Last Updated on February 20, 2023 by Avi Steen
If you’re a woman trying to conceive and you’ve been doing your research, then chances are that you’ve come across plenty of information regarding the importance of gut health and fertility.
Everywhere from wellness magazines to natural health experts seem convinced that having a healthy gut is essential for getting pregnant – but what does this actually mean?
Is it really true that maintaining good gut health can give you the edge when it comes to conception? In this post, I will be taking an in-depth look at how vital good gut health is for women trying to conceive.
Gut Health and Fertility: What’s the Connection?
The connection between fertility and gut health has been a subject of increasing research in recent years. Studies have found that there are many ways in which our digestive system can affect our reproductive systems, both positively and negatively.
For starters, the healthy bacteria that reside in your gut help ensure that your body absorbs nutrients properly. When there is a lack of nutrient absorption, it can lead to fertility issues.
Because your body needs vitamins, minerals, etc to thrive.
In addition, the health of your gut can influence the production of certain hormones that play a role in conception.
Specifically, women who have an imbalance or overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in their gut microbiome may experience higher levels of estrogen dominance and other hormones that can interfere with ovulation.
And that’s not the vibe.
What is the Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome is a vital but largely unknown component of the human body. It’s often referred to as our “second brain” since it affects multiple aspects of our health and wellness, from physical traits like inflammation to mental health such as anxiety and depression.
Our gut microbiome contains an incredible amount of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that interact with our bodies in ways most of us haven’t even realized yet. Investing in understanding the gut microbiome could provide us with answers to many unanswered questions regarding health and fertility.
Making it a fascinating area to explore.
And by taking care of your gut microbiome you can experience its full benefits which may include increased energy levels, improved digestion, and more balanced moods.
So don’t be afraid to experiment – there are plenty of ways you can nurture your second brain!
Poor Gut Health
A leaky gut occurs when there are tiny gaps in the lining of your intestines which allow toxins and pathogens to pass through into your bloodstream. This can cause inflammation in many women and can lead to serious fertility issues.
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be worth checking in with your doctor.
abdominal pain and cramping
Inflammation is the body’s way of signaling that something isn’t functioning as it should be. Many infertility issues like PCOS and endometriosis, have underlying inflammation as a contributing factor.
A variety of lifestyle practices can help reduce chronic inflammation in the body, such as eating a fertility-friendly anti-inflammatory diet, getting enough rest, reducing stress levels, and exercising regularly.
All of these practices will help to improve poor gut health.
This is what we’re all here for, right? Hormone balance.
What does it have to do with poor gut health?
It all comes down to the fact that our gut health plays a huge role in how our hormones function. Having an unhealthy gut can cause an imbalance in our hormone levels, which can then lead to difficulty with conception.
What Does Gut Health Have to Do With Fertility?
Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
According to recent studies, gut health may also play a role in recurrent pregnancy loss. An unhealthy gut microbiome can cause inflammation which can then lead to difficulties with implantation and early-stage embryo development, resulting in either miscarriage or preterm delivery.
The gut microbiome affects many aspects of reproductive health, including estrogen metabolism and our overall immune system. A healthy gut helps with regular hormones, like estrogen, but the gut microbiota also impacts the way our bodies process and eliminate toxins.
So if you’re immune system constantly seems off, your digestion is all over the place, and you’re exhausted all the time and constantly experiencing digestive discomfort – it’s probably worth looking into how healthy your gut microbiome actually is.
To put it simply, a healthy gut means better reproductive health.
How To Heal Your Gut Health Naturally
A proper diet can help support gut health and decrease chronic inflammation. Eating plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, and fibrous foods can help support healthy gut flora.
Certain supplements like probiotics and digestive enzymes may also be helpful for healing the gut. Probiotic supplements introduce beneficial bacteria into our systems which can help to restore balance to our gut microbiome.
Sleep is also key to helping our bodies heal and repair. Make sure you’re getting adequate rest each night as it can help reduce stress hormones, improve digestion, and promote a healthy gut function.
The health consequences of improper rest show in your immune function and how gut microbes form, so make sure you’re clocking in 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
How Do I Know if I Need Help With My Fertility and Gut Health?
Trying to assess your own healthy gut microbiome and fertility can be a tricky thing. It might help to start by looking for any signs of digestive discomfort.
Think stomach pain, cramps, bloating, or constipation. If you have any concerns about your reproductive system and are trying to conceive, it’s best to check in with a healthcare professional.
Although there are many natural remedies that can be beneficial for gut health and fertility, a specialized opinion from an expert may provide the most accurate guidance on how you should proceed.
As a fitness nutrition specialist and fertility doula, I have seen firsthand the profound effects that improving gut health can have on overall fertility.
Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or with the help of a specialist, there’s no denying that overall health and fertility go hand in hand. If you’re looking for ways to boost your fertility but don’t know where to start, my Healthy Fertility course is here for you!
Over the course of six weeks, we’ll be focusing on modifying key lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise; decreasing chronic inflammation; and much more.
So if improving your fertility necessitates some lifestyle changes, why not join me on this journey?
Octavia Steen is an NBDA certified fertility doula, health coach, certified fitness nutrition specialist, aspiring missionary with the COGIC, and owner of Mother Mindset. She helps future and current mamas become more consistent in faith + fitness and grow closer to God so they can create a healthier lifestyle from the inside out!