Fertility Before & After Pregnancy

What are the many ways that your body communicates fertility? What do your cervix and breasts want you to know? How is your menstrual cycle affected by sleep or nutrition? What’s YOUR normal? Emily Varnam and Kelsey Knight tell us more about this 5th vital sign of health.

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What we talked about:

  • Your menstrual cycle as a sign of health
  • How does your body communicate fertility?
  • Getting to know your cervix
  • Checking your cervical fluid
  • Ph and good bacteria
  • You’re so nurturing, you even make snacks for visiting sperm!
  • Your breasts also communicate
  • Keeping track of it all
  • How does sleep and nutrition affect your cycle?
  • Fats as protective resources
  • Lessening your stress responses
  • Are you over stimulating your adrenal glands?
  • Breastfeeding as birth control? Yes and no.
  • How your body communicates fertility after pregnancy
  • Getting back to your monthly rhythm
  • Bonus: What about perimenopause and menopause?


Related resources*:


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About Kelsey Knight and Emily Varnam


Kelsey Knight

Courtesy of Kelsey Knight

Kelsey Knight is a labor and delivery registered nurse in NYC. She trained and volunteered as an intrapartum doula, opening her eyes to the imperatives of informed consent and health as a human right, and subsequently pursued a nursing career in in-patient obstetrics. She is a certified lactation counselor, childbirth educator, and member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). She’s also interested in documenting women’s stories. Most recently, she co-initiated a project, called The Fifth Vital Sign, with her best friend, Emily. For the past 11 weeks, they’ve roadtripped across the United States, teaching free reproductive health classes in over 63 locations along the way, spreading information about body literacy and informed choice.


Emily Varnam

Courtesy of Emily Varnam

Emily Varnam is a birth and postpartum doula, midwive’s assistant, birth control doula, placenta encapsulation specialist, and holds a degree in counseling and mentoring. She has been working with newborns and families since age seven and her goal is to be able to take people’s hands during puberty and walk with them through every stage of reproductive health. Her practice as a birth control doula has taken her to classes, talks and ob/gyn visits with clients.  In 2014 Emily developed and began offering a class called ‘My Vagina, My Business’ it was this class and her desire to connect with communities across America that inspired The Fifth Vital Sign. She was recently accepted into the Justisse Training Program and never wants to stop learning about reproductive health. Emily plans to continue to grow and develop The Fifth Vital Sign with further curricula and trainings as the response has been so overwhelming.

Learn more about them and their project at The Fifth Vital Sign, or follow the conversation on Facebook (@5thvitalsign), Twitter (@the5thvitalsign), or Instagram (@thefifthvitalsign)

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