Wellness Myths

Nutrition for Fertility

January 19, 2023 Emily Rae Season 4 Episode 11
Wellness Myths
Nutrition for Fertility
Show Notes Transcript

Today the girls of Wellness Myths welcome a special guest to the pod- The Fertility Nut! Fellow registered dietitian  Whitney is here to dispel all myths around fertility and optimal hormone health. Expect to hear all about eating for conception (for male AND female hormones!), why going on a diet and moving more might NOT be the answer, and other common misnomers surrounding fertility.

Head to Whitney's website: https://thefertilitynut.com/.

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You can find a computer generated show transcript at https://wellnessmyths.com

Emily:

Welcome to wellness. Miss the podcast where we take a hard look at the nutrition and wellness industry through a no bullshit lens. My name is, and I'm an anti-intuitive eating ed diet and yoga.

Vanessa:

And my name's Vanessa. I am also a registered dietician and I specialize in hormone. Emily. And I met back in college when we were studying to be dieticians and we basically never left each other's side. Since the moment we met and post grad, we haven't really left each other's side either we live across the country from each other, but that hasn't stopped us from being business partners and talking almost every minute of every day.

Emily:

Let's get into this week's episode.

Vanessa:

Welcome to Wellness Miss. We have a very special guest on today that we are extremely excited to talk about. If you follow her on Instagram, you will know her as the Fertility nut. Her name is actually Whitney But go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself, Whitney.

Whitney:

Hi, I am so excited to be here. So my name is Whitney. I am a registered dietician turned fertility coach, and I help women get pregnant. That's the, the elevator pitch of it. But I work from a functional and conventional side of fertility. So I say that I'm. A mid-level hippie. My goal is to help you get the best of both worlds. So if you're a little bit woo-hoo, but you still believe in conventional medicine and seek help that way, that's what I do. That's my goal.

Emily:

This is literally, oh

Vanessa:

god damn it, Emily

Emily:

was like trying to open my mouth early, so you would see we haven't had a guest in like a really long

Vanessa:

go ahead. Go ahead,

Emily:

I just love that you describe yourself that way because I feel like Vanessa and I, that's like our approach to a tee, like we're the exact same. We're like, okay, like we're suspicious of some things and looking for alternatives for others, but like also really accepting data and of course as dieticians evidence-based practices.

Whitney:

Exactly. Yep. I like, I, there's benefits to both. It doesn't have to be one way or the other.

Vanessa:

So I'm really curious too, how did you get into the world of fertility as a dietician? Because obviously that's more of an unconventional path in school. We're really like, you know, turned towards clinical and nursing homes and hospitals and community. Yeah. Things like that. But tell us how you kind of got into the fertility.

Whitney:

Well, it started when I wanted to make my own humans And at that time I was already a board certified dietician. I had a master's degree, two advanced degrees in human health. And when it came time to getting pregnant there was nothing, nothing in my knowledge base that was going to help me. I got zero help from my doctors and I was just, I did what everybody else did. I took a prenatal one, whatever one was free. I think it was the, they give you a prescription. And so I went to the pharmacy. I picked up my prescribed trotted on and I popped the pill and I thought, yep, this is it. This is all I gotta do. And it was really interesting because I actually got pregnant very easily. As I said before, I was already a dietician. I was already eating really well and doing all of those things, but I was not prepared in any way, shape or form for that pregnancy. I wasn't I, although I was eating healthy, I was eating healthy by. How do I say this? Conventional standards like undereating a lot and over exercising, and I was terrified to gain weight. The entire pregnancy was very miserable, but it wasn't because the pregnancy, it was me, like I was not ready for it physically, mentally, in any way. And it. Made enormous impact on my health postpartum because I was not ready. I developed an autoimmune disease that took me years to get over. And again, there was no support in that time and so I was kinda left to my own devices to figure out what was going on. And so luckily I had already that background in human health and nutrition. I just dove in and really work to heal my own self and heal my hormones and do all that really fun stuff. The trial and error crap, that really sucks. Like, is this gonna work? I don't know. We'll see. Do I need to cut this out? I don't know what we're gonna see. And so I took some time to do all of that and it. change the game. As far as my own personal health, my own opin, not opinion of myself. Self-love, I think giving myself grace and then into future pregnancies. Night and day difference. And so when I saw that a lot of my friends and family and coworkers and basically every woman in my age group that was trying to conceive was all going through the same thing with their own physicians. Whether they were struggling to get pregnant or having an easy time to get pregnant, it was all just kind of in the dark. There was no information for them. And so I actually left a very cushy job. I had like by dietetic standards. Dream job at the time, it was four day work weeks. I had p t o coming like flowing p t o all the time. And I ended up leaving that job because I felt so pulled to do this work. And it is I the best thing that has ever happened. If you could see my face, like it's just, it's the best work. So that's how I got here.

Vanessa:

I think that's so amazing too that you have, you know, probably so many of the things that you are going to tell people to do that you're working with, you've done them yourself. So it's like you used yourself as a Guinea pig first. So you're like, I've been in your shoes and I know that I can help you because I've done it for myself. And I think that's such a powerful message for people.

Whitney:

It's a hard way. Definitely

Emily:

Yeah, for sure. We, our podcast is named Wellness Myths, right? So we kind of love to like look at these preconceived notions and challenge them. One of the biggest myths that I see surrounding fertility is a lot of people getting advice from their doctor that they need to go on a diet and lose as much weight as they can before they might be trying to conceive or even during their conception journey. So I'm just kind of curious what you think about that.

Whitney:

I see that a lot. If you're seeing a, just a, a regular old doctor, that's kind of the name of the game. If you're having trouble getting pregnant, that's one of the first places they go is your weight. And in, if I could dispel any myth, losing weight is stressful on your body. So if you think about it like this, if you are actively losing weight, your body is eating. it is starved and eating itself, and even if you have excess or additional adipose tissue to consume, it is a stressful metabolic process. And so, I'm always, I'm always very up upfront about this. Fertility is a luxury, not a priority. So if your body is functioning on a day-to-day basis, it does not need to get pregnant in order to survive. And so your fertility is the very first system that your body will down-regulate if there is a stressor. So if you're losing, let's say, 1, 2, 3 pounds a week or more, depending on the diet you're doing, I mean everybody's into the Octavia thing right now is driving me nuts.

Emily:

Oh yes, I hear that. I have like a client who's like, everybody at their work is doing that diet right now, and they're like, can you please, we actually got a request to do it, Vanessa. Someone emailed us that. So that's maybe our next episode.

Whitney:

But that when you are undereating, it is very stressful for your system. It will decrease your sex hormone production. It will decrease the strength of your ovulation, your chances of getting pregnant are decreased and your increased risk for nut significant nutrient deficiency. So even if you do get pregnant in that state, and a lot of people do it's possible, it's definitely possible to get pregnant in that state. But if you do and then you add a baby into a system that's already stressed out, the odds of you, because the baby will get what it needs, it's going to take it from you. And so if you're not getting enough calcium, if you've got a deficiency in your B vitamins, if you're not, if you don't have enough vitamin D, the baby is going to survive just fine. But you will come out of that pregnancy. Very depleted and it can take a very long time to recover from that because now not only do you have to recover yourself, but you also have to do it in that postpartum period that is already very stressful. And so I don't follow that advice at all, I don't recommend losing significant amounts of weight if you're trying to conceive that is not, not the ideal conception system that we wanna work with.

Emily:

Yeah. And that's such a common messaging that we hear, like you said, from people's physicians. And I think, you know, especially if people are having a harder time getting pregnant, there's this desperation that comes in that where we're like, okay, who cares? Like, it's fine. Like, I might have to like deal with recovery, but it's fine because then I'll have my baby. And it's like, well, yeah, but like, you know, you wanna be able to have this experience as, you know healthfully as possible. And so you can be there for your baby

Whitney:

Mm-hmm. And actually coming from, I have experienced both. I've done the work with my second pregnancy and really preparing for it and being mentally, and physically ready for it. But with my first pregnancy, I, it, the place I was in took all my joy. I didn't enjoy any part of it. And now when I look back at that postpartum period with my first, I don't remember any of it. Like I. have bits, maybe like flashes, but mostly I just remember how I felt, which was shitty.

Emily:

Yeah. Totally. Totally. Yeah. And I, I think too, like I, I love that your approach is like prioritizing the pregnant person as well, because I think Yeah, it's like when, when you see a physician, they're just like, okay, like how do we get to

Whitney:

Yep. They're fixers.

Emily:

Right. Right. And they can maybe even do a good job with that Yeah, So another thing that is really commonly overlooked, it seems, and you just made an Instagram post about this, is male fertility. So your partner with male hormones, it's like, what can they be doing? Is that, does that matter? Can you tell us a little more about that?

Whitney:

A hundred percent it matters. Absolutely. I specialize in female fertility, but we can't, even though I work specifically one-to-one with females, when I'm working with, you can't ignore the couple. The male factor is 50%, just the same way the female factor is. And we've noticed that male factor infertility it, the rates are coming in higher than they ever have and we, when we look at the data, we see that when sperm are damaged in any way, it increases rates of, it's harder to conceive, but it's also increasing rates of miscarriage and. Unfortunately, a lot physicians or conventional fertility care kind of give men, men a pass. They're very, very focused on the female to begin with, to the point where they're not even testing the male until. Farther down the line when they're looking at IIS or ivf, like more invasive procedures. But they will do a lot of fertility medications and a lot of interventions on the female without even looking at the other side of the puzzle. And they are 50% of the DNA equation just the same way we are. They are just as important. They just don't carry the p.

Vanessa:

I'm so glad that you brought that up because I think a lot of times the pregnant person, if they miscarry, they're automatically gonna blame themselves and think, oh, this is because of something I did, or this is my fault, and they're not looking at the other 50%, not that it's anyone's fault, but it's not all on that person. So I think that's a really, really important message to get out to people.

Whitney:

And I think when you're trying to get pregnant, and like you said the person that care is carrying the pregnancy tends to be the person that takes on the, the majority of the workload. And it can create, if it takes a while to conceive, it can create a lot of distance in the relationship. If one person is doing all of these things and jumping through hoops and going to these appointments and getting poked and doing the ultrasounds and all of these things, and the other person is just, you know, waiting or just there, and it creates a lot of Resentment, it can create a lot of distance. And I find in my work, when both partners are on board, it can actually be something that connects you instead of drives a wedge between you, and it can make your relationship stronger because you're both actively working towards this goal. And we know that research shows if you're improving diet and lifestyle for egg quality, the same benefit can be seen in sperm quality as well. And I think we all want the. Bad, but I think we all want the best d n a, right? We all want, you know, our children to be healthy and happy, and if we can do anything ahead of time to make that happen, let's do it

Vanessa:

Yeah, absolutely.

Emily:

Do you ever, I'm curious, do you ever recommend some sort of preconception, like, so similar to how we'll take prenatal vitamins, like do you ever recommend the same thing for the male partner?

Whitney:

A hundred percent. I don't know any person who is eating perfect. I mean, some days you're gonna be eating kale, salad and salmon, and you'll be happy as a clam. And then sometimes you're gonna be at the bowling alley, drinking beer and eating nachos, and there's no perfect diet. And so if you can kind of cover, I, I like supplements because it fills in the gaps. It makes it so that you don't have to eat perfect and you don't have to eat liver every single day.

Emily:

That's like the answer whenever like, oh, there's a question in dietetics where it's like, what? Like substance has this nutrient this year. It's always liver, like

Whitney:

liver. It sucks. It's always liver

Emily:

It's.

Vanessa:

It really, really is. Also, I want to know, I don't know if anyone else struggles with this, but how do you get your husband to consistently take their supplements?

Whitney:

do you wanna hear what I do?

Vanessa:

Oh,

Whitney:

I lay, I lay them out. Like a child I put them all out and I put 'em on our butcher block and then I, like, mine are there and his are there and that's how, and I'm very, I'm lucky is the wrong word, but he's, he doesn't care. As long as they're like there, he'll take 'em. Just somebody has to get 'em out of the bottle.

Emily:

Oh wow. Okay. Okay, okay. I mean that's dedication and basically like moral destroy. Men just need to like really rise up and be more involved in like every single aspect. Yeah,

Vanessa:

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Emily:

Okay, great.

Vanessa:

do you have a couple of tips? I know you know, obviously normally you're working one-to-one with that female partner but do you have any tips diet-wise for male fertility for both, you know, conception and supporting a pregnancy to term?

Whitney:

Two that immediately come to mind are decreasing alcohol intake. That is a big one. Alcohol's big impact on your entire body, but specifically can injure sperm. They're delicate. The sperm, the sperms are very delicate and we gotta treat 'em with baby gloves. They don't like alcohol So that's one of the first places I look at because. I mean, it's a very social thing and I, I don't know a lot of couples who immediately. When the female gets pregnant, yes, we, we think, yes, you gotta cut out alcohol. That's not an option. But I don't think we think about that in terms of male fertility leading up to the pregnancy. And so decreasing alcohol intake and upping antioxidants, that's the name of the game because sperm are such a very simple structure. It makes it great for a travel and they move through the cervical mucus really well because it's such a simple structure, but it also makes it very prone to damage and. DNA damage is very, very common. And if you can increase your antioxidant intake, that's gonna help reduce some of that DNA damage with the free radicals. And so when we're talking about antioxidants, it's the dark leafy greens. It's the colorful fruits and veggies. It's turmeric, like the, if you think about like the bright, not Skittles, but things that are colored like Skittles, but come from nature. That's what we're looking for. That's the stuff that really helps fuel healthy sperm.

Vanessa:

Tasting the rainbow of nature, not of Skittles, maybe once in a while, tasting the rainbow of Skittles so I know we've talked a lot about male fertility at this point. And you kind of touched on something I think. Is really important, and I can't remember exactly how you worded it, but basically that you know, fertility is extra for your body. It's not something that your body needs to survive and it's kind of the first thing you're gonna throw away. And I think maybe that might be what you would tell people that they're overlooking the most, but what else do you think people are overlooking the most when it comes to fertility?

Whitney:

So I think for females, it's eating enough because we're constantly trying to make our bodies smaller and. Your fertility likes a little bit of lazy, it likes a little bit of cushion. It likes to feel really, really, your body needs to feel really safe and sure that you're gonna be feeding it and fueling it and help putting it to bed. It's like a toddler. Your body is a toddler and you're gonna treat it like that. That's how I want you to treat your body before you get pregnant. it. You have a regular bedtime, you get snacks, But I think eating enough is something we don't talk a whole lot about. And I also. Along the same lines, eating enough and not over exercising, not stressing your body out at the gym. I, I tend to I joke, I tend to attract very type A women. I think it's something in my voice but

Emily:

You're a dietician. Every, every dietician is.

Whitney:

Very type A and I tend to attract like-minded, like type women who are not, not doing anything. Most of the women I work with are doing everything. They're doing it all at once. They're going to Orange Theory five to six times a week. They're skipping breakfast, they're drinking a ton of coffee. They're working 60 hours a week. It's not because you're not doing enough, most of the time, it's doing too much. if that makes, I think I got off track on your question there, but

Emily:

No. that's everything. Because Vanessa and I constantly say that like no one is eating enough. Like I just had a client where we're like, oh, let's eat like three meals a day. You know, like, let's like work, work on that, you know? And they're like, oh my God. Like everything is, my life is so much better. It's like, whoa. It's so easy. Like sometimes the small decision, it's hard to like stop doing all this like wild, regimented things, but like when you really do kind of draw back and go into like the basics, it can be like the most powerful thing. And another thing, but as I was saying before, this is, it's like fertility. Yeah. Like it's a luxury, but it's like your body has to be, you know, in this really healthy state to get there sometimes. Right? Not, not all the times. it's like everybody can work on their fertility even when they're not getting pregnant and doing these things is gonna help you feel better and help your body function better overall. So even if like, you know, you're not trying to get pregnant, this is good information for everybody when it comes to balancing hormones.

Whitney:

And we all know that person who got pregnant, like and I, I joke like. It's not fair because there are people who can get pregnant at the drop of a hat. people who haven't eaten a decent meal in years. I would just like you to know anybody who's listening to those are the exceptions, not the rule. They are the stories you hear more often, but they're just, because they're out of the ordinary most people before they get pregnant, their body needs to feel very. And secure if you're feeling uneasy, if you are feeling unsafe, your system is gonna be more resistant to accepting a pregnancy or putting your body through that risk cuz it is a risk.

Emily:

Totally. And I think too you know, I'm curious, I know kind of what the conventional like Western medicine is, but you know, when do you think it's time for people to start thinking about their conception journey and like preconception? And when can we start to make these choices where it'll be impactful?

Whitney:

So a general rule of thumb is three months ahead of time, but if you're, have any, if you have any hormone irregularities. So if your cycle is not consistent, if you don't know if you're ovulating, if you haven't had a period in, you know, whoever who knows how long or if your periods are super painful or really, really heavy, those are indicators that you've got some hormone things going on. And I, I say at least six. If you, if you have any of those things happening, give yourself some time. Because if you have that happening and you're like, all right, I, I haven't had a period in, let's say six months but I wanna get pregnant next month. If you start trying right, then the odds of you actually succeeding you can, you may, crazy things happen every single day. Miracles, But when we look at the data, the odds of it happening are very low. And each month that you don't get pregnant, and this is something I don't think people talk enough about, you get a little bit crazier. So every month that it doesn't happen. It shakes your confidence, it shakes your mental stability, it shakes your self worth it, it changes your relationship. It's. It's very stressful. And so if we can do as much preparation ahead of time so that you are ready to go, your body is ready to go, that when you are ready to go, that's my ideal. If my pie in the sky, I, that would be what I like

Emily:

Yeah, no, that's, that's amazing. And I think too, you know, there's so many. I know a lot of times in conventional medicine it's like six months, like if it hasn't happened or then to a year, they're like, okay, thinking like once it's been a year, they're like, okay, like you have infertility and all of, you know, maybe we'll do a different intervention and everything. But it seems kind of confusing because everyone has such a different situation. So I'm curious what your thoughts are on all that.

Whitney:

I, I don't I don't like that I first, I wanna point out, I don't like the word infertility. Most there are true cases of infertility because if you look at the definition, it's the lack of ability to get pregnant. Most of the women I see luckily are dealing with something called subfertility or dis fertility, where they've got some hormone dysregulation going on of some kind. or some underlying autoimmune things or chronic inflammation or other things that are happening that are getting in the way of their ability to get pregnant. It's not that they can't, it's that there's something standing there. There's a barrier. And so we've gotta address that barrier. And what I find in conventional medicine is that they don't. look at that barrier, like at all it's a very quick diagnosis into infertility, unexplained infertility, and that's really a mind fuck because when someone tells you, you, you're infertile, it changes how you see yourself. It changes how you see your body. It changes your confidence in your ability to do this big giant thing that you wanna do. And so I'm very hesitant to follow those kind of guidelines that strictly. Yeah, I think that answered. Did that answer your question,

Emily:

Definitely, and I think, you know, I see it all the time in like my, like body image work with patients too, where it's like, you know, it's, there's so much shame around it. And I think that's kind of where like the, like you need to lose weight, like stems from, it's like, okay, like there's just, it's so much like blaming without like any help at all. Like there's no actual like, like action that you can do or lifeline or explanation, and it's just like, well, it must be something that like your body

Whitney:

you're broken. You are broken. Mm-hmm.

Vanessa:

Yeah. And I even when I think of it, like in terms of myself, If I were to, even given all the resources I have and things that I know, being a dietician and knowing about you, Whitney, I, if, if I went to the doctor and they said, you are infertile. Like, I feel like that message would just echo in my head even if I, you know, logically could say, okay, this might not be, you know, actual infertility. having someone say that to you, I can't imagine, like you said, I mean, basically just the mind fuck that you're in after that.

Whitney:

yep. It's very, it's very hard to feel confident after that. It's very hard to have faith that it's going to happen. And your stress levels. My goodness. Through the roof. Through the roof.

Vanessa:

I'm curious also I know you were kind of talking about a lot of times when clients are coming to you, maybe they're having more of issues of they're not actually ovulating. or I'm sure there's a lot of different reasons for why they're having a hard time conceiving, but is there something that you see most that is like, I see this all the time and this is like one of the top reasons I'm seeing people are not able to conceive and this is typically what's going on.

Whitney:

They're not ovulating. So many women are not ovulating. you can't get pregnant if there's no egg you can't. And so much mystery around their own ovulation and lack of information from their provider. And a lot of that same messaging we were just talking about, your body is broken. You're not able to ovulate. I have to give you this medication cuz that's the only way it's gonna happen. So much misinformation about that and the reasons why your body is not ovulating. There is a reason there. Most of the time, I can't say across the board because I, I have worked with cases that I would call like true infertility, like where their body is just. Not doing what we wanted to do, but also there's no underlying reason why it's not. But most of the time I, they've got a diagnosis of un unexplained infertility and they're just not ovulating. And I, I look at that as an ovulatory disorder more than just a true infertility case.

Vanessa:

I think we also discount how many women are not familiar with signs of ovulation and how to tell if they're ovulating. I was talking to a group of friends recently and they're like, I have no idea. And so then we like got into a little bit of a conversation about cervical mucus and they were like, wait, that's, that's why that's happening. And I was like, yes, but that's great that that's happening to you because you are But that also makes me think of Th this just kind of popped into my head because in that same con conversation we were talking about how so many people don't get this kind of information at all, even from your doctor. I know for me, I've been at the OB and. the OP one time asked me one, first they asked me if I was sexually active and then, which I'm married, which seems so, that kind of seemed like a weird question, but I was like, okay, whatever. But then they're like, so what are your plans? Like, you're not on birth control. What are your plans for preventing pregnancy? Like, you're not trying. And I was like, oh, you know, like I just, I, I tracked my cycles. they were like, what? What do you mean? Like, that's not good enough. And one, I wanted to be like, first it's kind of none of your business, but also how is that your best advice? Like you're just like trying to push me to be on birth control. It's very, very annoying that it's like we can't just maybe teach people like, this is how your cycle works. There are days that you cannot get pregnant.

Whitney:

most of the time. Most of the time

Emily:

Most of the time.

Vanessa:

right. So it's like, it, it's so crazy. And as I was telling my friends this too, they were like sharing stories with me they've had with their obese, and there was so many incidents of that, of just being like, Okay. Like, you know, well, we know how to prevent pregnancy with birth control really well conventionally it seems. But then when the tables are turned and it's like, oh, you wanna get pregnant, you never had the information about how to not get pregnant. And that translates really well to how to get pregnant.

Whitney:

You are, you hit the nail on the head. That's exactly what it is. We don't learn how to get pregnant. We're so busy talking about not getting pregnant, that when it comes time, it is like a crash course. It is intense when you first start digging into it, and it can be very overwhelming and infuriating.

Emily:

We had a friend of ours and I remember talking to this friend and they were like, yeah, you know, I think um, I like had unprotected sex, but like it's probably fine. And I was like, oh, okay. Like cool. And you know, like, where are you at in your cycle? She's like, oh, like pretty much right in the middle, like so it's like totally fine. And that's like your ovulation window. And I was like, Yeah. Like, so no,

Whitney:

no,

Emily:

like, you're not fine at all. Like yeah, like we shouldn't be taking this risk. Like we need to go get plan B, whatever. But it's like there's no other way to, to learn that. And I remember this person was like, damn, like I can't believe, like I, I didn't realize this or know this. And it's like, It's totally common and normal for people to have, you know, literally no idea about it because how would we know? There's no one to tell you that, okay, you have this ovulation window, middle-ish of your cycle that you know you can get pregnant during, and it's just, most people aren't aware of that unless they're actively trying to get pregnant.

Whitney:

Yep. I wasn't, I remember the very first time in college, my roommate who had gone through A natural family planning class in her church before she went to college. She was the one to tell me, I was like, 18. She was like, yeah, that mucus you get in the middle and it's like different than the rest of the mucus. And I was like, huh,

Emily:

Yeah, That's

Whitney:

Great. Thank you so much.

Vanessa:

Yeah, it's really, really good information to know. So what do you think, you've shared a lot of tips with us, but what do you think is the number one most impactful adjustment that people could start today to, you know, increase their chances of conceiving?

Whitney:

that is hard. I think that's hard to say across the board because everybody is dealing with such different issues. But I think the. The number one thing I would say is prioritizing your health and prioritizing yourself. And it's not selfish. You're not being a baby about it. You're not, you know, being a pain in the ass. If you wanna ask your doctor questions, if you want to ask or seek other providers to help you with that, help you out with this stuff. If you hire, support it, getting that knowledge and that support is huge and prioritizing yourself because you are. How do I, I joke with my clients like, you are the ship. You are the thing, you are the, you're the whole show. And so if you aren't where you need to be, everything, nothing else afterwards is going to work. So if you need to hire me, if you need to hire someone like me, if you need to hire a new doctor, you are not being a pain in the ass. It is so, so, so important.

Emily:

I love that. I feel like everyone has such a hard time with prioritizing themselves in general, and this is like such an important time for them to do that. So,

Whitney:

Well, I think we all know someone who got pregnant very easily, like myself in my first pregnancy. It did happen really easy. You would look at that situation and be like, that's the dream. That's what we should all want. Everybody wants to say, oh yeah, we, I got off birth control and I immediately got pregnant, or it just happened the first time. Everybody wants to have that story, but just because you can doesn't mean you should. Mm-hmm.

Vanessa:

I, I also think a lot of people have this false conception of, you know, maybe they went on birth control because they were having issues with their period and they think, oh, like birth control somehow corrected that. And so when I get off birth control, that same problem is not going to be there anymore. It's gonna be solved and I should be good to go. And we know that you. We're in a band-aid fix era in that birth control era. And I mean, maybe in some cases you did get older, you matured, some things evened out, but in a lot of cases you're just covering up the problem and it's unfortunately still

Whitney:

Very much so, and sometimes worse too because birth control can deplete some nutrients and create more problems later on, and it takes a while to get outta your system. I always say our bodies are pretty lazy. So if we hand feed it hormones for let's say 10 years, I was on birth control for 10 years. That 10 years happens fast. When you say it out loud, it's like, oh my gosh, 10 years. But. It's not, it can happen quickly. But when we're hand feeding our body hormones, our body's gonna let us do that. Like, it's gonna be like, all right, well, she's got this. I, I'm expecting the estrogen every month. I'm expecting the progesterone, whatever birth control you're on. And so it takes a while before our ovaries get the signal that, all right, we're not taking this anymore. We gotta start kicking up production our adrenal glands, all of these things. And so it's not, Sometimes after birth control and not always, this is not always the case, but sometimes it can take a while to get that cycle back and back in business.

Emily:

And it seems like too, a lot of the messaging from a physician might be like, oh, well you stopped taking it, it's gone. And that's totally fine. Like it's out of your system, whatever. And even if it's out of your system, it doesn't mean that your system has booted back up and is doing its job.

Whitney:

Well, and for a lot of women, they have been on birth control since they were 14, 15, since they started having maybe menstrual cycle issues. And then you decide to have a baby at, let's say it's 34 or 35, that's 20 year. Your body has never actually. Had a natural cycle in your adult life. And so when we go from like basically shutting the door on our fertility for that long and then asking your body to do this ju the biggest work of its life, it growing another human is a big, big deal. And so it's just, it's a big ask. It's a big ask to go from nothing to everything

Emily:

Yeah,

Vanessa:

That's such a good point. Do you have like an amount of time you typically tell people if you're thinking of getting pregnant or wanting to get pregnant, you should get off birth control at least this much time ahead of time.

Whitney:

at least three months because I also, I understand the benefits of birth control too. I thank birth control because it got me through grad school. It got me through all the things that I need, the things I needed to do to get to this place. I am not anti birth control. I just want us to know what it is and what it's doing and how to, how to use it as a tool basically. And so ideally, well, at least three months, I would say I, if I had my pie in the sky. If you are in a position to do this, if it, is it like a, a, a piece of your life, that is a possibility. And not everybody has this, depending on where you're at, if you're in school, if you're not financially ready, whatever a year. I, I like to see it, it a year if we can, but I know not all of us have that. Flex.

Emily:

Yeah, definitely a privilege for sure. But it's, it's nice to hear because I think a lot of people are just kind of taking it to take it and don't really fully understand the impact. So

Whitney:

Yep. I'm definitely, I ride both fences. I see the benefits and I see the downsides. I just want each woman to know what's, what it is that they're doing when they're using it.

Emily:

And one other thing I was kind of curious about any sort of, and as a yoga teacher, I'm also a prenatal yoga teacher actually. And there's certain things that we talk about within yoga that, you know, are positive for pregnancy or might be not so positive for pregnancy, but any exercise that people should avoid when they're trying to conceive.

Whitney:

I don't have anything that I'm like, you absolutely can't do this. It's how much you're doing it and how intensely you're doing it. That's what I look at. So if you really love intense workouts, I made a, I made a reference to Orange Theory but you, you can absolutely, absolutely do the workouts you wanna do, but maybe not at the same intensity that you were doing them before. So if you like something intense, like an orange theory workout or a CrossFit workout, let's tone it back a bit. Let's dial down the intensity. Maybe don't look up at that board and compare yourself to every other person there and try and beat them your body again. Stress, physical stress. Even physical stress that you put it through, that you're doing intentionally, that gives you benefit at the end. It is a stressor on your system. And so with fertility workouts, what I say is not necessarily the type, it's the intensity. So if we can tone this down and I do love incorporating more of the slow exercises like yoga Pilates, stretching, getting more into your body instead of punishing it. We're not, we don't wanna move into that punishment era if you're trying to work out harder. So you can get into a smaller gene size or make sure you're toned all of. The reasons behind your workouts if you're trying to conceive, are actually shifting. You are working out and moving your body to improve hormonal health, to keep yourself strong so you can do this big work. It's not the same conventional reasons. Maybe all of us have been taught growing up as to why we need to work out all the time. I don't know if that makes sense. Did that answer your question?

Emily:

a hundred percent, yes.

Vanessa:

So to kind of wrap us up here Whitney, what do you think is like an ideal time for a client to come to you or a fertility dietician like yourself. When is the best time do you think they could come to.

Whitney:

I would, if I had my pie in the sky, I would see people before they've started trying, because like I said, every month that it's not happening gets a little bit more, adds a little bit more stress to your plate. And so if we can get some of these things hormonally lined up and get you feeling, you know, strong and healthy and get that mental piece, that mindset piece in there as. before you've actually started trying to conceive. It's going to eliminate a lot of stress in that process now. With that said, no one does that because we don't know there's an issue. We aren't taught. We've spent a lot of time today talking about the lack of information about our bodies, and because we have such a lack of information, you're not aware. If there is a problem. And so I don't, I, I joke around a lot. I'm like the last stop on the fertility train. Usually people have already seen their doctor, they've already probably explored some fertility medications. They're possibly have already done some iis. Usually I get a call when I v s starts to be on the table. And that's fine. I think also it's really important to do this work when you're. If you're not ready to make some changes, if you're not, if you're not quite there, I never want someone to hire me before they're ready to actually do the thing. And so I think it's a, I'm, if I could look at like the timeline, it'd be before you get pregnant, but I am happy when someone is just ready to, you know, maybe shift gears and dig into a little bit more of like the groundwork of fertility. So, yeah, that was a roundabout answer. I

Emily:

No, it's, it's perfect. It's perfect. And if people were interested in working with you, you are accepting,

Whitney:

Yes, I am. Mm-hmm.

Emily:

If people were interested in working with you or wanna follow you on social media, where can they find you?

Whitney:

You can find me on Instagram and TikTok at the Fertility Nut. My website the fertility nut.com. I have a free Find Your Fertile Path quiz, which is always a great place to start because you wanna, first, you gotta figure out which direction you're going in and so that's a wonderful place to start. I also have a fueling fertility Master. That I'm going to be opening up very soon. I am currently working on it. Actually, after I get off this call, I have to finish putting together those slides. But that's gonna be coming out. It is three secrets you're not gonna get from your O B G Y N. So if you liked the information in this podcast, that's gonna be, I'm, I am so excited for it. Like, as I, you know, when you're working on something and you're just like, oh, damn, this is good. That is how I feel about this masterclass.

Emily:

Oh, that's amazing. And I feel like, you know, as a fellow provider who's very passionate, like you can really just hear that when you listen to, when you talk about it, obviously.

Whitney:

I think it's cause I talk a lot with my hands.

Emily:

yeah, if you could see her, you're like, your face lights up in the same way that like Vanessa and I does about our fields of interest in dietetics too. So it's it's really cool to see that and witness that too.

Whitney:

Yep.

Vanessa:

Yes. Thank you so much for joining us today, Whitney. Hopefully everyone found this super informational, learned a lot. And go check out Whitney on Instagram. She's has a ton of great information there.

Whitney:

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me,

Emily:

thank you.