Fertility Q&A: Vitex Use During Pregnancy, Supplements During IVF & Endometriosis and Cleansing…

Fertility Q&A: Vitex Use During Pregnancy, Supplements During IVF & Endometriosis and Cleansing…

Q: Hi there, I’ve been contemplating using a lower dosage of vitex, so I will get some benefit, but hopefully reduce any risks in early pregnancy. If I become pregnant does stopping vitex suddenly cause a problem, like drop in progesterone etc? there are many websites that say vitex is bad in pregnancy and some say it will prevent an early loss. I feel like I need a degree in this stuff to understand it all. What would be the lowest effective dose?

A: I do not feel using a lower dosage is as effective if you are wanting to change your cycle length. If you are truly worried about using this in pregnancy it would be best to not use it. Stopping Vitex cold turkey in the first trimester of pregnancy may affect hormone levels, or it may not, it depends on many different factors individual to each woman. It is best to wean yourself off of vitex over time, 1-2 weeks if you find out you are pregnant. You would first contact your doctor/midwife/naturopathic physician and request to get your hormone levels tested. They will help to determine if you may have low progesterone or may need to switch over to natural progesterone cream instead of Vitex. A practitioner can help to guide you through this transition. There are some studies that have shown some toxicity to the fetus of mice when injected with human doses of vitex directly into the abdomen. You would not be using this concentrated or high of a dosage, and to be honest there has not been any proof that vitex is toxic to a human fetus. Skilled midwives and herbalists have used vitex into the first trimester of pregnancy when there is a history of miscarriage and/or threatened miscarriage is present. It is best when this herb is used at least 3-6 months prior to pregnancy, in preparation for pregnancy.

A low dosage of vitex may not be effective for what you are wanting to use it for. The general suggested dosage is 1000mg a day. It is always best, if you are continually worried that you may harm your pregnancy by taking an herbal supplement, to avoid the added stress of using it. Most herbs are not recommended for use in pregnancy, but yet we have allowed ourselves to use medications that can be toxic and harmful to long term health when pregnancy is threatened, or for everyday use. I think most people are scared of using herbal remedies because there is a lack of good information, research and skilled practitioners using plants as healing tools. In the end it is best to do what you feel is best for your body.

Q: I need to know which supplements to suspend, as I am starting my IVF in a month.
I am actually taking: the CoQ10, L-Arginine, Maca, Royal jelly, Fertiligreens I’ve heard this must be suspended), protein powder, and Baby and Me multivitamins.
Please let me know as I heard on one of the smoothie-making videos the Fertiligreens must be suspended, but on the WEB does not say anything related, I am afraid, other supplements must be suspended too… please confirm on regards to the CoQ10 & L-Arginine, those are the ones I am not sure about… Please let me know at your earliest convenience.

A: If you have started medications for IVF please do not use Maca, CoQ10, Royal Jelly, L-Arginine, or Fertilica FertiliGreens. Also, do not use any of these during your IVF procedure or pregnancy. If you have not yet begun your medications for IVF it is fine to continue these until you do.

It if fine to continue the Baby and Me Multivitamin and Fertilica Whey Protein Powder through IVF and pregnancy.

Q: Hi there, I see that for endometriosis you recommend the liver cleanse first. I was reading the ingredients and was wondering about the estrogen activities of some of the herbs. I believe some of the ingredients, (from what I have read on the internet and in the anti-estrogen diet) such as Licorice, Don Quai, Black Cohosh, Wild Yam can cause an increase in estrogen in the system? Also I saw Stevia as an ingredient in one of the products, doesn’t Stevia contain Monosodium Glutamate? I was very interested in this cleanse until I saw these products can you please clear this up for me?

A: The Fertility Cleanse Kit is a blend of many different herbs formulated to help cleanse the liver while stimulating regeneration of liver cells. This is to aid the body in hormonal balance. Just because some herbs like Licorice, Dong Quai, Black Cohosh and Wild Yam may have been reported to have some estrogenic action does not mean that is their only action in the body. For these herbs to increase estrogen levels dramatically or contribute to estrogen dominance they would have to be taken consistently in high doses for many months. We do not recommend using Licorice or Black Cohosh long term. For short term benefit in an herbal blend there is a major difference in how the body utilizes these plants. These plants are balanced out by other herbs in the Fertility Cleanse Kit. We have had great success with the Fertility Cleanse for women with endometriosis, including reduction of pain, inflammation and heavy bleeding. This type of cleanse is specially formulated to create a foundation for hormonal balance, so that when you go on to a program like the EndoWise Fertility Kit your body responds better to those herbs and supplements. Using the Fertility Cleanse Kit has not shown to cause an increase of estrogen because it is only used for a short period of time, and each herb is a low dosage blend.

For your concern about Stevia. I Googled Stevia and MSG (monosodium glutamate) and some articles did come up, but they were reviews about all kinds of sweeteners for food. MSG is a food additive that “enhances” the taste of foods. Some reports say that if a package says one of the following, MSG is hidden in these foods: gelatin, calcium caseinate, textured protein, sodium caseinate, yeast nutrient, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein, carrageenan, maltodextrin, malt extract, natural food flavoring, bouillon, natural chicken flavoring, natural beef flavoring, broth, ultra-pasteurized, soy sauce extract, whey protein concentrate, pectin, and anything protein fortified, containing flavorings, enzyme modified, or seasoned. Because of this you would want to look for a pure organic Stevia extract, or carefully read the label of the product you are using. Stevia in our Fertility Cleanse Kit is pure leaf. I have never heard of pure leaf Stevia containing naturally occuring MSG. Some foods do contain naturally occuring MSG, but the body metabolizes this differently than it does the food additive MSG.

We strive to bring you the safest and highest quality products for natural fertility that are out there. Careful research is done before formulating combinations of herbs for our products. If we had concerns that these products would increase estrogen dominance in the body we would not market them for certain conditions.

I hope this clears up your concerns, please let me know if you have more questions.

Q: I have pcos and hyperplasia of the uterus….I need to know what will work best… I take vitex and was thinking of starting dong quai. Is there something that would work better for trying to get pregnent.


A: Uterine hyperplasia is due to low levels of progesterone and high levels of estrogen, this is also a major factor with PCOS. Please read over our entire PCOS fertility guide to learn why diet is important for this condition, as well as the best remedies to help balance estrogen dominance and work toward creating natural ovulation. All of this will help to create a healthy uterus as well. Go to this link to learn more: http://natural-fertility-info.com/pcos-fertility-diet

Additional Therapies that are helpful for uterine health are Self Fertility Massage and Castor Oil Packs. Learn more here: http://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-massage

I am not sure Dong Quai is a good choice for you in regard to hyperplasia of the uterus. Dong Quai has been found in some women to increase the uterine thickness, which for women with a thinning uterus may be beneficial. With endometrial hyperplasia there is enlargement of the glands and cells of the endometrium. Dong Quai may not be a good choice for that condition.

Because your condition is more complex and there is a higher risk for cancer with endometrial hyperplasia, it would be best to seek the advice of a naturopathic doctor in your area.

Q: I plan to order some Mega Foods Baby and Me multivitamin. I just noticed that in the ingredients list, it has Red Raspberry Leaf. I watched your video about the tonic tea which includes this leaf and you mentioned that it’s not suitable for the first trimester. Is it safe to take this multi if it includes this leaf?

A: Yes, this prenatal multivitamin contains small amounts of red raspberry leaf, so it is not a concern. It would be a concern if you were drinking red raspberry leaf tea or taking red raspberry leaf caps/liquid extract alone in a therapeutic dosage, which you are not with the multivitamin.

Q: To help get pregnant, should I use the progesterone cream from period to ovulation, or ovulation to period?

A: If you used Natural Progesterone Cream from period to ovulation you would suppress ovulation. To help support healthy natural progesterone levels, which may help to sustain pregnancy in women with low progesterone, it would be best to use Natural Progesterone Cream from after ovulation up to your period, usually day 12-26 in the cycle, or continue on if you think you are pregnant and contact your doctor. You can learn the correct way to use Natural Progesterone Cream by reading our Progesterone Fertility Guide at this link: http://natural-fertility-info.com/progesterone-fertility-guide

Q: In last two months, I had 26 days cycle. What day do you think I shall be ovulating? I did some research and it said I should be ovulating on Day 12. However, I am on Day 10 today, and I spot a thick cloudy CM. Could I already have ovulated? is it true and common that most of the ovulation would happen 14 days from the beginning of the next cycle?

Although previously I’ve also had similar situation where i had a cloudy/thick CM day, then I would later have another round of clear/runny CM days, followed by a cloudy/thick CM day. Is this normal? Could I ovulate twice in a cycle? Why did I ave the CM change twice?

A: CM can change from thick cloudy to slippery wet. This slippery wet, raw egg white consistency is your most fertile time. Once this turns back to thick and cloudy begin to count the days to your period. This will help you to know how long from ovulation to your period is. That way you can count how many days before your period you may ovulate.

What you are experiencing is normal. Women often have several changes in CM. It is when the CM changes to the slippery wet/egg white consistency you are most fertile and should try to conceive. Your most fertile days are the TWO days prior to ovulation (when slipper wet begins) and the DAY OF ovulation.

Ovulating twice at different times in your cycle would be very rare. Usually if a woman is to ovulate more than one mature follicle it would be at the same time.

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[-] 23 Comments
  1. My husband have very low sperm count, motility and morphology. We have been TTC for almost 5 years now and we are preparing for our 3rd round of IVF.

    Here’s my question:
    My husband and I have been combining daily doses of these prenatal vitamins:
    proxeed,
    fertilaid and
    pregnancare
    (plus these supplements:
    Tumeric
    Maca
    L-Arginine
    Royal Jelly
    Bee Pollen
    Bee Propolis
    Folic acid
    CoQ10
    Omega 3
    Vitamin C ).

    Question 1: Is it okay to use the 3 mentioned prenatal vitamins together? if not, why?

    Question 2: Are any specific dangers in taking the three mentioned together?

    Question 3: is it safe to use all the supplements mentioned together?

    Thanks
    Tope

    • Dear Tope,

      In general it is not suggested to combine three multivitamins. One alone should contain the recommended daily amount of each nutrient. That said, Proxeed is not a multivitamin to my knowledge. The reason to not consume all three is that you could be exceeding the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of each nutrient which is not advisable. For example, folic acid is in each supplement and you are taking it in addition to them. The RDA for men aged 19+ years is 400 mcg (daily). With Proxeed and Fertilaid for Men alone, 700mcg is being consumed daily. One can take too much of even a good thing!

      While we do not support taking Pregnacare or FertilAid, it may be best to pick one or the other (either of which can be taken in combination with the individual supplements listed given you are staying within the RDA for each vitamin/mineral/nutrient).

  2. About 9 months ago I quit birth control. Since then, I have had spotting before heavy periods that are anywhere from 21-26 days apart. I’m 34 years old and my progesterone levels are low. I don’t feel like I’ve been ovulating correctly since stopping the pill. I started taking 1000mg of vitex and the spotting has improved but I’m still having short cycles with heavy periods. Also, this the second month on vitex, my breasts were tender on the sides on cycle day 17 and then my period came on day 23. I really want to lighten my periods and extend my cycle length. Suggestions? I have a healthy diet…

  3. How important is it to take Vitex on an empty stomach? Will it still work if you don’t remember to take it until after you’ve eaten something? Can it still work if you miss a day here and there?

    • Dear Shelle,

      Fertilica Vitex suggested use if first thing in the morning with water and consistently, each day of the menstrual cycle, for a minimum of three months time (up to 6 months to a year). This being said, Vitex will still be effective if taken with food. I have not read that it won’t be effective if a day is missed here or there, but it will be able to be most effective if taken regularly.

  4. Thank you for the info. I’m supposed to start stimulation soon. I’ve been on the following supplements. I just want to know which ones I need to stop when I start injections. From what I read above, I need to stop CoQ10 and L-Arginine. Should I stop any of the others? I’m doing frozen embryo transfer at some point in future so can I start them back up after I have my retrieval?

    DHEA – 25mg x 2/day
    Myo Inositol 2gm (twice a day)
    Melatonin 3mg (at bedtime)
    Co Enzyme Q10 – 200 mg x 2/day
    Omega-3 fatty acid 1000mg (once daily)
    Vitamin C 500mg (once daily)
    Vitamin E 200IU (once daily)
    L-arginine 1000mg (twice a day)
    Pycnogenol 100mg (once daily)
    Vitamin b12
    Prenatal Vitamin

    One last question… I was on Vitex, but I read on webmd that it shouldn’t be taken while on birth control (which I was put on for IVF prep). Also, webmd says it can interfere with IVF. So I stopped, but wanted to know your thoughts about this? Whether I should start up again and stop when I start injections.

    Thanks,
    Sheila

    • Dear Sheila,

      It is going to be best to speak with your healthcare provider about continuing supplements during stimulation and in preparation for FET. We can only support taking a prenatal multivitamin and a quality omega-3 supplement.

      We also do not suggest combining Fertilica Vitex with birth control or taking this herb while preparing for, or during IVF or FET. Herbs that have an action on the hormones may impact medications that do the same.

      The article 5 Steps to Preparing for a Frozen Embryo Transfer may be helpful when you get past this first step and begin to prepare for the frozen embryo transfer.

      All my best to you!

    • Thanks – Do you have a recommendation on a good quality Omega 3 brand?

    • Dear Sheila,

      We recommend Fertilica brand Omega 3, 6, 9 or Fertilica Cod Liver Oil. Both are available from the Natural Fertility Shop. They are free of heavy metals and pesticides and concentrated formulas.

  5. I have POCS, a blocked tube and a hormonal imbalance. (testosterone is a “tad” high) TTC for the last year. Clomid did not work for me. I have started using Vitex, Red Clover & CoQ10. Should I try something else? Thanks!

  6. I was taking 800 mg of vitex up until my last ovulation (I had been taking it for about a year prior). My cycles were very regular (btwn 27-29 days). I am not sure why I did but I just stopped cold turkey about 2 weeks ago and then just fnd put I was pregnant. Is there any evidence that it could be potentially harmful to resume taking for first trimester since I have had two previous early miscarriages?? Any thoughts would be extremely appreciated. I’m about 3 w 4d now.

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Hi Sarah!

      Congratulations on your pregnancy! This is wonderful news!

      I am sorry for the brief delay in replying as I wanted to speak with a colleague about your questions as neither of us has ever worked with any one, or heard of a woman beginning Vitex in pregnancy.
      We both feel it would be best for you to get your progesterone levels tested now and then consider natural progesterone cream (NPC), we suggest Emerita ProGest, in pregnancy if progesterone levels are lower or borderline low. NPC supplementation is a more reliable way to increase progesterone levels in early pregnancy.
      If you desire to use Vitex in pregnancy, we suggest you find a herbalist or trained midwife to work with, or someone who can suggest proper dose and monitor you in using it in early pregnancy.
      You can also learn about NPC use in pregnancy here…

      Sarah, we also both feel that you are probably fine because you were taking Vitex prior to pregnancy and had been working on improving hormone balance for a year prior.
      If you are worried about pregnancy loss with this pregnancy, consider finding a qualified midwife or naturopathic midwife to work with you.

      Best wishes for a happy and healthy pregnancy, birth and baby!

  7. Hi. I started with my IVF preparation, this month I´m in Birth control pill. I will start with IVF medications on June 19th. Then I expect my period on June 25th. My question is, do you recommend me to take any herbs, vitamins or super foods these days, before a start with IVF medications? Or its not worth it? I´ve been taking maca for 2 weeks. Im 26, my fertility problem is trombofilia, autoimmune problems and low ovarian reserve, with poor eggs.

  8. Hi. I recently was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy after taking Vitex for heavy periods for two months. I had to have a Methotrexate injection and was advised to wait 4 months before trying to conceive again. My question is, should I begin taking Vitex again? My cycles have always been fairly regular (26-28 days) but very heavy and lasting 6-7 days. I also had a tubal ligation reversal in November of 2013, am 37 years old and desperately want another baby. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Elisha,

      I am sorry to hear of your ectopic pregnancy! I am not sure that vitex is the right herb for you or not. I can say that vitex takes many months to be effective, especially if there is hormone imbalance/menstrual cycle irregularities. There are some other guides I think you will find useful, as they pertain more to your fertility challenges…

      As you know, one risk of tubal ligation removal is ectopic pregnancy due to scar tissue. You can learn ways to support your body in achieving a healthy pregnancy after this procedure here: http://natural-fertility-info.com/tubal-ligation-removal-fertility.html You may also want to read our guide on healing from ectopic pregnancy here: http://natural-fertility-info.com/ectopic-pregnancy.html

      If you desire more specific guidance, based on your individual needs, you may want to consider a consultation with us.

  9. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

  10. If taking royal jelly for fertility should it be stopped after ovulation and begun again when menstruation begins?

  11. Is it possible to be pregnant with monthly menstruation taking place?
    Can pregnancy block the fallopian tubes?

    Your reply will be appreciated.
    thanks.

    • Hi judith idahosa,

      Menstruation is the shedding of the uterine lining. This does not happen in pregnancy. Bleeding throughout pregnancy is possible and if you are experiencing this, you should see a doctor right away to rule out any problems with the pregnancy.

      Pregnancy cannot block the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy can. Damage from cesarean section delivery has a risk of causing damage to the fallopian tubes, which may cause them to be scarred shut.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene