If you are thinking about getting pregnant and are currently on the pill or have just come off it, you are going to love this interview.
I was on the pill for 12 years before I went off it last February. My hubby and I then started trying for a baby 4 months later. It blew my mind how the pill had effected my body, I hadn't had period pain and acne issues ever but it hit me full on when I stopped taking the pill. It scared me and I decided to read up on what the pill actually does to your body. It is a worry and I won't ever be going back on it.
Over to Nat now with some great advice and information...
The side effects of the pill can be wide and varied. We accept that there is risk with things like blood clots but what we don’t necessarily look further into are other associated symptoms including migraines, weight gain, higher incidence of cancer (especially breast cancer), poor mood, low libido, anxiety, depression, poor digestion and IBS just to name some off the top of my head!
Sadly the pill robs the body of essential vitamins and minerals as it severely upsets our digestive system. This means our body’s stores are depleted and not topped up as we can’t readily absorb nutrients from our foods and drink. This alone can cause the symptoms included above not to mention the imbalance it causes to our hormones.
+ If you are on the pill and are now thinking about trying to get pregnant, how long should you allow your body to recover from the effects of the pill before trying to conceive?
Around 6 months is a good time to allow before conception from coming off the pill. This is enough time to really get the gut into line, supplement the body to top things right up (because baby takes what it needs leaving you severely depleted!)
An expectant mother who falls pregnant whilst on the pill or closely after coming off are said to have more complications with birth (high c-section rate) and more trouble breastfeeding. Vitamin and mineral deficiency affects us at a cellular level meaning our skin isn’t as supple and nourished as it could otherwise be making dilation, birth and possibly breast feeding a little more challenging. There’s also research to suggest that babies who are born in these circumstances have a high rate of being unsettled, colicky and jittery babies. Mothers are also said to have a higher rate of PND for similar reasons. It’s always good to put your best foot forward and remember that creating a healthy human being starts with mum and dad.
+ What symptoms can occur from coming off the pill?
Many women find that if they went on the pill as a ‘treatment’ say for things like acne or period pain, the symptoms are there and often worse. It’s very common for the menstrual cycle to take up to a year to return to normal. Some women complain of more oily skin and hair, more facial hair (especially in cases of hormone imbalance and PCOS) as well as mood swings and irritability. That said, some women experience all these things whilst on the pill and by simply coming off, many of their symptoms dissipate.
+ What steps can you take to ease your body back into a normal state of hormonal balance after coming off the pill?
I highly recommend beginning to work on your body prior to coming off the pill to help with the transition. Working on gut health is essential by ensuring there is plenty of wonderful whole foods in the diet, probtioics and gelatine to improve gut health and keeping foods that are inflammatory like gluten and sugar to a minimum. Supplementing with a good quality multivitamin and fish oil is also necessary to put back what the pill has not allowed your body to adequately absorb. This is a great starting place.
For women who find that their cycles take time to find their groove again or they develop various symptoms I recommend they seek treatment of a health professional like a Chinese Medicine Dr or Naturopath.
+ Once you have come off the pill, how can you tell when your body is ovulating so you can start the process of trying to conceive?
I talk about this thoroughly in my e-course Debunking Ovulation - it’s a one-stop-shop in helping women understand their menstrual cycles for both conception and contraception by understanding ovulation no matter what.
Ovulation is typically marked by fertile mucus that feels quite wet (the sensation is experienced around the opening of the vagina not between the fingers). Once a women can sense this, I have her focus on her last ‘wet’ day to pin point ovulation. Some people like to use devices like the lady comp or tracking temperatures which aren't necessarily wrong but I find natural fertility awareness to be the best and the easiest. It’s important for women to be able to understand their cycles and pin point ovulation to also see if there are any creases that need ironing out. i.e; ovulating too early in the cycle may indicate low oestrogen or too late may indicate high oestrogen which can affect fertility. These little clues your body gives frequently, can really help you decipher whats going on and fixing the core issue can have your fertility on track sooner rather than later.
Through her blog, she educates women on the benefits of alternative therapies and nutrition for happy hormones. Nat is also the producer and co-host of the online web series HealthTalks and from time to time you’ve seen her in your favourite glossy mag or appearing as a health expert on your telly.
Nat has penned three books Well & Good, Eat Fat, Be Thin and Eat Fat, Be Lean.
And she tours Australia regularly, holding workshops and speaking at other events to help women get clued up on their bodies and take control of their hormone health.
You can drop by and say hi to Nat on Facebook, Twitter or her favourite way – via Instagram.