While there’s no hack or trick that is guaranteed to get you pregnant, if you’re still trying to conceive ‘the old-fashioned way,’ there are quite a few changes you can make to your routine to give your odds a boost. In this article, we will be highlighting a few of the more non-traditional ways to boost fertility that might just be worth considering.

1. Using castor oil packs

I had never heard of these ‘lil guys before starting my fertility journey. Around that time, I started attending a fertility yoga workshop where I first heard about castor oil packs and then began using them, finding them an affordable and relaxing way to practice “self care.” 

But what is castor oil? Castor oil comes from the castor seed and is known for its health-promoting abilities. The Chinese, Persians, and Egyptians all used this oil in balms and ointments. During the Middle Ages, it was used throughout Europe for treating skin ailments.

Safe and effective at boosting your chances of conception, castor oil packs are a centuries-old natural therapy used by naturopaths and homeopaths to help boost your fertility and promote healing in your reproductive system.

So how can castor oil packs help when dealing with your reproductive system? Well, when applied correctly they can:

  • Alleviate congestion in the abdomen area

  • Repair tissues while increasing circulation and blood flow

  • Support ovarian and uterine health

  • Promote fallopian tube health

  • Support healthy endometrial growth

  • Alleviate PMS symptoms

  • Improve lymphatic circulation

  • Detoxify the liver

  • Reduce inflammation

There are many kits you can purchase that include a flannel cloth, castor oil, and easy-to-follow instructions. We recommend this kit by the Heritage Store, available on Amazon. Otherwise, you can find castor oil online or at many holistic grocery stores like Whole Foods.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One flannel cloth

  • One bottle of castor oil

  • Hot water bottle or heating pad

  • An old towel or piece of plastic

  • Old clothes and sheets you don’t care about

How do you use castor oil for fertility? Here are the instructions: 

Soak the flannel cloth in castor oil so that it is saturated, but not dripping.

While lying down on an old towel or sheet, place the cloth over your abdomen (right below your belly button).

Place another grungy towel or piece of plastic on top of the cloth and place your hot water bottle or heating pad on top of it.

Lie on your back with your feet elevated (if possible) and relax for 30-45 minutes. You could try meditating, reading or watching a show, if you’d like.

Afterward, remove the pack and place the flannel and castor oil in the fridge.

Use a natural soap (or a combination of water and baking soda) to remove any castor oil left on your skin.

Drink water!

Castor oil packs are relaxing, affordable, and pretty easy to use. Honestly the biggest downside? It’s very messy; castor oil WILL stain your clothes and sheets…so if you’re squeamish about messes, the whole process may be more stressful than helpful.

For maximum effectiveness, try using castor oil packs every other day for a couple of weeks in a row. That said, castor oil packs should only be used from the time your menstruation ends until ovulation occurs (also known as your “follicular stage”). If you are trying to conceive, do not use castor oil packs after ovulation. And if you think you’re pregnant? Stop using them immediately. If you have questions or concerns about castor oil packs, please speak directly with your healthcare provider.

2. Incorporating seed cycling into your diet

Seed cycling, or the practice of eating specific seeds during the two main phases of your menstrual cycle (follicular and luteal), is one of the easiest ways you can support your hormones in a natural, yet effective way. Seed cycling can not only help promote the healthy balance of estrogen and progesterone levels throughout your cycle, but it can also reduce PMS symptoms, boost fertility, stimulate menstruation if it’s absent, and alleviate other pesky symptoms that are a result of hormonal imbalances. 

Seed cycling can be used at any stage of a woman’s life. However, it is especially beneficial when coming off of hormonal birth control or if you’re struggling with symptoms such as PMS, acne, irregular periods, or amenorrhea. 

To better understand seed cycling, you need to understand the two main phases of your menstrual cycle. The first 14 days of your menstrual cycle make up the follicular phase, while the following 14 days make up the luteal phase. When your hormone levels are balanced, estrogen rises during the first half of your cycle whereas progesterone levels rise (while estrogen levels slowly decline) during the second half of your cycle. An imbalance between estrogen and progesterone can contribute to a whole slew of symptoms, from menstrual cramps to absent periods. 

So, how can you put seed cycling into practice? On days 1-14 of your cycle, or from menstruation to ovulation, incorporate 1-2 tablespoons ground flax seeds and 1-2 tablespoons ground pumpkin seeds into your diet. Then, on days 15-28 of your cycle, or from ovulation to menstruation, switch to 1-2 tablespoons ground sunflower seeds and 1-2 tablespoons ground sesame seeds. 

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If you don’t have a 28-day menstrual cycle, don’t worry. You can simply adjust the length of time you consume each seed combination based on your cycle length. It’s also possible to seed cycle with irregular or missing periods by following the phases of the moon. In this case, days 1-14 of your cycle would begin with the new moon, and days 15-28 would begin with the full moon. 

It’s important to note that while there is little scientific research that supports the direct relationship between seed cycling and improved hormonal balance in women, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work! There are studies that show clear correlations that specific nutritional components in flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds may play a role in supporting your natural hormonal cycle, so it definitely doesn’t hurt to try. 

Click here for more information on how to incorporate seed cycling into your daily routine, and be sure to consult with your healthcare provider with any questions. 

3. Trying the Twoplus sperm guide

If you suspect that male factor infertility might be the issue, there are nontraditional options out there for you as well. In addition to taking a male prenatal vitamin, you can also try out the Twoplus sperm guide during intercourse. 

The Twoplus sperm guide focuses on a key aspect of natural fertility: improving sperm transport for fertilization. Did you know that men of this generation carry about half the number of sperm compared to men from 40 years ago? Coupled with the fact that most sperm don’t make it very far into the female reproductive tract, the Twoplus sperm guide is designed to get as many sperm as possible to the right location within the vaginal tract for conception. 

The Twoplus sperm guide aims to increase the chances of conception by avoiding semen leakage during sex. The device is made with soft silicone, so you don't feel uncomfortable using it. During intercourse, the Twoplus soft flap allows the penis to glide over it effortlessly. After ejaculation, the male withdraws, and the Twoplus flap springs up. This forms a seal that blocks the back-flow of semen and protects the semen from the harmful acidic lower vaginal canal. 

It’s simple, safe, cost-effective, and you can use the code FR30OFF to get 30% off the three-pack sperm guide kit for a limited time here

The bottom line?

Fertility treatments can be stressful and time-consuming, not to mention cost-prohibitive for many people. If you’re struggling to conceive and not ready for fertility treatments just yet, some of these non-traditional alternatives could be worth asking your doctor about. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to getting pregnant, who knows, one of these options might just work for you!

Kristyn Hodgdon is the Co-Founder and Chief Community Officer at Rescripted.