The Fifth Vital Sign: Master Your Cycles and Optimize Your Fertility
By Lisa Hendrickson-Jack
Hendrickson-Jack is a certified fertility awareness educator and holistic reproductive health practitioner who has dedicated her career to providing women with practical knowledge to manage their family planning and reproductive health—something our medical and educational systems have consistently failed to do.
The author begins with an in-depth discussion about the normal menstrual cycle, noting that charting one’s cycle can be up to 99.4 percent effective when used for birth control, while also serving as a way to identify one’s fertility window confidently.
She then discusses conditions that can interfere with normal cycling, including thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA). These conditions can be predicted by charting one’s cycles, and overcome with lifestyle changes.
Hendrickson-Jack’s most important chapter focuses on hormonal contraception (HC), otherwise known as the Pill. Hailed as the wonder drug that would set women free, and which did set women free from the prospect of eight children by the age of thirty, it soon became apparent that serious consequences could follow its use, infertility being just one of them. Hendrickson-Jack provides wise guidance on coming off the pill, advice for recovery from the many nutrient deficiencies it causes, support for your natural hormone system and a plan to restore fertility.
The wonderful thing about The Fifth Vital Sign is that the dietary advice is right in sync with the Weston A. Price Foundation. Hendrickson-Jack recommends lots of good fats, raw milk, pastured meats, lacto-fermented foods and bone broth. She recognizes the vital importance of vitamin A for reproductive health and recommends cod liver oil and liver for fertility and well-being. Most importantly, she warns against soy foods as contributing to thyroid problems and infertility. So many women today are struggling to find vibrant health and overcome infertility. I recommend The Fifth Vital Sign as a great place to start. The book is gentle, helpful and easy to read, and will help women regain the vital skill of reproductive control. Thank you, Lisa, for this important contribution!
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2019