I’ve been meaning to write about the steps we took to get pregnant. I wanted to have this out there for women who are trying to get pregnant with the MTHFR gene or because they are on the older side of the optimal fertility timeframe. So I will outline my issues and the steps taken to overcome those issues. Currently I am 26 weeks pregnant and 39 years old. So far all the ultrasounds and testing have come back with positive results, but we still have 14 weeks to go. That is my first disclaimer. My second is that what works for one woman may not work for another. This is probably pretty obvious for any woman currently trying to get pregnant. My point in publishing my protocol here is for women to have a starting point conversation with their doctors. I encourage any woman who has had multiple losses of pregnancy to check their genetics and see if they have an MTHFR gene mutation or another clotting disorder.
During our process we saw a fertility doctor who specialized in helping women get pregnant without the use of IVF. We’ve had two miscarriages and a baby with Full Trisomy 18 (which means it was spontaneous and not related to genetics. If it were partial or mosaic then it could have been related to genetics). Ultimately, we could get pregnant, but beyond that things got sketchy. So unless we wanted to do pre-genetic testing on the embryos (and we didn’t), there was no point to doing IVF.
The fertility doctor ordered ultrasounds to watch the progress of my cycle, namely ovulation. He also had blood drawn at certain times of my cycle to watch the level of estradiol and progesterone. The results were this: 1) the lining of my uterus didn’t get as thick as he wanted, and 2) my progesterone was clearly low on the back end of my cycle. With this information in addition to my MTHFR C677T homozygous diagnosis this is the protocol my doctor prescribed and I followed (for the most part):
Prior to trying:
- 5-MTHF-My Ob/Gyn prescribed a compound with L-methylfolate (or 5-MTHF) , a biologically more digestable form of folic acid. In combination with the 5-MTHF, the compound also contains B12 and B6 to help with absorption. This can also be put together through separate pills of each, but I like less things to swallow, so I get the compound through a local pharmacy even though my insurance doesn’t cover it. For more information on MTHFR, you can check out this link or check out Wellness Mama, she has a very complete article on the gene mutation as well.
- Progesterone- A month or two before trying to get pregnant, I started with the Progesterone (200 mg) three days after ovulation for 10 days.
- Baby Aspirin- A month before trying I started taking baby aspirin everyday. I noticed long lasting bruising so my doctor said that I could go to every other day.
- L-Arginine– 3000 mg twice a day. The fertility doctor prescribed this for increased circulation, helping with clotting and with increasing the lining of the uterus during my fertile window. This was a bit of pain since I could only find it in 1000 mg for awhile, but if you can get ahold of the 3000mg, then it is much easier.
- Myo-inositol– Basically this is supposed to help with egg quality and follicle development. There is more detail here.
- Fertiaid– I took this for awhile, but I was taking so much. I kind of gave up on this one. However, my husband was very good about taking this to make sure his “contributions” would be as healthy as possible.
During the cycles of trying for pregnancy, I continued all supplements and added:
Letrozole- This was prescribed by my doctor and I don’t know the dosage. But I took it on days 3-7 of my cycle. However, with this protocol I kept getting sick (a cold usually) by the time of my fertile window. So I looked online and found another protocol that recommended taking the Letrozole on days 5-9. I reasoned my ovulation usually came later anyway and perhaps just shifting the days a little would help me avoid getting a cold and ruining the timeframe when we should be trying. And with that shift, we were able to try and to conceive successfully!
During pregnancy, my goal is to keep circulation up and avoiding clotting-
- 5-MTHF compound.
- Baby Aspirin daily
- Fish oil/Vitamin D (I alternate)
- Pre-natal with folate (NOT folic acid)
- Calcium and fiber
Again, we still have weeks to go, there are no guarantees. But this is the longest, least eventful pregnancy we have experienced. Praise God. Speaking of the God, that is the other angle to this pregnancy. Although we consulted doctors, we also consulted many, many spiritual people. With the loss of Jordan, attempting to have another child was mentally and emotionally challenging. Without the prayers of people in our lives and God bestowing his grace, we would not be where we are right now.