“I try to keep health simple and realistic for busy women.” – Kate Eskuri
Today’s episode on the podcast is all about women’s hormones, the natural cycle and preparing your mind, body and spirit prior to pregnancy. I am interviewing Kate Eskuri from the Foundation Blog who I have admired for many years now and the body of work she has created for empowering realistic health for women. I love how she simplifies challenging concepts and makes them bite sized and manageable to integrate change in your life. Also she is such a fun follow on Instagram with her quirky personality and inspiring personal shares from her life. In the episode she shares that she is newly pregnant (This episode was recorded several months ago when she and I were both pregnant!). Kate now has her baby earthside which is so exciting to see full circle how she has ventured into her journey into motherhood. Stay until the end of the interview where she shares all about her dreams and what she is looking forward to in motherhood.
If you are currently preconception, preventing pregnancy, natural cycle curious or trying to get pregnant this episode is for you. It is such a good conversation all about natural family planning, tracking your cycle and truly getting your body and mind ready for pregnancy! We even talk about what your partner can do to prepare for pregnancy. Ultimately if you are looking for a crunchy and holistic approach that is science-backed Kate is your girl.
Yes of course you do not need to “prep” your mind or body for pregnancy and you can figure it out along the way… but if you have time and space this episode may be perfect for you. In getting pregnant and motherhood in general there are a lot of things out of our control, my hope is that this podcast episode gives you some tools and things to focus on to prepare you for pregnancy.
While this interview covers a lot of great ground and provides incredibly inspiring information it is not medical advice and it is important that you consult with your medical provider regarding your fertility journey. Everyone’s unique fertility journey varies and these are some good basic everyday tips to start integrating a realistic and holistic approach to your pregnancy preparation.
This week we won’t dive in too deep on what a cycle is exactly but to touch on it… Women have on average a 28-ish day cycle each month and your period or your bleed is just a small portion of that. Who knew? I sure didn’t know this when I was a teenager and was recommended hormonal birth control for the first time.
Society tells us we need to hide our cycle and period, not often embrace it, learn it, study it or even track it to get to know ourselves better. What Kate and I discuss in the interview is that we want you to get to know your cycle and study it. Our cycle can tell us a lot about our overall health and usually painful cramps, PMS or a heavy bleed are signs that something is off. As Kate mentions, our cycle can be seen as our sixth vital sign.
“Most of our period woes and what we are told.. Your period is just something that you should just struggle through every month and it should feel miserable. Truly, I think the period is your sixth vital sign.” – Kate Eskuri
There is a time and a place for hormonal birth control, no shame for not natural cycle tracking.. But if you are curious and want to learn more it may be a lot easier than you think! Also, many people can be off their hormonal birth control and just need more education on managing their natural cycle and healing the root cause of their symptoms. We truly can stabilize our hormones naturally without the assistance of hormonal birth control and still prevent pregnancy.
“I totally trust my fellow woman in making the right choice for them in the season of life that they are in.” – Kate Eskuri
The list of tips for preparing your Mind & Body for Pregnancy
Before we dive into this incredible list… It takes on average three months to impact your egg quality. That means you should consider some of these swaps and add-ins at least 3-4 months prior to trying to conceive. Fertility is complicated and it can feel like, “I’m doing all of these things and I am still not getting the results I want.” We understand that this may be the case and we want you to seek out expert medical advice from a fertility doctor. Everyone’s path and journey into motherhood looks different. The research does support though that changing your lifestyle can directly impact your fertility.
Natural Cycle Tracking
What sparked Kate’s curiosity about learning about her cycle was a conversation that she had with her naturopathic doctor. Her doctor asked, “Tell me about your cycle” and Kate responded, “I don’t know what my cycle is like. Whoa.” She hadn’t had a cycle in years with being on an IUD. That’s when she started digging and doing her own research, “How can I get off hormonal birth control but still prevent pregnancy?” It turns out that she was able to prevent pregnancy for four years with natural cycle tracking and it only took one month trying to conceive since she knew her cycle so well!
When it comes to natural cycle tracking, having a partner that is on board is important with natural cycle tracking and preventing pregnancy. There is a fertile window where you could get pregnant and your partner has to be okay with additional protection at this time or avoiding sex if you are not trying to conceive.
After a couple months, you can start to feel really empowered with when and when you are in your fertile window. The crazy thing most people do not know is that you can only get pregnant 5-7 days per month in your fertile window. Tracking that and knowing when you’re most fertile is incredibly helpful to know.
“If you take it seriously, and really learn it. It can be easy.” – Kate Eskuri
Here are some tips for Tracking your Cycle Naturally
- Use a calendar to determine how long your cycle is and track each stage.
- Track your Bleed or “period” – about every 28 days
- Track Ovulation – about day Day 10 – 16
- Temperature Tracking first thing in the morning will help to pinpoint when you’re ovulating
- Cervical Mucus tracking when you wipe or there is more wetness in your undies and a egg-white mucus or the stretchy mucus is when you are most fertile. The mucus helps to bring sperm to the egg!
- Ovulation test strips you can pee on that can help you know when you’re ovulating which can help with getting pregnant or preventing pregnancy
- Get to know your fertile window and track your cycle for months prior to wanting to get pregnant. Allow your body to regulate and hormones regulate and you can get to know your cycle prior to wanting to get pregnant.
“The more puzzle pieces you put together, by the end I didn’t even need to think about it. Oh yeah, from about day 10-16 I have to be really careful with sex. At the beginning it took effort to be mindful and learn my cycle. Then, sooner or later you know your signs and you are really in tune with it. It isn’t this science equation, you either know you are fertile or not.” – Kate Eskuri
- Focus on nourishment. Upgrade the foods you are eating and keep it simple, organic and whole foods. Always think about adding in more goodness and getting enough to eat.
- Regulating your Blood Sugar for Hormonal Health. You could order a continuous glucose monitor and start to do a deep dive.
- SAD Standard American Diet. It is hard to eat healthy in this country. A little bit more protein, fat and veggies and avoiding processed carbs to help stabilize blood sugar.
- Things to avoid: refined carbs, added sugar, and/or gluten and dairy if you are sensitive to them.
- Eat complex carbs paired with vegetables, healthy fats and protein.
Switch to Non-Toxic Products
- These chemicals can mimic estrogen in the body so it can be confusing to your body. Lots of beauty products or cleaning home goods products can be endocrine disrupting.
- No need to do it all at once, do one thing at a time. Gradual
- Not heating things up in plastic in the microwave
- Using glass to store food and warm food
- Filtering your water
- Tea bags actually can have plastic in them! Say what?
Mentally in the Right Spot by Connecting with Yourself
- Journaling and self reflection can be a great tool to use to get yourself mentally ready for pregnancy and motherhood.
- Mental Health Therapy to prepare for motherhood and pregnancy and meeting consistently with a perinatal counselor.
- Releasing fears and doing the inner work prior to getting pregnant and being in it.
“You know you are ready for kids when the things you will gain from it will outweigh the things you are giving up.” – Kate Eskuri
Supplements mentioned in the Episode
- CoQ 10
- Vitamin D
- Prenatal Vitamin
- Fish Oil Supplement with DHA
- Vitamin C
- Ahum, maybe do some yoga or meditation.
- Stress has an impact on your hormones. Women experiencing high stress is correlated with decreased conception rates and long menstrual cycles and lower outcomes pregnancy and live birth rates.
Sperm Health & Your Partner’s Health
- Nourishing Whole foods
- Not having your phone in your front pocket
- Wearing boxers not briefs
- Supplementing and doing blood work
Each Fertility Journey is Unique
- It is truly complicated and different for each person and couple.
- Waiting for it to feel real and waiting for it to feel solid
- Wherever you are on your path we wish the best for you.
“I know you can do everything right and still not get the results you desire.” – Kate Eskuri
Kate mentions and brought me to tears, “As women we need to hold space for one another’s experiences. They can look different and both be valid and both have merit. I know you can do everything and still not get the results that you hope for. Women are so strong and resilient and no doubt that can get tiring.” Share your hopeful and positive stories mamas because we need more of it in this world with miscarriage and pregnancy loss on the rise. 1 in 3 women experience miscarriage today. You are not alone in your stories and experiences.
I hope you loved this week’s Mavens of Motherhood Podcast episode. If you love it subscribe and leave us a five star review. If you found this episode beneficial, share it with a friend. Connect with Kate Eskuri on her blog or take her incredible new Health course where she supports you on your wellness journey.