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There is no reason why, in your early 40s, you should not conceive. In my experience, if would-be parents manage their stress levels and follow the basic rules of natural and harmonious living, conception is easy. Reproduction is as natural for us as breathing, digestion and movement” although it’s now so heavily regulated by doctors and scientists in the Western world. Interestingly, infertility is a rare problem in developing countries and also in rural societies in the West.

As I write in my book The Integrated Health Bible, the three main reasons for stress are dilemmas, deadlines and complex and /or demanding human relationships. The question of conception is stressful as it incorporates all three. Should we really try for a baby? Will we be able to conceived is the biological clock ticking too fast? Even in this day and age, there may be a sense of failure for a woman who doesn’t conceive.

It used to be thought that only voluntary organs, such as muscles, respond to motional stimuli, but now it’s recognised that involuntary, organs, such as blood vessels and the gut can constrict with stress. Michael Dooley, an exceptional gynecologist, says a woman’s womb is so sensitive that it contracts with even a tiny pinprick of pain. My belief is that the fallopian tubes, which carry the eggs to the womb, also constrict in conditions of pain and stress. This, of course, would stop the egg implanting in the womb.

Stress hormones, principally adrenalin and noradrenalin, cause a fight or flight reaction with a racing heart, tense muscles, a heightened state of alertness and hyperventilation. In evolutionary terms, these are linked to male reproductive hormones or androgens rather than women’s oestrogens and progestogens.Although women have some androgens, excess stress can upset the balance of hormones in a woman’s body, which is very sensitive. After bereavement, for example, many women do not have periods. Women are more likely to be affected by an excess of male hormones than vice versa: polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an example of this. Exercise instructors and sportswomen, who build up muscles and put their bodies under great physical strain, tend to have scanty periods and/or find it difficult to conceive.

Nutrition plays an important role in conception. Constipation, heartburn or indigestion, excessive gas, overeating, malnutrition, protein or mineral deficiency (as in a strict vegan diet or eating disorders), and excess alcohol or coffee all affect general wellbeing. For more information, see my book Dr. Ali’s Nutrition Bible.

These are my suggestions:

  • To increase the body’s energy, women should eat about ten whole almonds daily; soak these in room-temperature water for 24 hours, then remove the skin.
  • Also, drink one glass of freshly juiced carrot, apple, ginger and celery juice daily for two months, to increase the body’s energy.
  • Eat one pomegranate every other day for three months, or drink one cup of fruit juice; pomegranates contain cobalt which improves the blood.
  • Avoid yeast products, deep-fried food, citrus fruits, excess chillis, sugar, excess fat and fizzy water, which encourage gas.
  • To regulate periods, drink a blend of one teaspoon of kolonji oil, eight strands of saffron and one teaspoon of manuka honey daily after breakfast for three months.
  • Also, if your period flow is scanty, take Shatavari tablets twice daily for four months.
  • Also, take one capsule daily of Mexican yam from the 15th day of the cycle until periods start. Do this for four months.
  • Yoga and relaxation play an important role. In my book Therapeutic Yoga, co-written with Jiwan Brar,we recommend a range of poses, including the bridge, bow, cat, cow, downward dog, tailor, supine twist, standing forward stretch and extended forward stretch, ending with the corpse pose.
  • There are also many relaxation CDs available, including my own.

Neck and shoulder massage improves blood flow to the brain, including the pituitary gland, the main controller of hormonal functions. The massage will energise the body, creating a sense of wellbeing. (See The Integrated Health Bible). Ask your husband or partner to massage you every evening for ten minutes. It will help to relax you and create a bond.

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