Optimizing your fertility as the gateway to healing your body

As young women, we’re taught about our menstrual cycle in relationship to two things: our periods and pregnancy. In an attempt to avoid pregnancy, fix irregular cycles, or alter heavy periods, we’re often prescribed The Pill in our teens and twenties.

We are flummoxed when we come off the pill after years or decades of use to find our old problems return immediately – they’ve not healed themselves, only been hidden by the regulating power of the pill. By only revisiting our cycles when we decide to try to conceive, we miss out on the opportunity to come into deep understanding with our bodies and to heal ourselves rather than mask symptoms.

Today, we get to talk to Lisa Hendrickson-Jack about how in taking the time to chart, learn about and understand our cycles, we can not only optimize our fertility but gain crucial information about our bodies.

Lisa is the author of The Fifth Vital Sign: Master Your Cycles & Optimize Your Fertility. She is a certified fertility awareness educator and a holistic reproductive health practitioner. She teaches women how to chart their menstrual cycles for natural birth control, for conception and for monitoring your overall health. Her book, The Fifth Vital Sign is all about why your cycle is one of your vital signs in your body if you are a woman and how it can play a powerful tool in diagnosing and healing our bodies.

In this episode we talk about:
  • Being a medical advocate for yourself: why it’s extremely difficult and also crucial to your long-term well-being.
  • The idea that in any examining room there are two experts: the doctor, who is the expert in a field of medicine, and the patient, who is the expert in their body and their experience.
  • How a family history of painful periods, fibroids, and hysterectomies led her to seek out cycle charting from an early age
  • Lisa debunks the myth that regular ovulation is only important when you want children, because we need to recognize that the menstrual cycle is part of our entire biology and physiology.
  • She presents an evidence-based approach to fertility awareness and menstrual cycle optimization.
  • How the body is seen as low—base, even!—and unpredictable. That means that men and women have been culturally conditioned not to experience life through our bodies. This becomes a bigger problem for birthing and postpartum women, who can experience the trauma of birth itself and then can compound that damage by feeling like they can’t or shouldn’t listen to their bodies reaction to trauma in the wake of birth.

Join us as we talk about the menstrual cycle, fertility, and the opportunities we all have to learn more about our bodies simply by paying closer attention to them.

The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #108

  • “Advocating for yourself is really hard. It’s not fun. It’s often really lonely. Often, you might even feel you’re crazy. Imagine going to a doctor and you disagree with what the doctor recommends. You don’t want to do it.”
  • “I think the hardest part is to have enough confidence in ourselves, to trust enough in our intuition, to trust those inner whispers that tell us, ‘No, this isn’t right. This doesn’t feel right. I don’t like this.’ To trust that enough that we can withstand whatever ridicule, or whatever pushback that we get.”
  • “We have to stand firm in our convictions and press on until we find a practitioner who’s willing to respect us and listen to us and support us in the ways that we want to be supported.”
  • “The most important thing is for women to be educated… What we need is information so that we can go on to make an informed choice.”
  • “I realized how much time my job required; if I’m spending all this time away from my kids, it has to be something that is meaningful to me, because it’s no longer made sense if it wasn’t something that’s meaningful.”
  • “I didn’t start with the book and the podcast with 250 episodes. I started with no podcasts and no book. Over the years, it’s built up to what it is today.”
  • “Your average woman has no idea about her menstrual cycle, because we’re not taught this. It’s a systematic lack of education that we face.”

Certified Fertility Awareness Educator, Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner, and author of The Fifth Vital Sign: Master Your Cycles & Optimize Your Fertility.


Thank you to the sponsor of this episode: Aeroflow Breastpumps. They are dedicated to making the hassle of getting your breast pump a little bit easier—actually, a lot easier! Head to www.aeroflowbreastpumps.com/startup to have them help you qualify for a free breast pump through insurance.



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