Winter is a time to cozy up, stay warm and indulge in the stillness of quieter nights. Days are shorter and nature follows this rhythmic cycle by storing energy and slowing down. Winter can be a time of reflection and much needed rest after the abundance of summer in order to prepare for the growth of spring. Winter is also an opportunity for us to take care of our kidneys, the organ system which closely relates to our reproductive organs and the aging process. When we pay attention and nurture our kidney function, there is greater potential that come springtime, new life can grow.
Here are some ways to optimize your fertility through the winter months:
Connect with your partner If you’re currently trying to have a baby, intimacy can often get overlooked. Take the stress and pressure out of the bedroom and enjoy the spontaneity. It’s important to continue to enjoy life and the process, which will reduce strain on your relationship. You deserve to enjoy basic pleasures along the way.
Address your anxiety and fear As jolly as the holidays can be, they can also be a vehicle for anxieties around fertility to surface. Family pressures and social comparisons can be more pronounced during holiday gatherings. One way to change beliefs and release negative thoughts is through journaling. There is so much power in getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper. One tool we highly recommend is Organic Conceptions, a program designed to help couples navigate their personal journeys to parenthood. The program is based on years of research from couples who unexpectedly overcame infertility. The audio is empowering and journaling is a key part of this program!
Eat soups and stews for your constitution We naturally crave heartier and warmer foods in the colder months. Black beans, beef, lamb, root vegetables, grains, dark leafy greens strengthen our kidneys and digestive function. Simmer your vegetables in broth, soak beans for soup or make a meat-based stew. Warming foods keep the uterus warm so it can properly shed and build its lining without pain.
Drink Chinese herbal teas Tonic herbs can strengthen the kidneys and support fertility. Some of my favorite tonic herbs are du zhong, tu zi si, and shu di huang. These collectively warm and nourish the reproductive organs and address issues with both female and male fertility. They also prevent signs of premature aging such as graying of hair or poor memory. You can add these to your soups and stews or drink as an herbal tea. Make sure to consult with an Eastern medicine practitioner when incorporating herbs in to your fertility protocol.
Honor your monthly cycle What you do now will set you up for the stage that’s coming. Your body is preparing for an egg to implant so replace intense exercise during your menstruation with walking or a mild hike, or try qi gong, yin yoga or other slower paced activities. Have fun and explore more vigorous movement after your period and through ovulation. Above all, listen to your body, especially if it’s telling you to rest!
Maintain healthy sleep habits Get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep. Studies have repeatedly shown the importance of proper circadian rhythms on fertility. Be in bed by 10 pm at the latest and keep a dark, quiet and cool room free of distractions.
Supplements Vitamin D, folate, fish oil and magnesium are essential, not just for fertility but for overall health in general. Probiotics are also a good idea to support your system during the holiday season when travel frequency is increased and different foods are consumed.
Moxa This is one of my favorite therapies because it feels so great! Moxa is warming, invigorating and relaxing and wonderful for recovery from injuries, serious illness, childbirth and trauma. When applied to fertility, the warmth from moxa penetrates the uterus and lower abdomen creating a rich environment for potential new life to flourish. Your local acupuncturist can provide this service.
Taking time to nurture yourself and conserve energy this winter can do wonders for your fertility. This applies to both fertility treatments or natural methods. Learn to give to yourself without guilt. In a culture that values action, we tend have a difficult time slowing down. Remember, it’s ok to save and store your energy right now. Your future body will thank you.
Written by Dr. Carla Vidor – to schedule an appointment, call 424-744-8366.