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My wife and I have six beautiful children, but they didn’t all come without a few scary moments. After our fourth child, my wife had three miscarriages in a row. They were all between 2-4 months along, so they were more like three mini-deliveries.
After going to one specialist after another, no one had an answer as to why my wife was miscarrying. I found an OB/GYN in Boston who had a theory that after an initial miscarriage, during the next pregnancy, the fetus may be viewed by the immune system as a foreign invader growing in the womb and that progesterone, which suppresses the immune system, should be kept high throughout the second trimester.
Of course, this was heresy to the MD’s in Boulder and Denver, and after my wife got pregnant with our fifth child, I couldn’t find a doctor who would test progesterone levels after the first month of pregnancy. This Boston doctor’s theory made sense to me. Progesterone is an immune suppressor during pregnancy, and if the uterus was particularly sensitive to a growing fetus as a result of an earlier miscarriage, an overzealous immune response could be the trigger for a miscarriage. (1-5)
The other factor that we look at in all infertility issues, Ayurvedically, is the amount of stress and exhaustion one is under. Pregnancy is a nesting time, and if the body is exhausted (as my wife probably was after being pregnant or nursing for ten years straight), the body needs a break – or as it turned out, a boost. (6,7)
Many women come to me with infertility issues, and one of the first things I evaluate are their stress levels. Are they working 60 hours a week? Have they planned financially for a baby? Have they planned to make the time needed to care for a baby? How is the relationship between the husband and wife? I often see relationships that are hoping a baby will bring them closer together. Have they made space to nest and convinced their body that it is safe to be in a vulnerable, calm and resting place to have this baby? If the body is under stress, the hormones required to become and stay pregnant are compromised. (8-11)
Excess stress will command the body to make excessive cortisol to fight the stress. The adrenals are then forced to figure out a way to deliver the needed stress hormones. The body will often usurp hormones like progesterone and testosterone to make the needed cortisol, leaving the reproductive hormones depleted. (12-14)
Once the progesterone and testosterone are depleted, this often leaves what the body perceives as an elevated estrogen level. This sometimes (but not always) allows women to get pregnant, but without adequate progesterone, as in my wife’s case, there is not enough progesterone needed to maintain the pregnancy. I often see women who are trying to get pregnant are also complaining of a depleted or lack of sex drive. This can also be due to a lack of testosterone that may have been caused by excess stress, and the testosterone being used to support cortisol production. (15)
In my wife’s case, to prepare her for her next pregnancy, I gave her a powerful ojas-rebuilding plan, which included two ojas-building and reproductive-supporting herbs, shatavari – which is often translated as “she who possesses 100 husbands” based on the many ways it supports the female reproductive system – and ashwagandha, which is often translated as the “strength of ten horses” for its deeply nourishing and stabilizing capacities. I also gave her LifeSpa’s Ojas Nightly Tonic in warm milk twice a day, which includes organic dates, organic almond meal, organic coconut, cardamom, organic ashwagandha, organic shatavari, organic turmeric, saffron, and rosemary extract for freshness. We added ghee and raw honey to her tonic for a nourishing, delicious, and ojas-building drink.
We also used a topical progesterone cream from the health food store as directed, and without any complications, totally against every doctor’s advice to attempt more children, my wife carried and delivered our fifth and then our sixth beautiful baby. The sixth was our second breach baby, and my wife delivered her at home at 43 years old. She is a superhero!
How have excessive, exhaustive stress levels played a role in your health and life? How did you balance the situation?
It’s best to take shatavari and ashwagandha prior to getting pregnant in preparation for a healthy pregnancy. I do not advise to take any herbs or supplements during pregnancy unless under the guidance of your doctor.