Obstacles to Ovulation

If you want to get pregnant, you need to ovulate. It’s not the only piece of the puzzle, but it’s the centerpiece. Regular ovulation is the foundation of fertility.

The challenge is this: our modern lifestyle is a real buzzkill when it comes to ovulation. Common challenges to ovulation include previous hormonal birth control usage, sugar, inflammation, environmental toxins, thyroid dysfunction, prolactin, stress, nutrient deficiencies, and so on. It’s a panoply of insults. And the bottom line is this: if your body is meaningfully out of balance, it will shut down ovulation.

Many of my clients come in with a laundry list of insults just like this. Everything that could have interfered with ovulation has. And, many of them never even knew it because they were on birth control. Maybe you can relate to this?

Ovulation is a divine, but delicate process. Everything needs to go just right in order for that egg to release every month. That’s not to scare you by any means. That’s to empower you. In fact, one of the first steps in your pregnancy journey should be to make sure that you’re ovulating regularly. And remember, just because you had your period does not necessarily mean that you ovulated.

If you haven't been ovulating regularly, get curious. What could be throwing my system off? Where are things out of balance in my life right now? Sometimes, you will know instinctively where things went awry (e.g., a particularly stressful month of work, intense training for a triathlon, the “dessert for breakfast, lunch and dinner” diet). Other times, you will need the help of a skilled functional medicine practitioner to help you look under the hood (e.g., thyroid levels, prolactin levels) and figure out what’s going on. Not ovulating occasionally when life gets bonkers is totally normal; not ovulating regularly is a sign of disorder and will need to be addressed if you want to get pregnant.

The key is to tune in. When ovulation isn’t working the way it should, it’s our body’s way of telling us that things are out of sorts. Rather than pushing and shoving ovulation back into “working order” (e.g., with drugs, with procedures), figure out where the roadblock is first and remove that. Most of the time, your body will heal itself if it’s just given the chance. Sometimes drugs and procedures are absolutely necessary, but that should be a last resort rather than a first exploration.

Your body wants to ovulate; your body is designed to ovulate. And, your body also wants to keep you and your potential babies safe and sound. As I mentioned above, when your body feels like things are out of whack, it will automatically shut down ovulation because it perceives that it’s not an optimal time or place to bring a baby into the world. First, figure out what’s making your body think that you’re living in an unsafe or unstable environment - it may be crazy job stress or your crazy mother-in-law; it may be heavy metal toxicity from your personal care products or your daily tuna salad (yes, that’s possible!); it may be blood sugar dysregulation from too many coffee and bagel breakfasts. Second, recognize that your body is trying to protect you, not sabotage you. Your body is incredibly wise; even if you don’t always understand her, try to trust her. And finally, have faith that once you remove the roadblock or roadblocks, your body will restore its natural function and begin ovulating again. I’ve seen this time and time again with clients and it’s absolutely possible for you too. Believe it, embrace it and act as if. You are in control...and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.