Single, but want kids one day? Coupled, but not ready to take the plunge?
Here’s what you can do to make sure that by the time you’re psychologically ready for kids, that you’re also physically ready for kids.
While age is the one thing we can’t control, and it has a huge impact on fertility, there are lots of steps you can take to improve your hormonal health and plan ahead. Simply taking time to empower yourself with knowledge is a great first step!
My best piece of advice is to get off hormonal birth control.
The fact is that you can’t truly see how healthy your hormone balance is if you’re not having natural cycles, and hormonal birth control suppresses your cycles and hides any imbalances that might be there (as well as causing a few!) by pumping you full of artificial hormones.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to get pregnant right away! So long as you use another method of birth control you’ll be a-okay! The fertility awareness method that I teach can be over 99% effective, and condoms can be over 98% effective, plus there are lots of other options out there for you to choose from.
Once you’re off hormonal birth control, keep in mind that the first few cycles will be a bit wonky as your body readjusts back to normal again. And for some people, especially if they had an underlying hormonal imbalance before they went on birth control (which a lot of us do if we experienced cramps, PMS, heavy flow, or irregular cycles), those issues will still be there and will need to be addressed. This can take a few cycles to over a year depending on the individual.
The good news is that we have a lot of control over the quality of our fertility and the ability to improve hormonal balance through natural means like nutrition and lifestyle. And the fact that you are starting now, before you want kids, means that these hormonal imbalances will be improved by the time you want to get pregnant.
Start charting your cycles.
The other thing that would be super helpful would be to start charting your cycles. By observing your body you can see the return of the normal ovulation pattern, and that right there is the most important thing when it comes to being fertile! You can’t get pregnant without healthy ovulation, right?
If you have been on hormonal birth control, you need to know that this can deplete the body of certain nutrients, so if you take those as supplements that would be helpful, not only for post-pill recovery, but for your body’s overall health. These are B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc.
If you can see the normal cervical mucus pattern and temperature rise you can know you are ovulating and also see a lot of other things related to hormonal health. Keep in mind there’s a lot you can do for yourself without needing expensive fertility tests through nutrition, lifestyle, and patience (simply giving your body time to recover from hormonal birth control is enough to alleviate some common reasons for so-called “infertility”).
If you do want to get your hormones tested, wait until you have about three normal cycles. And by normal I mean not only a healthy length (about 26 to 35 days), but a good mucus pattern around ovulation, and temperature shift after ovulation.
Of course there’s more that could be done, but this is just an overview. If you want to start planning ahead the best thing you can do is work with a holistic health practitioner of some kind — they can tailor a program for your unique body, physiology, and health, and act as your coach, support, and accountability partner as you plan ahead and take actions towards having kids one day.