More Sunshine = More Babies??

As amazing as modern medicine and science is, sometimes it really does just take something natural to make (or break) a miracle. And when you really think about it, it does make sense.

Take the sunshine, for instance. We know that on the one hand, it can make us burn and peel and feel miserable. And worst case scenario, it can give us cancer. On the other hand, we can’t survive without it.  It affects everything around us. Sunshine helps all the plants and animals to grow. It keeps our planet at just the right temperature so we can survive. It helps us differentiate between day and night. It is literally the center of the universe. So why shouldn’t it play a part in our own body cycles as well?

There has been increasing findings that the sun and the natural Vitamin D it provides can play a factor in diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and even the body’s natural immunity. But what about fertility? Studies on the role of light in both women’s and men’s cycles started back in the 1960s. But not until recently are these multidisciplinary studies showing that yes, light does play a factor in fertility – perhaps a major factor.

In terms of the body, light keeps the “circadian pacemaker” (basically the body’s master clock) on track with the usual 24 hour day. If we don’t get the right kinds of light, our bodies go out of synch with the world, and our body systems go out of synch with our bodies. We need to have a very clear distinction between the light of day and the dark of night for our bodies to perform at its top notch potential. But in a world of increasing technology where many of us spend the majority of our week working inside with artificial lights and the glow of computer screens, and our nights surrounded by more artificial lights, blinking screens, glows from charging cell phones, IPODs, digital clocks, etc., how are we supposed to help our bodies stay on track?

Ann Douglas offers several tips in the winter issue of Conceive Magazine

1. Try to keep your body in synch with the solar day. To cue your body to stop producing the nighttime hormone, melatonin, take a walk in the morning (outside).
2. Enjoy the sunshine – That whole Vitamin D thing is currently believed to affect at least 1000 different genes in our bodies that control every tissue. Studies are showing that melatonin may act directly on the reproductive tissues – meaning that women are more fertile during the time of year when there is the most daylight.
3. Don’t leave out your man! Vitamin D is very important in male fertility as well.  Light also boosts the luteinizing hormone which raises testosterone levels in men.
4. Try to keep a regular schedule not only in your everyday life, but in travels as well. Flying across time zones can really throw off your body too.
5. If you’re in an area where you just can’t get enough sunlight, consider using alternative light therapies. There are devices to block blue light, to increase light exposure, and to mimic the natural rhythm of moonlight which can help regulate ovulation.

For more info on some of these options, check: lowbluelights.com and luness.com

Source: Douglas, Ann. Light and Fertility. Conceive Magazine Winter 09/10 Vol. 6 Issue 4 pp. 46-49.

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The Reminder of the Holidays

It’s amazing how the holidays can add to your own personal emotional roller coaster.  On one hand, it is a great way to forget about some of the stress of planning for a family. There are a lot of other things that you are forced to concentrate on – getting the right gifts, decorations, parties, planning, travel, dealing with family, heartwarming movies and stories, the magic of the season.

On the other hand, the holidays are a time for children. They’re the ones that get to believe in Santa Claus.  They’re the ones that we help create the magic for. If you’re Christian, we celebrate the holiday in honor of the birth of the infant Jesus Christ. The baby who would change the world. When you’re at those holiday parties, often, everyone else’s children are there too. The discussion focuses on what they’re doing for their kids for the holiday.  The kids are talking about what’s on their lists. “Watch it, Santa’s watching,” is a term heard everywhere. When it comes to gift time, the kids open first. The kids have the huge stack of gifts.

If you have to travel, you realize that everything revolves around the family members who have kids. The timing of events, the days of travel, who’s house you go to, even the rooms where everyone sleeps are based around those with kids.

Frustrating when it’s never you, isn’t it?

New Year’s comes around and everyone else can’t wait to get rid of their kids for a night so they can go out and party the adult way. When that ball drops and the two of you kiss, the only thought on your minds are, “God, I hope this year is it.  This is the year it’s going to happen for us. What I wouldn’t give to have my baby with me right now.”

It seems like no one understands. And how can they really, unless they’ve been in the same situation as you?

I know I felt it more than usual this year.  Other years, I still had a lot of hope. The holidays weren’t a really big deal.  This year, it hurt more than usual. I guess because we’ve been trying for so long now.

I’m not saying that I don’t still have a lot of hope.  Because I do.  In fact, maybe even more. But I’m also more frustrated, and maybe that was part of it. The holidays have always been a magical time for me, even in recent years. So I know that despite what seems like kids being thrown in my face, I still have to hold on to that magic. I still have to enjoy that New Year’s kiss, and I still have to wish on the sparkly ball, or that sparkly star in the sky that this year IS going to be the year. This is going to be the year that changes everything!

Here’s to a hopeful New Year for all of us! (I’m tipping my pretend glass of champagne to you)

Happy New Year!