Fertility care and support is an approach that is ideally used for both partners in order to optimize health and maturity of both the egg and sperm. Fertility care can begin 3 months before you are planning to try to get pregnant. In the world of fertility, however, time is a luxury that we don’t always have, and can therefore begin fertility care at any time after you have started trying to conceive.
It is important to understand that even if you are “late to the game” and are currently undergoing fertility treatment, there are still many things you can do concurrently to optimize your body’s function and improve your chances of having a successful pregnancy.
The benefits of fertility care include:
- Improving the quality of the egg and sperm
- Balancing hormones
- Supporting implantation of the embryo
- Decreasing stress
- Increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs
- Supporting the uterine lining to enhance implantation
There are 4 aspects to Fertility Care:
After an extensive consultation, an individualized supplement plan is recommended that will adequately support your fertility needs.
Whether we have a 3-month or a 1-week window, your treatment will begin right away to give you the support your body requires.
Using the information gathered during the extensive initial assessment, a specific acupuncture protocol is set in place to help address the potential issues that may be causing difficulty conceiving.
BENEFITS OF ACUPUNCTURE TO SUPPORT FERTILITY INCLUDE:
- Decrease stress & anxiety – especially during the 2 week wait
- Promote blood flow to the reproductive organs to help support function
- Thicken the uterine lining
- Support ovulation
- Support implantation
- Regulate the menstrual cycle
- Balance hormones
Acupuncture is also used for any male sperm pathologies that may be affecting fertility.
Acupuncture has been reported to promote the circulation of blood and oxygen into the pelvic cavity and improve ovarian function.
In addition to acupuncture specifically stimulating and supporting the functioning of the reproductive organs, many patients also experience enhanced feelings of well-being. Improvements such as deeper sleep, better digestion, decreased anxiety, increased energy, enhanced moods and more, are reported. These physical and emotional shifts positively influence the chances of conceiving, regardless of whether one is trying naturally or undergoing assisted reproductive treatment.
3. Assessment of diet & creating an individualized diet plan
Providing an assessment of the diet is extremely important as it lays the foundation for your overall health.
Research has shown that eating a cleaner and healthier diet can improve your chances of getting pregnant. There are certain hormonal conditions that respond incredibly well to the elimination of certain inflammatory foods.
Fertility care involves looking at your current diet and creating an individualized diet plan that will provide the support you need. These plans are not necessarily about losing weight, but instead it’s about making the proper substitutions for foods you are eating now that are not enhancing your fertility or overall health. Poor eating habits can affect your energy, digestion, stress levels, sleeping habits and create a “stressed” internal environment thereby imbalancing hormones and affecting fertility.
This part of fertility care is probably the one that people are most afraid of. Many people are worried that they will have to change everything they are eating or go on a diet. This is definitely NOT the case! The changes we make are slow and gradual and discussed together in a way that feels manageable and comfortable.
4. Lab & blood work assessment
When undergoing fertility treatment there can be an overwhelming amount of blood work, ultrasounds and other testing that is required in order to collect all of the necessary information.
Working with REI’s (Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility specialists) I know and understand the tests that my patients are having done, can thoroughly analyze, and help them understand the results. If you are going for cycle monitoring and having blood work and ultrasounds done through out the month, we can go over those results to monitor hormone levels, follicle/egg growth, and ovulation.
In addition to the testing that is done by your doctor, there are other tests that can be very helpful when understanding what fertility support is needed.
The following are tests that may be recommended:
Food intolerance testing – a simple blood test can determine what foods you are intolerant to. This is especially important if you are exhibiting many digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation etc.
Heavy metal toxicity – determining possible accumulations of heavy metals in the body is important when undergoing fertility treatment. Metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium and more can be causing symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, low energy, and may be a factor associated with male and female infertility.
Cortisol – Cortisol is a hormone that is very closely linked to stress levels. Many people have increased levels of cortisol in their body which can lead to symptoms such as weight gain, low sex drive, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and more.
Thyroid testing – ensuring that thyroid levels are optimal is crucial when doing a fertility assessment. Blood work may show that thyroid function is within a normal range, however, levels of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) need to be in an ideal range when trying to pregnant.
Vitamin D, Iron, Vitamin B12 – these 3 nutrients are not necessarily routinely checked when having blood work with an annual physical exam. Sufficient levels of vitamin D, iron and B12 in the body are all important when trying to conceive. If necessary, a recommendation will be made to have the levels of these nutrients checked.