get pregnant with irregular period

How To Get Pregnant With Irregular Periods

What is ovulatory dysfunction — and what lifestyle changes can help balance hormones and help you get pregnant?

If you're reading this and irregular periods are making it difficult to get pregnant, you are not alone! Only 13-17% of people have a “regular” 28-day menstrual cycle according to studies (like this one and this one).

So what does it mean to have an irregular period? It coule be a sign of ovulatory dysfunction, which affects a woman's ability to release eggs from her ovaries. But there are plenty of things you can do to support healthy ovulation. Lifestyle changes can improve fertility and increase the chances of getting pregnant, whether via sex at home or with the help of your medical team.

What exactly is ovulatory dysfunction?

Let's start with the basics: What is ovulation?

Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary and ready for fertilization. Ovulatory dysfunction means that ovulation isn’t happening regularly like clockwork each month or is not occurring at all. This can lead to irregular periods or even amenorrhea (absence of menstruation).

Are Your Periods Irregular?

The average menstrual cycle lasts 21-35 days. Anything shorter or longer than that may raise a flag that we need to investigate further what is going on in the ovaries.

Also, the cycle may be considered irregular if the days vary widely from month to month—five days or more. It is totally normal for cycle length to vary by up to five days each month. Things like stress, illness, travel, and diet can affect the length of our ovarian cycle. However, if your month to month cycle length changes by more than 5 days each month, it might be worth it to talk to a doctor.

Should I see a doctor if I have irregular periods?

It's a good idea to see a doctor if:

  1. You haven't seen your menses in 3 months or more

  2. Your period lasts more than seven days

  3. You have Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation)

  4. You have not gotten pregnant after 12 months of trying, if you are younger than 35 years old, or after 6 months of trying, if you are older than 35 years old.

Lifestyle Changes to help you get pregnant with irregular periods

The good news is that you have the power to make a difference with ovulation dysfunction or irregular cycles. Before you initiate fertility treatment like IVF, it's advisable to make simple lifestyle changes.

Making changes based on evidence can help you support ovulation and increase your chances of getting pregnant. 

1. Hormone-balancing diet

Yes, diet can affect your ovulation and menstrual cycle. In fact, a study of 17,544 women showed that the specific diet choices can lower the risk of ovulatory disorder infertility (aka infertility because of irregular periods and ovulation) by 69%. (This research was done by our very own advisor, Harvard Professor Jorge Chavarro).

⁠Though Doveras' programs can give you far more personalized guidance based on your baseline diet and dietary preferences in general, here are some tips to promote regular menstruation and ovulation: eat more whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, as well as a lot of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. These foods provide essential vitamins and minerals that support hormonal balance and reproductive health.

It's also a good idea to avoid processed/refined foods like white bread and pasta and trans fats like margarine and frosting, and limit alcohol and caffeine consumption. These foods contribute to metabolic issues, inflammation, and hormonal imbalances, precisely the opposite of what you'd want. 

Top 10 foods to promote healthy ovulation

  1. Leafy Greens

  2. Whole Grain

  3. Fatty Fish

  4. Avocados

  5. Berries 

  6. Legumes

  7. Nuts and Seeds

  8. Greek Yogurt 

  9. Eggs

  10. Turmeric

2. Regular exercise

Research studies have shown that regular exercise regulates menstrual cycles and improves fertility. Aim for around 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, whether walking, yoga, or going to the gym. The goal is to engage in workouts you enjoy so you can stay consistent without feeling overwhelmed or stressed. 

It's also important to note that too much or vigorous exercise can reduce the chances of conceiving in healthy-weight women. In essence, don't overdo it; keep it in moderation to see positive results. 

3. Stress management

We get it – trying to conceive can be incredibly stressful. While prolonged, severe stress can contribute to hormone imbalances or disruption of the menstrual cycle, it’s important not to stress yourself out about being too stressed!

Balance is our goal. Ease your mind with activities that make you happy, and don't focus so much on timing when it comes to sex. You can also try meditation, deep breathing exercises, or prioritizing self-care to reduce stress.

We also know that doing all the things to try to get pregnant can add to this stress. We encourage all of our members to follow the 80/20 rule — you absolutely don't need to be stressed about that glass of wine, ordering the burger, or lighting candles. You don't need to be perfect, and this evidence-based principle is woven into our philosophy of care.

The Bottom Line: Getting Pregnant With an Irregular Period

Now, here's the thing: while lifestyle changes can be incredibly effective for many people struggling with irregular periods and ovulatory dysfunction, they're not a one-size-fits-all solution. That's where we come in. As an evidence-based lifestyle change company, we've done the research, so you don't have to.

At Doveras, we will equip you with in-depth, personalized knowledge and guide you based on your unique fertility journey with the best fertility lifestyle plan. Whether it's tweaking your diet or fine-tuning your exercise routine, we'll help you find the best strategy to support your irregular periods/ovulation and guide you every step of the way.

Contrary to what you may have believed, it is possible to get pregnant with irregular menstrual cycles. And the best part; it can be as simple and inexpensive as cutting off unhealthy lifestyles like inadequate sleep, poor eating habits, and sedentary living. These changes will balance your hormones and promote healthy ovulation.

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