March Focus: Fertility

Spring is a time of rebirth, sudden growth, and rapid expansion; an awakening of the life process. With that in mind, my focus for this month is on Fertility.

Oh baby!

Couples who are planning to have a baby put a lot of thought into preparing for the arrival of a new child, from the Hopeful couplenursery, baby’s college fund and of course the baby’s name.  And while these are all important, the health of parents before and during the pregnancy is the most important factor in determining the health of the baby.

Best practice says you want to prepare your body at least 4-6 months before you intend to become pregnant so that it is strong, ready to conceive and carry the child through to a healthy birth. It is said in Chinese Medicine that you need to “tend the garden”, preparing the soil for a healthy baby. This goes for both Mom and Dad. In order to have healthy baby-producing sperm, we want to make sure that the father’s “garden” is properly tended too. For women, it takes the body about 120 days to mature the eggs, and for men, it takes about 70-90 days for a man’s sperm to mature.  For this reason, I stress that couples should take the time to address any imbalances before they try to become pregnant.

Along with eating a well balanced diet high in dark leafy greens and good quality protein, and reducing stress, I recommend regular acupuncture treatments and, if necessary, herbal therapy to help balance hormones, reduce stress and strengthen the body to prepare it for pregnancy.

Getting pregnant is just the beginning though. I think you’ll agree that the ultimate goal is to have a healthy child. I also provide support during the pregnancy to address any discomfort like morning sickness and back pain and minimize the risk of miscarriage.

When it’s complicated

Sometimes there are complicating factors that make getting pregnant more difficult for some. I see many patients that have issues becoming pregnant, and there can be a number of reasons for this such as:

  • Menstrual issues (irregular periods),
  • Stress,
  • Illness,
  • Ovarian cysts or Edometriosis,
  • or other seemingly unrelated factors.

Difficulty getting pregnant can be stressful both emotionally and financially.  With acupuncture and herbal medicine I look to create a nourishing and sustaining environment for the fetus to thrive. I do this by improving reproductive system function and increasing blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, reducing stress and balancing hormones.

If you have had failed attempts at pregnancy and are using IVF or other western medical treatment for infertility, medical research shows Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can provide additional support. I see several patients who’s Fertility Specialist has recommended acupuncture to improve the odds of a successful pregnancy.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can provide support for couples during all phases of pregnancy, even with complicated conditions. By combining it with a balanced diet, moderate regular exercise, and stress reduction, the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby are greatly improved. See additional tips below.

P.S. – As a part of my continuing education, I’ll be attending an Advanced Reproductive Medicine seminar later this month with Chinese Medicine Fertility Expert, Dr. Randine Lewis. I’m really excited to expand my knowledge of complex fertility challenges and solutions that I can bring back to my patients to better support them.