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Guest Blog Post for Chicago Family Doulas blog.

Perfectly Poised for Pregnancy

The hopes and dreams of welcoming a new baby can bring excitement of all things cute and tiny….

Before you let your imagination run wild with nursery decor and baby name ideas.  There is a significant amount of planning and preparation that needs to be executed.

The practices of taking prenatal vitamins, adequate folic acid intake, abstaining from alcohol and tobacco are well known. Though important, these are only a few of the things to consider to make sure you and your body are perfectly poised for pregnancy.

Other important areas of wellbeing that need to be considered before trying to conceive (TTC) are nutrition, fitness, mindset, stress management, emotional and spiritual health. Each component of wellbeing can impact fertility in small and large ways. Managing all of these areas can be overwhelming but being your own best advocate will ensure you’re receiving the best support. Although it can be difficult to know where to turn, seeking out the right team will set you up for success.

As a fertility coach, this is the first question I help my clients tackle…

Where to begin, when trying to conceive?

“Client A” wants nothing more than to have a baby but, she is having a hard time getting pregnant. Her doctor was unable to find anything medically wrong and tells her to “just keep trying”. Client A decides to come to me with the goal of understanding, overcoming and eliminating any issues within her control, that may be hindering her success.

During our initial consult to review her wellbeing assessment and discover her dreams, we will discuss areas for consideration and narrow down her focus.

She chooses to start with nutrition and mindset.

Client A has become so frustrated with her inability to conceive that she is constantly battling her inner gremlin. This is filling her mind and heart with negative, self-defeating, unrealistic thoughts. She is eager to move past this so that her heart and mind align with a positive message.

Although she tries to eat well, there is room for improvement. She is unsure of any nutritional requirements and implications as it relates to her fertility. Client A would like to be more confident and in control of her choices as to ensure they are conducive to conception. She also hopes that these changes will improve her BMI (body mass index), which is not in the normal range, to eliminate that risk factor.

Each week we lay out a plan for taking small, realistic, powerful steps toward her goals. We brainstorm options, discuss practical techniques and create an environment for Client A to feel empowered, excited and hopeful.

 

Here are some of the topics we discuss with regard to her nutrition:

  • She will need to eat a rainbow variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure an adequate and balanced intake of vital antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

 (These are necessary building blocks of a strong and healthy DNA and critical components of a healthy path to the production, development and function of the egg.)

 

  • This includes getting both plant and animal based protein sources to maximize the benefits of
    each.
  • Choosing whole grains which provide fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium,
    copper and help to balance glucose and insulin levels. This aids in proper growth,
    development and hormone balance.
  • How much dairy to include and why certain amounts of whole fat dairy products can
    boost fertility.
  • The good fats- getting an adequate intake of omega 3 and omega 6 fats and
    incorporating fish at least twice per week.
  • The different forms of folic acid, which form is best for her, the pros/cons, the side
    effects, where to find it and how much is needed.
  • Fertility friendly meal, snack and recipe ideas.

Week by week Client A is feeling increasingly competent, confident and in control. She is fueling her fertility with every decision she makes, creating an optimal environment for conception. Client A is hopeful that her dream of becoming a mother will come true. She is feeling more whole, healthy, energetic, and alive than she’s ever felt!

 
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Forest Park Review Newspaper Article 

by Tom Holmes

Lifestyle issues are the key to fertility, coach says

Forest Parker assists women having trouble getting pregnant

The Mayo Clinic estimates that 10-15 percent of couples in the United States are infertile, infertility being defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year.

To address this need, Forest Park resident Alisha Fox started a fertility coaching business called Modern Fox Fertility a little over a year ago to help women conceive and have healthy pregnancies by changing their lifestyle — including diet, exercise, mindset, spiritual health, and stress reduction — instead of relying on pills, hormone shots and invasive procedures like in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Fox's relationship with Rachel (not her real name) illustrates how her approach works. Rachel and her doctor had identified several issues that were preventing her from getting pregnant. The doctor responded by prescribing a "myriad of drugs and supplements" but she felt there was more she could be doing.

During Rachel's first call to Modern Fox Fertility, Fox did a lot of empathic listening. "She really felt like I heard what she was going through," Fox recalled.

Fox tried to discern where Rachel "was at on her journey" — what she had already tried, if she had seen a doctor, if any testing had been done — to get a better idea of where she was mentally, physically and emotionally.

"I'm not a doctor, so I don't make any diagnoses," Fox explained, "but lots of lifestyle choices can impact fertility that women's health-care providers haven't explored with them. A significant number of women, for example, are going through stages of grief at not being able to get pregnant."

Fox told Rachel she believed she could be of assistance to and supportive of Rachel on her journey.

Rachel and her fertility coach made a "contract" to meet once a week for an hour to an hour and a half for three months. Fox said her program does not include prescribing drugs or giving hormone injections, but rather doing the hard work of "going inside" to explore lifestyle factors that may be acting as barriers to conceiving.

Rachel and Fox began by talking a bit about exercise but as Fox got to know her client, the major focus soon became self-care and spiritual health because it became clear that Rachel would often talk to herself in negative ways and was losing touch with her faith, which had been very important to her. Together they explored ways to restore a stronger relationship with God and how to talk to herself in more positive ways.

The good news is that Rachel became pregnant in the second month of Fox's coaching, and she has continued seeing her coach to assure that she continues to have a healthy pregnancy.

Each client is different, Fox said. Sometimes what they eat can affect the quality of eggs their ovaries are producing. For others exercise may be important. With others it may be stress reduction.

One regimen doesn't fit all, and she doesn't tell clients what to eat or how much to exercise or how to pray. Her role is to coach, not dictate — to assist clients in finding what the right fit is, what works for them. 

"In Rachel's case," Fox said, "we found things that were doable for her. For example, we decided that she would increase her yoga practice, but when it got to be too much, she reduced the amount of time she spent on it till she found that sweet spot of 'enough but not too much'."

Fox believes the reason many tactics to help women get pregnant don't work is that they fail to get at the root cause of fertility, which might be stress or nutrition or the absence of a healthy spiritual life.

Not all of her clients are able to conceive and give birth, but she has a 100 percent success rate because whether a woman who works with her gets pregnant or not, she makes lifestyle changes that leave her healthier and more in control of her body.

A testimony to Fox's holistic approach on her website comes from a woman named Beata, who says that Fox "goes above and beyond to ensure you have what you need to succeed. Alisha has genuine belief, with concrete certainty in you, and will guide you to succeed in whatever you need."