How to Conceive: Natural Fertility Aids

A Baby: The End Result of Successful Conception

A baby: the process of trying to conceive is extremely difficult for some women. Natural supplements to help fertility may be a first step in trying to conceive.
A baby: the process of trying to conceive is extremely difficult for some women. Natural supplements to help fertility may be a first step in trying to conceive. | Source

Natural Methods for Conception

Many women struggle with irregular cycles, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and other disorders that affect fertility.Trying to conceive can be an extremely difficult process, which is emotionally exhausting and can be extremely expensive once medical assistance is required.

Natural fertility aids are often a first step for women who have identified a problem with conceiving, but are not quite ready to see a reproductive endocrinologist yet. Soy isoflavones and Vitex are common aids that may be purchased at any drugstore. Other methods are described below. Many herbal fertility enhancements have not been formally studied (with the exception of Vitex), so discuss any potential fertility remedy with a physician prior to use.

Soy Isoflavones for Trying to Conceive

Soy isoflavones are known as "nature's clomid." Soy mimics the behavior of the hormone estrogen, and many women use it to jump-start and regulate their ovulation patterns. Many women state their irregular cycles were made more regular (with a consistent ovulation pattern) with the use of soy isoflavones.

There are no official research studies on the proper dosage of soy, though most women take between 80-160mg in the early part of their cycle to trigger ovulation. Most tablets (sold by department stores) have a dosage of 40mg. Women will take 2-4 tablets each day for a few days prior to ovulation: days 1-5, 3-7, or 5-9 of their cycle. Women who try soy isoflavones to conceive should understand the following:

  • Do not take soy isoflavones and vitex (chasteberry) at the same time.
  • Do not take soy isoflavones if you have a regular cycle.
  • Do not initiate soy isoflavones past day 5 of your cycle.
  • Never take more than 160mg of soy, and do not take it for more than 5 days in a row.
  • Do not use soy if you have endometriosis, as this may worsen the condition.

Soy taken earlier in the cycle (days 1-5) will produce more eggs, though they may be immature at ovulation. Soy taken during the later part of the cycle (days 5-9) will produce fewer eggs, but they will be more mature. Most women strive for the middle ground and use the soy isoflavones during days 3-7 of their cycle. Women trying for twins often attempt to use soy during days 1-5 of their cycle.

Pregnancy Prep Vitamins for Conception

Vitanica Pregnancy Prep , Reproductive System Support, 60  Vegetarian Capsules
Vitanica Pregnancy Prep , Reproductive System Support, 60 Vegetarian Capsules

Pregnancy Prep vitamins contain the proper dosage of Vitex (0.6% aucubin) and is commonly used by women trying to conceive with natural fertility aids.

 

Vitex (Chasteberry) as a Conception Aid

Many women swear by Vitex, another natural herb that helps to regulate menstrual cycles and produce a more consistent ovulation pattern. The common name of the plant is chaste berry, and women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) report success with this herb.

Vitex slightly inhibits follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), but increases luteinizing hormone (LH). This increases the amount of progesterone in the body, and helps to correct problems in the luteal phase. Many "fertility vitamins" include vitex in the formulation.

Vitex is typically taken as a tincture (drops into water) or in pill form. The dosage (according to the University of Michigan) is 40 drops of liquid extract with water, or 35-40 mg of vitex powder in capsule form. It may take several months for the Vitex to regulate a woman's menstrual cycle.

Chaste berry should be discontinued as soon as a woman becomes pregnant.

Vitex Success Story

Pineapple Core to Conceive - Potential Danger

Immature pineapple has been used to cause intentional miscarriage in some countries: pineapple core has not been studied for its safety or efficacy in trying to conceive.
Immature pineapple has been used to cause intentional miscarriage in some countries: pineapple core has not been studied for its safety or efficacy in trying to conceive. | Source

Pineapple Core and Implantation

An old wives' tale states that if a woman eats pineapple core, it will help the fertilized egg to implant in the womb. The reasoning behind this natural fertility aid is the presence of high levels of bromelain in the core of a pineapple.

Bromelain is an enzyme that digests protein and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. The belief is that the anti-inflammatory properties will help an embryo to implant. Some women take bromelain tablets instead of eating pineapple core.

There is a complete lack of studies on the efficacy and safety of bromelain in pregnancy, however, and bromelain has also been shown to cause uterine contractions. Too much bromelain may actually prevent a pregnancy, as the uterus may contract too much and expel the embryo. Under-ripe pineapple is actually used to perform abortions in some countries.

Since there are no studies demonstrating the proper dosage, safety, or efficacy of pineapple core in conception, this natural fertility aid is probably best avoided.

Maca Root Powder

Powder from Lepidium meyenii, or maca root, is a common herbal supplement used by women trying to conceive.
Powder from Lepidium meyenii, or maca root, is a common herbal supplement used by women trying to conceive. | Source

Maca Root for Fertility

Maca root is another natural supplement women use when trying to conceive. It is the root to a perennial plant native to Peru. A double-blind study demonstrated benefits to male reproductive health when maca root was ingested1.

When women take use maca root, they usually ingest it in the form of powder contained in capsules. The typical dosage is 2,000-3,000mg per day. This supplement is taken throughout the entire cycle. Maca root should be discontinued once a women becomes pregnant.



1Gonzales, GF; Cordova A., Gonzales C., Chung A., Vega K. & Villena A. (2001). "Lepidium meyenii (maca) improved semen parameters in adult men". Asian Journal of Andrology 3 (4): 301–3.

Maca Root Fertility Treatment

Red Raspberry Leaf

Red raspberry leaf is also known for regulating menstrual cycles, and is often used in conjunction with vitex as a natural conception aid. While there are some anecdotal stories supporting its use, red raspberry leaf is also known to cause uterine contractions (which would not help a new embryo to implant into the uterine lining).

Women who use red raspberry leaf tea when trying to conceive generally consume the tea in the first part of their cycle, prior to ovulation. Once ovulation has occurred, the tea is discontinued.

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Comments 10 comments

StandingJaguar profile image

StandingJaguar 4 years ago from Colorado

Interesting hub, I have not heard of most of these. Your soy section was a little confusing though: the bullets seemed to contradict what you say a couple sentences before. Women having trouble conceiving might also want to start charting with Fertility Awareness; then they will have a better idea on whether these supplements are improving their cycles without always having to play the blind waiting game!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

StandingJaguar, which bullet point is contradictory with regard to the soy isoflavones?

Fertility charting is a fantastic tool for women who are trying to conceive. Fertility Friend is a great site and has a mobile app. Charting Basal Body Temperature is a great way to determine when ovulation has occurred, and may help women pinpoint a specific problem with their attempts to conceive (short luteal phase, lack of ovulation, irregular cycles, etc.).


StandingJaguar profile image

StandingJaguar 4 years ago from Colorado

You know what, I just checked and it turns out I just misread it! You said "do not INITIATE soy after day 5" but I read "do not TAKE after day 5". So sorry! I agree with your last bit; FA is my #1 hub topic.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

I did have an edit shortly after publishing, StandingJaguar - so I wonder if the older version was up for a while? That is definitely possible!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

This is a wonderful hub post for women who wish to conceive. I love the natural approach, it's the best method for anything. Soy certainly has a lot of benefits for women and not just for conception. I guess it has something to do with the hormonal balance. Interesting fact on the myth of pineapples. Voted up!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

Soy acts on estrogen receptors, so it can help regulate cycles, Teaches12345. I prefer natural methods when possible - though some women will need medical help to achieve a pregnancy, sometimes Vitex or Soy Isoflavones are enough to jump start ovulation!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona

Wow, I had never heard of any of these natural fertility aids. Much less expensive and invasive than medical fertility treatments. Certainly worth a try for women having trouble conceiving. Great Hub, Leah!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

I like the natural route when it works, lindacee! It's certainly worth a shot - it's cheap and something you can do at home. Thanks for the comment!


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

The process of trying to conceive through medications and self-administered shots bis a terrible thing to go through.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

I agree, Lipnancy. I was fortunate to conceive naturally after a year of trying, though I have many friends who have gone through infertility treatments. It is a grueling process - sometimes necessary, and my heart goes out to all women who brave the needles, medical procedures, and intense amounts of stress to bring their little ones into the world.

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