I admit, I didn’t think much about my fertility when I was a teenager except to be annoyed once a month…but like many girls, I envisioned my life as a mom and fully expected it to happen with ease.
In our world today, plenty of women don’t get to live that dream and suffer through heart-wrenching infertility.
Fertility expert Dr. Aumatma joins us today to talk about why we should be talking to our teens about their fertility and how a “fertility lifestyle” really begins with the habits we form even for our little kids.
This interview is fascinating and will help every mama out there get a different perspective on healthy eating and raising kids. We cover:
- Why infertility is so much higher than it used to be
- Why teens should care about their fertility
- How fertility and cycle knowledge can empower teens (and adult women!) to live their best lives and even avoid PMS outbursts
- Some interventions to try if cramps and other menstrual-related issues are “ruining your life!” (that’s teenager speak, of course ;))
- What mamas can do to stop feeling exhausted and ditch the sugar cravings (and no, don’t worry, the advice isn’t just “get more sleep”)
- The most important habit to set for your kids starting at birth (which will ultimately impact their fertility but also a lot of their health choices in the future)
Can’t see the video? View Healthy Fertility for Life on YouTube here.
No time for the video? Here are the notes!
Healthy Fertility for Life
- 0:31: Today I have Dr. Aumatma with me on the Healthy Parenting Connector and we’re doing something a little bit different and talking about fertility. We’ll talk about living a fertility lifestyle and setting your teens and tweens up for healthy fertility in adulthood.
- 1:53: Dr. Aumatma tells us how she became interested in fertility as a specialty.
I found that there was a difference between what research was finding and what doctors and the media were telling women regarding their fertility. -Dr. Aumatma Shah
- 4:45: At Dr. Aumatma’s clinic, couples under 38 experiencing infertility have an 80% success rate having a baby after working with her! That’s huge!
- 5:15: Dr. Aumatma takes a different approach from most fertility specialists. The end goal is not “you will have a baby” but rather “let’s optimize your fertility” and the by-product of that is usually a baby!
Why is Infertility on the Rise?
- 7:23: I’m one of the only women I know who hasn’t struggled with infertility or had a miscarriage. Why are so many more people struggling in this way? It’s heartbreaking for so many couples.
- 8:15: There are studies that show how air pollution can lower fertility. Here’s the air filter I recommend.
- 8:41: Mold exposure from your house can lower fertility as well. There are many external, environmental factors that can have an impact on our fertility.
- 8:58: Food quality and nutrient density are huge when it comes to optimizing fertility. Diet trends tend to start out great but as it becomes popular convenient processed products hit the shelves. You can be eating gluten-free or paleo to be more healthy and still reaching for processed convenience food all day. Just eat real food!
Does Birth Control Balance Hormones?
- 11:15: The use of hormonal birth control has been shown to negatively impact fertility and it’s become very common for teens to be put on birth control to “support” their hormones. When they’re ready to have a baby in their late-20s, they might have been on the pill for 10-15 years and their fertility is not where it needs to be.
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- 12:40: If a teen is struggling with a hormonal issue and the intention is to help fix that, hormonal birth control is not the answer. It is masking symptoms that will come back later. The solution is to balance hormones now to set her up for healthy hormones, healthy periods, and healthy fertility when she’s ready to get pregnant.
- 12:56: When you shut down a body system for 10+ years, it’s not strange when it doesn’t pop right back into working order immediately. Many couples are surprised if they don’t immediately get pregnant, but it can take some time and some healing to get your fertility back on track if you’ve been suppressing it for over a decade.
- 14:05: Past generations weren’t dealing with the toxic burden we have today and they had a very different cultural mindset regarding babies and starting families. People are waiting longer to have children, women want to focus on their careers before having a baby, and in the process, they’re making it harder to have those babies when they are ready.
Talking to Teens About Healthy Fertility
- 15:39: Teens tend to be in the moment so they probably aren’t thinking about their future fertility. So how can we help set our kids up for healthy adulthood?
- 17:15: Many girls aren’t taught how to connect with what’s happening to their body as they reach puberty. Periods are shoved under the rug as something to deal with and hide, not something that gives you clues into your overall health. Having a healthy reproductive system and balanced hormones isn’t seen as a part of general health, but just a necessity if and when you’re ready to have kids.
- 18:39: For parents of teenage girls, encourage them to understand their cycles and know what is happening to their bodies. Teach them how to work with the natural rythym of their cycle.
- 19:23: You can even encourage your daughter to live in the pattern of her cycle. Dr. Aumatma has a great analogy to the 4 seasons as they relate to the phases of the menstural cycle. You can read more about living in flow with your cycle here.
Nobody is empowering young women with this information about their cycles. -Dr. Aumatma Shah
- 22:19: Our teens don’t know how their moods might shift through their cycle or how “PMS” symptoms can be signs that something deeper is wrong physically. There’s so much knowledge we can gain about ourselves by understanding our cycles better.
Common Period Problems and Solutions
- 24:21: How do we address hormone balance, cramps and PMS with our teens when society and doctors are telling them that birth control is the solution? Many teens who are on birth control just don’t know what else to do for these problems.
- 27:42: While there is a lot of individuality, there are some general steps girls can take to alleviate cramps and PMS symptoms. Dairy and sugar are often two big culprits for hormonal imbalance. (More on dairy and inflammation and more problems with excessive sugar here.) I have a post about 5 causes of heavy periods and what you can do about it.
- 31:08: When Dr. Aumatma says to cut sugar, she recommends cutting all sugar out for several months to see how you feel. Then you can bring in small amounts of natural sweeteners and see how you do. You need to find your own balance point.
- 33:14: Living a fertile lifestyle means living a life of vitality and that applies to everyone not just women during their child-bearing years. Regularly reflect on basic foundations of health: Am I getting enough sleep? Am I drinking enough water? Am I eating clean, real food? Am I processing stress and emotions or letting it fester?
- 36:16: Getting quality sleep is the top priority for hormone balance. Managing stress is the number 2 priority. Here are some tips for getting better quality sleep and ways you can start to master your stress today.
Supporting Healthy Hormones for Mom
- 38:49: We talk about you mamas for a little bit now. I know many of you are postpartum or even a bit past that, but you’re just exhausted because your hormones are out of whack. It can take several years postpartum to really get past the hormonal fluctuations caused by having a baby and sleep disruptions. Supporting your adrenals is huge! Read more about supporting your adrenals here.
- 40:13: You can find the adrenal reset diet here. It’s more about when you eat what rather than what you eat. Focus on protein at breakfast, protein, and vegetables at lunch, and complex carbs at dinner. This is a pretty sustainable eating system since you aren’t cutting out all carbs or grains like many other diet systems.
- 42:35: There’s evidence from Traditional Chinese Medicine that if we separate our carbs and protein we digest them better.
- 43:33: We might not be talking to our young kids about food affecting fertility, but we can be setting them up with healthy habits to last a lifetime. Dr. Aumatma gives her number one habit that moms can work on with kids of all ages.
Sleep is the foundation of everything else. -Dr. Aumatma Shah
- 45:15: Getting enough, quality sleep is vital to other areas of health. We’re more likely to eat healthily, move our bodies enough and have a clear mind to focus when we sleep well. Get super practical, helpful advice for coaching your kids to sleep without leaving them to cry alone.
Resources for Healthy Fertility
- Dr. Aumatma’s book: Fertility Secrets
- Work with Dr. Aumatma
- My recommended air filter
- Removing toxins from your home environment
- Stress mastery for busy moms
- Begin mastering your stress and make stress your BFF
- There’s tons of info on balancing hormones in the series on balancing women’s hormones starting here
- Who needs to eliminate dairy?
- Solutions for heavy periods
- The Adrenal Reset Diet
- Balance your adrenals with food
- More interviews on sleep:
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector
2. Try a Free Preview of my Cooking Class for Kids
Our members’ favorite lesson is always our 10-minute knife skills and safety class, teaching techniques with unique & memorable phrases from butter knives to chef’s knives (ages 2-teen). Take a peek here and try it out with your kids.
3. Enroll in the Online Cooking Course for Kids:
About Katie Kimball
Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.
Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.
A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.