Fertility After Forty
By Susun Weed
The most fertile years of a woman's life are those between 18 and 28. Even into the mid-thirties, it is usually
fairly easy to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. During these years the hormones that control ovulation,
enhance conception, and ensure a healthy pregnancy are usually made easily and in generous quantities. And
detrimental life-style choices have not had decades of repetition to create chronic problems.
But more and more women are waiting until their late thirties, early forties, even late forties, to have
children. Is this too late? Are these destined to have high-risk pregnancies? Will these children have more birth
The answer to these questions - and others like them - is "no!" for wise women who enlist the help of green
allies to increase fertility, ensure conception, prevent birth defects, and promote a healthy pregnancy and an easy
INCREASING FERTILITY; ENSURING CONCEPTION
Increase your chances of conception by meditating. Cultivating a calm attitude, not surprisingly, enhances
fertility. Even taking a quiet five minutes alone just for you, free of all responsibilities, can bring big results
if done frequently enough.
Use lunaception to time your ovulation so you have the best odds of conceiving. It's fine to have sex in the
weeks before ovulation, especially if the sex is focused on the woman and her orgasm, but do save your best efforts
for those three nights when your "moon" is full and bright and ready to frolic.
Orgasm on the part of the male is necessary for fertilization. The woman's orgasm does increase the possibility
of conception. Women who experience orgasm after their partner (up to 40 minutes after his ejaculation) have the
very best chance of becoming pregnant.
Red clover is the single best remedy for women over forty who want to conceive but can't - even if there are
medical reasons for not conceiving such as blocked tubes, diabetes, ovarian cysts, internal scarring, or
endometriosis. There are many heart-warming success stories I could share about red clover! But suffice to say,
drinking 2-4 cups of the infusion of the dried blossoms (neither tincture nor tea nor pills will work for this
application) seems to do wonders for fertility, no matter what your age.
PREVENTING BIRTH DEFECTS
Boosting your nutritional status makes birth defects less of a worry. Women who drink 2-4 cups of stinging
nettle infusion daily and eat cooked leafy greens as well as lettuce salads are getting the abundant folic acid,
calcium, magnesium, and other minerals needed to create a healthy baby. (Tinctures, pills, and teas contain little
or none of these important nutrients.)
Vitamin E is an especially critical nutrient for fertility after forty and freedom from birth defects.
Freshly-ground wheat flour, cold-pressed oils, and nut butters are all good sources of vitamin E, as are stinging
nettle infusion and most cooked seaweed, such as kelp. The man's vitamin E level has as much, if not more, bearing
on freedom from birth defects as does the woman's vitamin E level.
Avoid heat, both of you. Hot tubs, even prolonged soaking in a hot bath, can cause temporary (up to several
months) sterility in some men. In women, it can endanger the early embryo and trigger a miscarriage or birth
Avoid drugs, both of you, including alcohol, tobacco, coffee, as well as over-the-counter drugs and prescription
drugs (except those you absolutely need). Your liver needs to be strong and so do your kidneys, so you can conceive
and gestate a child. Instead of alcohol, which damages the liver, drink herbal infusions or alcohol-free wine or
beer. Instead of tobacco, which may contribute to birth defects and low birth weight, try smoking a little dried
peppermint, or, better yet, go for a walk. Instead of coffee, which challenges the kidneys, you may wish to drink
green tea or black tea, or try coffee substitutes, especially the one made with dandelion roots. Instead of drugs
to ease everyday aches and pains, use the gentle herbal remedies in this book instead.
Ambivalence about pregnancy and parenthood is normal and natural. But the older a woman gets, the more
complicated her emotions about it may be. Add to her emotional soup pot strong opinions from family and friends,
confusing information spread by the popular media, and fear-inducing pronouncements from "helpful" medical
professionals, and that pot will be in danger of boiling over. Herewith then, some wise woman hints for keeping
your cool in the midst of overt and covert confusion.
Contrary to current opinion, having children in your forties is ordinary and common worldwide. The Bible
mentions several women having children in their fifties. What is unusual and unique to our time is having a first
child in one's forties. Our mother’s, mother’s, mothers were having their fifth or eighth or tenth child when they
were in their forties, not their first. If people tell you it just isn't done, close your eyes and call upon the
spirit of your great-great-great-great grandmother, then smile and tell them it seems utterly ordinary to you.
Feeling tense and distressed about choosing or refusing motherhood? Motherwort tincture is my favorite
calmative. A dose of 10-20 drops helps clear your mind, eases your tension, and assists you in discerning the best
path to follow.
Bach flower remedies excel as helpers when you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Try:
Aspen when you feel anxious, apprehensive, or afraid of the unknown.
Mimulus when you are dwelling on a specific fear.
Elm when you feel overwhelmed or inadequate.
Red Chestnut when you are afraid for or worried about your baby to be.
Rock Rose when you are trembling, shaking, or weeping from anxiety or fear.
Regular gentle massage or Reiki treatments not only help you calm your distress, they also guide you in creating
a strong center that's resistant to being pushed around by other people's opinions. Massage and/or Reiki also help
prepare your mind/body for a healthy pregnancy and a safe birth.
SPECIAL ALLIES FOR PREGNANT WOMEN OVER FORTY
The single most important herb for pregnant women over forty is comfrey (Symphytum uplandica hybrids). The
leaves of the mature plant contain an abundance of constituents beneficial to mother and babe, including generous
amounts of minerals, alantoin, proteins, and many vitamins. The minerals in comfrey help ensure healthy nervous
system growth; the fetus’s developing brain uses the proteins. And the alantoin helps the mother's tissues become
stretchy and elastic.
Aging can lead to increased stiffness and brittleness in bones and muscles, making pregnancy more arduous and
painful, labor slower and more difficult, and injury more likely during birth. The hormones of pregnancy, which
help soften and relax the pelvic tissues, may not be produced in adequate amounts. Comfrey comes to the rescue!
Comfrey creates flexible and strong tissues throughout the body especially mucus surfaces (including intestines,
uterus, bladder and vagina), the bones, the ligaments and tendons, and the skin.
Regular use of the leaf infusion, at least a quart a week, promotes a safe delivery by:
strengthening uterine muscles and preparing them to work easily and well
strengthening perineal tissues so they become resistant to tearing
strengthening uterine ligaments so the uterus does not prolapse
strengthening the bladder and increasing resistance to bacterial infection
strengthening the vagina and helping to promote an environment hostile to infection
providing easily assimilated minerals to prevent eclampsia and other complications
helping the bones of the pelvis flex and open during birth
increasing iron in the blood and thus forestalling post-partum hemorrhage.
I harvest the flowering stalks when they are fully formed; and I am careful to use the cultivated garden
comfrey, which grows very tall and has purplish, pinkish, bluish flowers. I avoid wild comfrey, which stays rather
small even when flowering, and has cream-colored, white, or yellowish flowers.
Some people feel that comfrey is not safe to use during pregnancy. Some people feel comfrey is not safe to use
internally at all. I disagree. The roots of comfrey do contain compounds that are best avoided during pregnancy (as
do all parts of the wild plant). In fact, I rarely use comfrey root because of the possibility of liver congestion,
and I strongly caution those who have had hepatitis, chemotherapy, or alcohol problems to strictly avoid comfrey
root. Yet even these people can benefit from use of comfrey leaf infusions.
Another important herbal ally for women over forty who desire a child is chaste tree(Vitex agnus-castii). It has
been used in Africa and parts of Europe for several thousand years to discourage the male libido. In women, the
effects seem to be the opposite! It may also be a fertility enhancer. Most importantly, chaste tree is a
strengthening tonic for the pituitary gland, the master control gland for the endocrine system. Daily use of the
tincture of the berries (1 dropperful/1 ml 2-3 times daily) had been shown to increase progesterone - the hormone
of pregnancy - and luteinizing hormone - which promotes conception. Because it can lower prolactin levels, chaste
tree is best discontinued during the last trimester of pregnancy.
Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is not recommended for women over forty. In general, this herb promotes blood flow
to the uterus and surrounding tissues. This can promote the growth of fibroids and increase the risk of post-partum
hemorrhage. Ginger is a better warming tonic; motherwort is better at relieving pain; and raspberry is better at
preparing the uterus for birth.
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