This is a question my clients ask all the time. Ovulation is so crucial when it comes to conception because without it, pregnancy is impossible. It sounds like such an obvious thing to say, but it’s something women often miss on this journey.
If you are ovulating, then you are more likely to have a good supply of progesterone. This is important because progesterone makes us feel good. It’s the hormone that has a calming effect on us, some people even refer to it as a ‘natural anti-depressant’.
If you are not ovulating, then you won’t be producing anywhere near enough progesterone. Firstly, this can lead to emotions like anxiety, irritability and depression but also, we need a good amount of progesterone to balance oestrogen. If we don’t this can lead to oestrogen dominance or add to it.
The corpus luteum (the name given to the egg released at ovulation), rapidly develops for 24 hours and then produces progesterone for the female body throughout the luteal phase. Because the corpus luteum develops at such a rapid rate, it needs an abundance of nutrients for energy (carbs), structure (protein), stability and hormone production (fats) as well as an incredibly high number of vitamins and minerals.
When we ovulate, it is symbolic that our reproductive organs have worked hard to synchronise with our brain and nervous system.
As I’ve said before, our body doesn’t prioritise reproduction and ovulation. I would go as far as to say that it’s at the very bottom of our bodies priority list. Ovulation will only happen if nutrients are abundant, to provide the resources to do its job well without cutting corners.
When we do ovulate, we want to have an ovulation that makes us enough progesterone to last for at least 11-14 days. Some women may be ovulating but not having quite enough progesterone causing issues like luteal phase defect (a luteal phase that lasts less than 11 days).
Signs of low progesterone in our luteal phase include:
- Issues balancing blood sugar i.e. feeling hangry
- Often feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious and worried
- Not sleeping well
- Low body temperature readings
- Moodiness, irritability & rage
- Tender and or swollen breasts
- PMS symptoms
- Having strong ovulation requires nutrients and energy. We don’t ovulate well when we don’t nourish ourselves well.
How to make more progesterone and have stronger ovulation:
Eat enough energy
So many women are not eating enough and don’t even know it. For example, if you are of average height, do low to moderate exercise and have an average amount of stress in your life you should be eating between 2200-2400 calories per day. Most women are not (please note this will vary on your current height, weight, exercise regime, stress level etc).
To understand how many calories you are currently eating, use an app like chronometer. I recommend using it on the laptop or computer rather than a phone. Cronometer not only tells you how many calories you are eating but also calculates your macros and individual nutrients. So for example, you can see at a glance how much folate you are eating from your food, or Vitamin B6 etc. All you have to do is input what you are eating each day. It’s really interesting. Click here for Cronometer.
Always eat a combination of protein, carbs and fat with every meal or snack
Many women are not eating enough protein. Even more so, women are cutting out carbs which is bad news. I recommend getting about 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. For example, a 100 lb person should be eating 100g protein. This will help balance blood sugar. And as always, eat a combination of protein, carbs and fat in each meal and the snacks you consume throughout the day.
Make time to rest!
Busy is worn like a badge of honour these days and stress levels are at their highest. Let’s change the narrative and celebrate rest instead. Schedule it in your diary if you have to, it’s as important as the food you eat, the air you breathe and the sleep you get, don’t forget about it.
Eat plenty of bioavailable minerals and vitamins
Carbs from nutrients like honey, good quality dairy, fruits and root vegetables. Protein from organic meats, dairy, eggs, organ meats, gelatinous foods and seafood. Fats from raw organic butter, ghee, coconut oil, cream and tallow are all nourishing on so many levels.
Get plenty of sleep, daylight on your skin and movement regularly
I recommend you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. You should also get outside in the morning light (even in the winter) as it not only helps with vitamin D levels but also regulates your circadian rhythm which influences hormone balance. Moving regularly also supports good hormone balance. Keep it gentle as some cardiovascular exercises like HIIT classes cause you to release cortisol and adrenalin which will negatively impact your reproductive hormones.
Managing stress well
Becoming aware of both internal and external stressors and taking steps to reduce them. This will also support good hormone balance.
Use individualised homeopathic remedies from a qualified practitioner
Seeing a homeopath and being prescribed individualised homeopathic remedies can be helpful for enabling your body to prioritise ovulation again. Especially if you have tried putting all the recommendations above in place but you are still not sure if you are ovulating or feel that your ovulation needs to be stronger.
Regular, strong ovulations, nourishment and fertility are all interconnected and not separate from one another.
The link between blood sugar, ovulation, and progesterone:
Progesterone plays a key role in how we respond to blood sugar and blood sugar plays a role in how we respond to progesterone. It has a thyroid supportive effect, which is why it warms the body up after ovulation and keeps our body temperature elevated until we start our period.
Our thyroid hormone plays a role in insulin sensitivity and how our cells retain and hold onto nutrients. But what many women don’t know is that stress hormones can dictate how we respond to progesterone.
When adrenaline is high, the cells cannot respond to progesterone appropriately.
Therefore good blood sugar balance (getting both enough carbs and proteins) is imperative to regulate hormonal health.
We could be making or taking all the progesterone in the world and not be receiving any benefit as our blood sugar is all over the place.
Dr Katharine Dalton is quoted for saying in her book called once a month:
“Progesterone receptors cannot transport or bind to a molecule of progesterone if there has been a drop in blood sugar” and “progesterone receptors do not transport progesterone molecules into the nucleus of cells if adrenaline is present”
“We must have a stable blood sugar level, and for that, we insist that patients use the three-hourly starch diet. The ideal is that they should eat in a way that does not cause a drop in the blood sugar because a drop in the blood sugar will stop the utilization of progesterone for seven days.”
How do you know if your ovulation is strong enough?
This is a very good question. A new product that’s recently come out helps you to measure your progesterone (PDG) level post-ovulation at home to confirm that a strong enough ovulation has taken place. The strips are called Proov, which you can find here.
You test the urine using the strips daily for 5 days, starting 7 days after confirmed ovulation (this can be done using LH testing strips, for example).
Let me know how you get on and if you have any questions or require any help supporting and promoting your strong monthly ovulation, drop me an email.