So, you want to get pregnant. You’ve stopped The Pill – now what? Many women don’t realize that their bodies go through a ton of changes while taking the Pill. And, we see a lot of women struggling to get pregnant, too. This is why it’s very important to follow the right nourishment after BCP.
Do you know what happens to your body on the Pill?
The Pill was developed to prevent ovulation, which, if you know your hormonal cycles, means increasing either estrogen or progesterone (or sometimes both). Essentially, the Pill tricks the body into thinking it’s pregnant to avoid ovulation.
Health Problems Associated with BCP
We forget, or maybe just don’t realize, how every prescription drug or piece of pizza we ingest affects our bodies. Long-term drug use impacts our livers, digestion, mental health and hormonal balance.
The Pill provides excess estrogen and progesterone throughout the monthly cycle to prevent pregnancy – that’s its job.
Over time, excess estrogen can get out of hand and lead to something called estrogen dominance. The Pill plays a role in estrogen dominance because of its impact on gut health.
Studies have shown that candidiasis is common in women taking BCP (many women also complain of more frequent yeast infections, which is a direct link to candidiasis). Candidiasis is essentially an overgrowth of candida yeast in the body, especially the intestinal tract. This overgrowth also causes an overgrowth of other toxic bacteria and the suppression of our healthy gut bacteria (those that make vitamins and perform detoxifying effects for us).
When the liver detoxifies estrogen, that estrogen is bound with bile and transported to the intestinal tract for excretion. With candidiasis or gut dysbiosis, toxic bacteria unbinds the estrogen and returns it to the body for circulation.
Add to this our exposure to xenoestrogens, our bodies are exposed to a lot of estrogen all the time. Chronic stress reduces our bodies’ ability to make progesterone, which helps keep estrogen in check. Eventually we exhibit signs of estrogen dominance – weight gain, metabolic syndrome, PCOS, cancer and infertility.
The right nourishment after BCP is important to help rebalance blood sugar and insulin secretion. The Pill impacts how well our bodies manage glucose. We become extremely intolerant to glucose and need more and more sugar or carbs to feel energized.
A diet high in refined carbs and sugar can also lead to gut dysbiosis (see above). Yeast infections are common and we crave sugar and bread.
It’s important to get the correct nourishment after BCP because, left down this road, insulin resistance and Type II diabetes will occur.
Overall, taking the Pill can lead to nutrient deficiencies, especially in B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and other important minerals.
B vitamin deficiencies negatively affect how well me manage and respond to stress. With our high levels of stress these days, many women exhibit the mental health effects of stress, such as anxiety, depression or feeling out of control. Without the right amount of nutrients, our bodies can’t handle stress.
Increased Risk of Autoimmune / Allergies
Detoxification of estrogen involves a number of processes and nutrients. The liver only has so many resources to perform this important step. And, excess estrogen place more of a burden on the liver. Nutrient deficiencies don’t provide enough fuel for proper and full detoxification.
Plus, alcohol detoxification uses the same liver pathways as estrogen, and alcohol will be detoxified first. So the liver is busy!
The Pill has also been shown to reduce overall immunity, likely due to nutritional deficiencies.
These two factors can compromise overall immunity and set women up for allergies and autoimmune conditions later in life.
The Importance of Nourishment After BCP
What we eat affects not just our weight or energy. Our food affects how well our bodies function. Every nutrient we need is used as resources for processes like liver detoxification, management of stress, or sleep. Nutrients are fuel for our bodies’ workhorses.
Every choice we make, activity we do or pill we take affects how well our body uses nutrients and how many nutrients are available. And the BCP is no different.
It is imperative to replenish low levels of nutrients, especially folic acid.
First, many women get super frustrated because they stop taking BCP a month or two before they have officially decided it’s time to get pregnant. The problem is, our bodies aren’t that easy to schedule.
Women stop taking the Pill or other contraceptive and they don’t get pregnant right away and they get frustrated. Stress levels rise, which impacts reproductive hormones, and things just get worse.
Your body won’t get pregnant if it feels like there will be any danger to the baby’s health. Remember that. If you’re chronically stressed from working hard to develop a career or deal with other stressful events in life, and if you’ve neglected to nourish our body with healthy, whole foods, a diet high in fiber and healthy fats and low in refined carbs and sugar…your body might not think it’s ready.
And if you can’t get pregnant, this is kind of a good thing! You want a healthy baby, right? You don’t want a baby with allergies and health issues and all those horrible doctor’s appointments that so many new babies are going through, right?
So, be realistic. If you’ve decided to get pregnant, consider the right nourishment after BCP to create a healthy baby.
Ideally, you should start preparing for a baby 2 years in advance. Yep, 2 years!
A Healthy Diet
The right nourishment after BCP begins with removing any foods that aggravate gut health and interfere with healthy liver detoxification. You want to get your estrogen levels back on track.
Foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are key. At least half of your meals should consist of non-starchy, low-sugar fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens are your best friends to help promote healthy liver detoxification. Fermented foods and probiotics will replenish healthy gut bacteria. (If candidiasis is a big problem for you, you might want to talk with a nutrition coach for some dedicated protocols to reverse that.)
Healthy fats are also crucial because you’ll need the resources to make enough progesterone (especially if you’re stressed). Healthy fats are anti-inflammatory, too, which further improves your chances of getting pregnant. Inflammation = danger!
Foods like coconut oil, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, olives and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are awesome at this time.
Make sure you’re getting adequate high-quality protein, too, like eggs, chicken, turkey, and some red meat. Organic, grass-fed or pasture-raised meats are best to avoid excess hormones and toxins.
Ditch the refined sugar and switch to natural sweeteners like raw honey, Medjool dates or pure maple syrup. Eliminate refined grains, especially wheat, as they’re all very pro-inflammatory.
What about supplements as nourishment after BCP?
Well, to promote liver detoxification and health, a natural greens powder would be ideal. Add in a multivitamin/mineral complex, plus extra B vitamins too.
If you’re very inflamed, a fish oil or microalgae supplement is helpful to improve omega-3 fatty acid intake.
There have been some concerns with taking folic acid supplements due to their metabolic effects. While I do love supplements, I do believe it’s way better to get your nutrients from real food. Food contains nutrients in usable formats, while many supplements are in formats that add stress to your body.
So, naturally increase your folate (not folic acid) intake with liver, spinach, peanuts, chickpeas, pinto beans, lentils, asparagus, corn, and black-eyed peas. If you do need a supplement, look for high-quality ones with folate, not folic acid, as the ingredient.