Over the past 15+ months, I have done some pretty nutty things while trying to conceive. Unfortunately for me, none of them have worked (yet) but I have heard some amazing success stories about most of them. When you are facing infertility, you will do anything (ANYTHING) short of making a deal with the devil (I don’t recommend that) to get pregnant. Each time you see that negative test you think “what could I have done differently?” The list below outlines some of the crazy (and not so crazy) things I have done in the name of TTC. The truth is, it can’t hurt to try them, as none of them are dangerous. If you find yourself struggling to conceive and are in need of control and the feeling of being proactive like me, give one these the old college try!
1. Pineapple Core
Yes, that’s right. The CORE of the pineapple. The part we usually all throw away. It is very fibrous and chewy, and it definitely doesn’t taste GREAT, but it isn’t all that bad. The theory behind this is that pineapple core contains bromelain, which has been said to aid in implantation. Just cute a pineapple into five equal parts (remove the outside, of course) and eat one slice per day starting the day after ovulation (1 DPO). The core is the most important part, so make sure you eat that. You can toss the rest if you aren’t a huge pineapple fan. I have also heard of some ladies blending the core in with their smoothies. If you really don’t like the taste, you can by bromelain capsules!
2. Hips/Legs Up
I’m sure we have all tried this one once or twice! I always laid down after intercourse for 15-20 minutes to hold the swimmers in place. Several people told me to try elevating my hips (I put a couple pillows underneath) or putting my legs up on the wall. I even went so far as to roll on my back and hold my hips up with my legs straight up in the air. This was not comfortable.
3. Grapefruit Juice
This stuff is nasty, but it really helps with cervical mucus! Around ovulation your cervical mucus (CM) should be of “egg white” consistency, slippery and stretchy (this helps the sperm travel to the egg). Well mine never was. Until I found out about the grapefruit juice trick. I drank a glass a day from CD1 to ovulation and my CM was never stretchier! Be careful though, grapefruit is known to have interactions with several medication, so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist prior to trying this one out.
These medications are used for the same purpose as grapefruit juice – to thin out and increase CM. Be sure to get the kind that has guaifenesin as the only active ingredient (not Mucinex DM!), other active ingredients can have the opposite effect. I took this for the 4-5 days prior to anticipated ovulation and quit as soon as ovulation was confirmed. This didn’t work as well as the grapefruit juice for me.
I visited a chiropractor for a couple of month to see if he could “adjust” my uterus to optimal baby making status. They also do a lot of work with the nervous system that can help to regulate certain processes that are essential to TTC. While I loved having my back cracked and finding out my hips are lopsided, I don’t really think this did much for me. But then again I didn’t really stick with it too long to find out. The appointments began to be too much especially with all of the infertility/gyno appointments I was having.
If you love lube then you will love this sperm-friendly product! This genius substance is meant to mimic that coveted “egg white CM” so if you don’t make it, no problem! It can also be used as just a regular lube. Apply some directly into the VAJJ prior to sexy time and you are all set. The product can be found at most drugstores (que Target trip) and comes with a few applicators. I do not advise that you use the recommended dose, that was way too much and way too messy. Start small and add more if needed. I used this starting 5 days before ovulation, through a day or two after O. Visit www.preseed.com for more info!
This was one of my crazier remedies. Softcups are women’s menstrual cups, used to collect your flow during your period. Softcups are a flexible little cup inserted into your vagina and around the cervix. They are nice because they can be kept in for 12 hours with little to no leakage and it is not linked to TSS. I tried them for my period, and actually liked them. But the REAL reason I used these bad boys was to “hold the swimmer near my cervix”. I knew I had a very small cervix (the passage way from the vagina to the uterus) and I thought if I could just keep those little guys near the door they would have to get in eventually! After sex I would basically (while still laying down) insert the cup while scooping in the semen (I know how gross this sounds!!) and voila – no mess and I could walk around for hours just knowing they still had a fighting chance.
Warning: the first time I used these I almost couldn’t get it out. I suggest practicing once or twice, because the retrieval process is very strange. Follow the instructions to the T!
AKA Co-Enzyme Q10. This is an antioxidant naturally found in the body, but production decreases with age (peak production is around 21 years old, and then slowly declines after that). CoQ10 is said to be great for improving egg quality and egg health, and maybe even sperm motility and quality! I take 100mg, twice daily. Nick takes the same.
For the past three months, I have been getting acupuncture on a weekly basis. Not only do I find it extremely relaxing, the placement of the needles can help to increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, among other things. It is also said to help treat PCOS and thyroid disorders. Here is a short article for more insight into acupuncture for infertility.
10. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Another natural infertility remedy that I have been incorporating into my diet is Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. I try to drink a cup of this a day, but only prior to ovulation (I do not use after ovulation because the tea is also used in late pregnancy to help induce labor, and I don’t want any uterine contractions keeping that egg from sticking). The tea can be used to help with the following: recurrent miscarriage, heavy menstrual bleeding, poor egg quality, uterine trauma, and for general female reproductive health. I use the Alvita brand and usually order online because the last time I tried to purchase at the Vitamin Shoppe they were sold out (and they did not carry it at my local GNC) – everyone must be jumping on the bandwagon!
11. Rooster Under the Bed
This is the newest bit of crazy I am trying out. My hairdresser told us of an old wives tail that states “if you sleep with a rooster under your bed you will fall pregnant”. One of her coworkers tried it and it actually worked! As far as I know, this does not have to be a real rooster, so my mother bought me a cheap vintage rooster at the antique store this past weekend (only $4.00!) and it has been under my bed since then. I guess we will have to wait and see if there is any truth to this!
In addition to the above, I have also taken to touching every elephant statue or image I see for good luck. I also plan to eat Brazil nuts around implantation time this round as well. I am sure there are several other things I have tried, but these seemed to be the most interesting – and I do believe some of them actually helped, even if I didn’t get that positive! Good luck fellow TTCers, I hope one of these is your miracle solution!