“I can’t get pregnant- what do you think could be causing it?”
This week a young woman came to see me who had been trying for a baby for a year. Neither she nor her partner had had a child. She was a non-smoker, a social drinker and -like an average woman of her age in the UK- she was overweight, even though she was very active. Her periods were every two to three months, rather than regularly each month.
Doctors have a set series of questions to ask, examinations to do, and blood tests to perform, and sometimes people have a laparoscopy to check everything is as it should be.
However, before the results of these tests are through I can tell her that something needs to be done, and that she can take action right away. That is because she has a hormonal problem which will reduce her chances of getting pregnant. This hormonal problem is causing her periods to be irregular, it is linked into something called insulin resistance and it is causing her to put on weight. This extra weight changes the balance of her hormones further and interferes with the regularity of her cycle. It also causes her to put on further weight, and may even eventually lead to diabetes if it is not kept in check.
I recommended the following to her:
Cutting out alcohol completely( it is advised to do this once pregnant so it is best to do it in advance to get into the habit).
Getting regular sleep, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.
Getting gentle exercise of a relaxing nature, and building it up as fitness levels improve, and weight decreases.
Taking a folic acid supplement every day and a vitamin D one.
Mindfulness in relation to food, and relaxation to reduce stress levels and develop a healthy relationship with nourishing food.
A real food lifestyle with a low carb bent so that the weight normalizes at the rate of 2kg or 4lbs a month or more. Try my 8 week programme.
In addition, www.dietdoctor.com and www.ditchthecarbs.com have good recipes and video clips.
30g of carbs a day may be necessary to lose weight but everyone is different..so she could increase it if she was getting the results she wanted.
How to measure success?- regular periods will show her she is on the right track, and a pregnancy will show it has worked.