When is a Woman Fertile?: Pregnancy is possible during the five days before ovulation through the day of ovulation. Cervical mucus increases and becomes thin, stretchy, and clear as you approach ovulation, like egg whites. This is the fertile window; it reflects the 5 day lifespan of sperm and 24 hour lifespan of ovum.

When Does Ovulation Occur?: Day 1 of the menstrual cycle is the first day of your period. The last day is the day before the next period begins. Ovulation occurs about 2 weeks before the next expected period. If your cycle is 28 days, ovulation usually happens on day 14. The most fertile days are days 12, 13, and 14.

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant with frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year, you may question you or your partner’s fertility. Infertility is not always the woman’s problem. 1/3 of cases are due to women’s issues. 1/3 are due to men’s issues. The last 1/3 are caused by a mixture of male and female issues or unknown issues.

Causes of Female Fertility Issues

  • Age: Women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have. As they age, the quantity and quality of eggs decline. Fertility peaks in the early and mid-20s, then starts to decline sharply around age 35.
  • Ovulation disorders: polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperprolactinemia, thyroid issues
  • Uterine or cervical abnormalities: polyps or fibroids in uterus
  • Fallopian tube damage or blockage, often caused by pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Endometriosis: tissues that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency (early menopause): ovaries stop working & menstruation ends before age 40; can be caused by chemotherapy and radiation
  • Pelvic adhesions: bands of scar tissue that bind to organs after pelvic infection, appendicitis, or abdominal or pelvic surgery
  • Medical conditions associated with absence of menstruation: poorly controlled diabetes, celiac disease, autoimmune diseases like lupus
  • Extremely brief menstrual cycles
  • Abnormal cervical mucus

How to Promote Female Fertility

  • Maintain a healthy weight: being overweight or underweight can inhibit ovulation
  • Prevent sexually transmitted infections: chlamydia & gonorrhea can cause infertility
  • Avoid night shift: working night shift affects hormone production and may cause infertility; try to get enough sleep
  • Don’t smoke: smoking ages your ovaries and depletes eggs prematurely
  • Limit alcohol: heavy drinking is associated with increased risk of ovulation disorders
  • Limit caffeine: to 1 or 2 cups of coffee a day
  • Avoid illicit drugs
  • Do not overexercise: it can inhibit ovulation and reduce progesterone production; limit vigorous exercise to 5 hours a week
  • Avoid exposure to toxins: pesticides, dry-cleaning solvents, lead, and other toxins can harm fertility
  • Reduce stress
  • Stay hydrated: so your cervical fluid doesn’t get sluggish
  • Eat a healthy diet

Fertility Diet: Foods to Eat to Boost Fertility 

  • Organic, grass-fed, whole fat, raw dairy
  • Eat mostly cold water fish for Omega-3: salmon, cod, halibut
  • Grass-fed, organic meat
  • Free range, organic chicken
  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • whole, natural grains: avoid processed & refined grains like white bread, white rice, and semolina pastas; choose whole wheat or sprouted grains instead
  • more fiber
  • no unfermented soy: miso and tempeh are fermented and okay
  • avoid refined sugars or fruit juices unless freshly juiced
  • avoid refined, artificial sugars
  • nuts and seeds
  • dark leafy vegetables
  • fruit, especially berries
  • colorful veggies
  • fish and shellfish: raw fish can be dangerous for baby
  • liver
  • lentils & beans
  • Avoid: sugar, soda, pasteurized juices, caffeine, soy, GMO foods, fat-free foods
  • Superfoods for fertility: Maca, Royal Jelly, Bee Propolis, Bee Pollen, Spirulina

Supplements for Female Fertility