Supporting Your Follicular Phase to Boost Fertility
I’ve been aligning to my cycle phases for a couple years now but this is the first time I’m doing it with the purpose of supporting my fertility top of mind. I’m assuming if you’re reading this, that you too are in the stage of life of prepping for pregnancy. Which is exciting and scary all at the same time!
While there are many things we can’t control when it comes to pregnancy, there’s actually a lot we can control: taking proper supplementation, eating foods that promote fertility, managing our stress levels, reducing toxic exposure & supporting our partner’s sperm (if you’re getting pregnant with a male partner). So in today’s blog we’re going to be chatting about 2 foods you can incorporate in your follicular phase that will greatly support your fertility.
(Ps. If you’re not familiar with the 4 phases of your menstrual cycle, check out my previous blog for a more in depth overview on them.)
Your Follicular Phase is the phase right after your menstrual phase and is the most variable time, length wise, of your cycle.
Because like I mentioned before, the day you ovulate can shift based on your internal & external environment. Which will affect the length of your follicular phase since ovulation comes right after follicular. (which is why supporting your follicular phase directly supports your fertility & ovulation)
Generally, this phase will be anywhere between 7-15ish days long, give or take. Again this all depends on when you ovulate, which is why tracking your cycle is so crucial. We won’t know what phase we’re in if we don’t properly track it.
From a hormonal perspective, this is when your estrogen & testosterone levels are rising in preparation for ovulation. (note: Progesterone isn’t on the scene yet which is why your metabolism is naturally slower in this phase. Progesterone increases your metabolic rate).
This increase in estrogen & testosterone will cause your energy levels to increase. When you start paying attention to it, you’ll notice an awakening feeling in your body & mind once you come out of the menstrual phase cocoon & into the follicular phase.
Seasonally, the follicular phase is like Spring. Just like the flowers begin to grow in the Spring, your hormone levels begin to increase in the follicular phase.
Why Supporting Your Cycle Phases Matters
Since our hormones are chemical messengers that travel through our bloodstream, they have a direct effect on everything in our body (not just our fertility).
Which is why you won’t feel the same every day: your energy, mood, desires, metabolism, blood sugar levels, cortisol levels & nutrient needs fluctuate based on where your hormone levels are at...
When you start incorporating specific foods and nutrients & doing certain workouts based on where your hormone levels are, you support your fertility in a BIG way.
The importance of Estrogen for Fertility & Conception
As I mentioned above, in your follicular phase your estrogen and testosterone levels are rising in preparation for ovulation. Estrogen is the sex hormone that produces cervical mucus.
Cervical Mucus is required for pregnancy in 3 specific ways:
- Cervical Mucus is what carries the sperm to the egg for fertilization.
- Cervical Mucus creates the perfect environment for the sperm to stay alive while also filtering out abnormal sperm.
- It keeps sperm alive for 5-6 days so you could have sex on Monday & not ovulate until Friday and still get pregnant.
Cervical Mucus is REQUIRED for pregnancy.
Estrogen is also the hormone that builds up the uterine lining so implantation can happen. Without healthy estrogen levels, you won’t have a thick enough uterine lining for pregnancy to occur.
Estrogen gets a bad rap but we NEED sufficient estrogen levels in our follicular phase to get pregnant. One way to do this is to eat specific nutrients & foods in your follicular phase that support your rising estrogen levels.
Here are 2 simple ways you can boost your fertility by supporting your follicular phase:
- Eating pumpkin seeds &/or flaxseeds daily from day 1 of your cycle until right after you ovulate*. The phytoestrogens in these seeds support your increasing estrogen levels in a gentle way. Pumpkin seeds are also loaded with zinc which is a nutrient required for your ovaries to function properly. *Check out this podcast episode on Seed Cycling to learn more about how you can properly incorporate these seeds into your regimen*
- Avocados! Avocados support estrogen & testosterone production. They’re loaded with omega 3 fatty acids (as are seeds) which promote fertility & helps increase cervical mucus production. They also have a high amount of b vitamins which not only supports fertility but your overall hormonal balance. Have a half to a full avocado a day in your follicular phase to support that cervical mucus production and load up on omega 3’s.
*I do recommend supplementing with omega 3 on top of eating omega 3 rich foods. It’s difficult to get the therapeutic range required of omega 3 from food alone.
I’ll be writing another blog post on how to support your luteal phase for optimal fertility & pregnancy so stay tuned!
Mind Your Hormones
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