunity, and reproduction.
It’s a vicious cycle of Catch-22 where the stress causes the conception disruption which causes more stress which leads to more difficulty getting pregnant.
But the good news is:
You can break that cycle.
What can I do to be proactive?
“Mandy, ALL of these factors are present in my life! What can I do??”
The last thing I want is for these stats to overwhelm or discourage you.
Remember: we are arming you with information, so you can make the best choices.
Here are some practical steps to ensure your body is in tiptop shape for optimal fertility:
- Optimize your egg quality with healthy and nutritious foods.
- Learn how to balance your hormones naturally.
- Begin removing toxins in your everyday life and replacing harmful products.
- Reduce your stress level. (Easier said than done? Learn how to find joy during hard times here.)
- Get more rest. Quality sleep is so important for your overall health. And let’s face It, sometimes things just look a lot more hopeful after a good nap.
Is it too late?
Dear friend, if you are currently worried that you’ve done everything wrong and you’ve missed your shot, I’ve got to remind you this: It’s not too late to look at the raw data, discover your options, and to make a plan.
But you can’t address what you don’t know.
In my practice as a Functional Naturopath, I dig deep to find out what is at the root of your fertility issues. You don’t need your symptoms alone to be treated. You need to resolve the problem and see real results.
You’re not just a statistic to me.
My sleeves are rolled up and ready to get to work. Are yours?