I'm rarely correct and oftentimes ailments I believe I have (thyroid tumors, panic attacks, and ectopic pregnancy, for example) are explained by doctors in more simple terms (vitamin deficiencies, anemia, cramps).
But this time? Well, I've really done my homework this time, and I can tell you almost beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have a luteal phase defect.
*commence eye-rolling from my mother*
(My mom believes her Mexican genes trump all. I should be able to merely think about being pregnant, and it should occur. She keeps saying, Believe me, you don't have a problem getting pregnant, because she and my dad conceived me in about 30 seconds when she was 25 years old. Anyhoo!)
Now, you may be asking: What, pray tell, is a luteal phase defect. Unless you are a frequenter of fertility blogs, in which case I'm afraid you're probably already all-too familiar with such things.
The luteal phase refers to the days in your cycle following ovulation, when all sorts of magical things should be happening. Ideally, as a woman trying to get pregnant, there should be a zygote somewhere up in your junk be-bopping along on its way to your uterus, where it should then implant into the endometrium and dear God why do I know all of this?
If you have a luteal phase defect, your luteal phase may be too short, or your progesterone may be too low, both of which result in insufficient endometrium, therefore preventing implantation of the embryo.
After two months (admittedly not that long but I haven't been following the Making Babies plan for that long) of measuring my basal rate temperature in the mornings, what I'm noticing is that my temperature is spiking and dropping in the luteal phase, which is not good. Ideally what it would look like is this:
Here the temperature continues to rise, eventually reaching what is called a "triphasic pattern," indicating pregnancy.
Here is what my chart looks like this cycle:
According to the book, this is an indication of low progesterone, with a possibility of a luteal phase defect (which is determined for certain via blood and other tests). I could run off and get the tests done, but since I'm trying to get pregnant as naturally as possible, I'm going to do the following:
1. Lose 40 pounds. The more fat there is, the more estrogen there is. Too much estrogen can prevent ovulation. Being overweight also coincides with an increase in androgens, which also prevent ovulation. Not to mention an association to wonky insulin levels, which can affect fertility.
2. Take chaste tree berry, an herb that can help lengthen the luteal phase.
3. Drink red raspberry leaf tea, which improves blood flow to the uterus.
4. Try a number of other natural remedies that I'll discuss in a later post.
My annual papsmear is in June, and I'm hoping that by then, I'll have lost the weight and maybe even have conceived. We'll see! In the meantime I'll continue charting my temperatures to see if they improve, and I'm sure you'll be hearing about it.