Fertility After Forty©2000
by Susun S. 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. The previous
section deals with disturbances to that pattern; and the section following
deals with herbal ways to decrease or control the teeming fertility
of the twenties and early thirties.
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 defects?
The answer to these questions -- and others like them -- is "no!"
for wise women who enlist the help of green allies to increase fertility,
insure conception, prevent birth defects, and promote a healthy pregnancy
and an easy delivery.
Increasing Fertility; Insuring 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 blocked tubes, diabetes, ovarian cysts, internal scaring, 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
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
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
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 mothers, mothers, 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
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
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
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 insure 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 increases 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
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
~ 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
~ providing easily assimilated minerals to prevent eclampsia and other
~ 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 discontinues during the last trimester
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.
For permission to reprint this article, contact us at: email@example.com
Susun Weed - PO Box 64, Woodstock, NY 12498 (fax) 1-845-246-8081
Visit Susun Weed at: www.susunweed.com
Susun Weed's books include:
Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year
Author: Susun S. Weed. Simple, safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth,
lactation, and newborns. Includes herbs for fertility and birth control.
Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker. 196 pages, index, illustrations. Click Here to
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