Have you ever wondered what more you could be doing to help your fertility? Do you know the best foods to eat or avoid? And what the best vitamins may be? Are you wondering if acupuncture may be right for you? Have you been arguing with your partner or feeling alone? Is the stress of your fertility journey getting to you? To see, discover, and learn about ways to enhance your fertility, please read on.
Naturopathic doctors help restore and support the powerful and inherent healing ability of your body, mind and spirit and to prevent further disease from occurring.
Their goal is to identify the underlying cause of your fertility, which may be due to diet, lifestyle habits, life events, posture or environment.
When it comes to your fertility, naturopathic approaches may include looking at your diet, along with your weight – as both over and underweight has been linked to reproductive disorders. Based on your specific diagnosis and lifestyle, they may tailor a diet best suited for your fertility needs.
Another aspect may involve examining and recommending particular supplements, which may aid your egg and sperm quality.
Supporting your body’s detoxification pathways may help improve your hormone balance, as may removing toxic substances from your home.
Immune issues can also addressed, especially when it comes to your thyroid function, as well as your gut health.
In addition, certain supplements have been shown to be helpful in specific conditions, such as PCOS and endometriosis.
Finally, addressing your stress response through specialized testing, vitamin support and relaxation training rounds up the naturopathic approach to your fertility.
To get a hold of more information about naturopathy and your fertility please visit www.wyldenaturalhealthteam.com.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of hair thin sterile needles into specific points in the body, where they trigger your body’s natural healing response. It originates in China, where it has been used for thousands of years to help control pain and treat various disorders.
There are about 400 acupuncture points in the body along 12 main “meridians” or pathways in the body through which energy, life force or “qi” flows. When this energy flow is disrupted, it is thought to result in disease. The needles that are inserted into these points along these lines are then felt to harmonize the energy flow in your body.
When it comes to your fertility, acupuncture has been suggested to improve the blood flow to the pelvic cavity, potentially improving ovarian function, follicle development, uterine blood flow and enhancing the lining for implantation. In this way, it may be helpful for conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and painful or absent/irregular periods.
Acupuncture is usually done 1-2 times a week throughout your menstrual cycle, and the treatment points are tailored to the specific phase of your cycle. Ideally, the initial treatment period consists of 2-3 months in order to improve any imbalances.
It has also been shown to be helpful in conjunction with assisted reproductive technology treatments, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Be sure to ask your doctor or clinic about this option.
For more information please visit www.pacificwellness.ca.
3: Mind body tools and therapy / counselling
When you’ve decided to have a baby and are suddenly facing the prospect that it may not happen, it can be highly stressful and emotionally devastating. That stress can manifest in certain ways in your body that may make having a baby even harder.
Mind body tools are used by coaches who guide you on your fertility journey with different modalities which make you aware of the relationship between your mind, your body and your spirit (conscious awareness). You are made aware that what you believe in your mind becomes reflected in your body.
By changing the thoughts and what is happening in your mind, you can then change what is happening in your body.
Through the coaching process you will be taught how to respond to events in new ways, which will give you more choices and a new outlook on events that happened to you in the past. You will gain new positive insights from your past negative experiences and reduce the negative charge of your emotions.
The stress you experience may affect your relationship with your partner or cause you to isolate yourself if you are a single and looking to conceive. This is where counselling can be helpful.
By speaking to a counsellor, you will gain insight into your coping strategies and how they may or may not be helpful in your relationship with yourself and/or your partner. By becoming aware and learning new skills, you will be supported through your ups and downs on your fertility journey.
For information about other aspects of your fertility options, please visit our book site at www.embraceyourfertility.com.
Did you know that 1 in 6 couples are having trouble getting pregnant? Are you on your own fertility journey now and wondering what resources are out there? Are you single or in a same sex relationship and looking for information? Have you pondered adoption? If this sounds, looks or feels like you, keep reading.
Perhaps all you want to see is that big fat positive on the pregnancy test, but you just can’t quite get there. We’ll talk about options to improve and embrace your fertility here.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after 1 year of trying in women under the age of 35, or 6 months in those 36-40 years old and 3 months in women over 40.
Infertility is also very, very common and nothing to be ashamed of. I have been helping those struggling to conceive as an obstetrician gynecologist, specialty trained in gynecologic reproductive endocrinology and infertility over the past 10 years.
(To learn more about my journey and how I reached my goals, and for other inspiring achievement stories, feel free to read, get a hold of or listen to “Empowering Women to Succeed: tough times don’t last but tough women do.”)
How we can help you on your fertility journey has evolved over the years and has become extremely successful. From simple things, such as changing your diet and adding vitamins with naturopathy; to acupuncture and East Asian medicine with certain herbs; to mind body therapies, such as hypnosis and coaching; to counseling; traditional Western medical treatments; sperm donation, egg donation and gestational surrogacy; as well as adoption – the options are enormous and there is something for everyone.
By learning from my patients and becoming part of their fertility journeys, I have discovered that there are many ways to achieve the dream of having a family – some of which you may never have imagined.
You may choose one or combine several, the choice is up to you. I have combined everything I have learned from my patients and fellow practitioners and put it together into a simple resource in a book called “Embrace Your Fertility: Empowering You with Tools to Help You Succeed.” (www.embraceyourfertility.com)
I decided to write this book because I felt that all the resources were not available in one concise format or location for my patients – and that limited their ability to realize all that was possible for them.
In addition, I asked my patients to share their stories in the book, so that others could benefit from their experience. While having gone through the journey myself, I acknowledge, appreciate and honor everyone’s own personal and unique way of navigating the rollercoaster of emotions that come along our fertility path.
I love learning and empowering others to see, feel, hear and experience the best that they can be. To this end, I continue fervently on my learning and self-discovery journey, from learning about neurolinguistic programming (how your behavior can be positively modified and improved and the study of excellence and how to replicate it), to any other ways I can find to help those who come to see me.
This has led me to also become certified in hypnosis and the Whole Health Medicine Institute with Dr. Lissa Rankin, which looks at health and well-being from a more spiritual and holistic perspective; and most recently pursue my training in Functional Medicine.
I am passionate about helping you uncover your potential, empower you with tools to help you succeed and become your best self. For more fertility information, you may also wish to visit www.reproductivefacts.org.
To share your story, journey or other helpful information, please comment below, – would love to hear from you! What if your words could help ignite the spark to someone else’s success?
As a fertility specialist, I answer many questions from couples about improving their chances of success all the time; I was once a patient myself and I was keen to do everything within my power to succeed. I share this list with you in that same spirit and hope you will be empowered, as I was, and that you will experience the same positive outcome.
- How quickly should we expect to become pregnant?
This is not a means of improving your odds, but rather a question to ask yourself, because you may not in fact need any help conceiving.
If you are a woman under the age of thirty five, current recommendations suggest you look for help after twelve months of trying; if you are over thirty five, that time-frame shrinks to six months; and 3 months over the age of 40. However, in some cases, we see you much sooner or even before you start trying. About 85% of couples become pregnant within 12 months and 95% within 18 months. I recommend a relaxing, yet hot and steamy vacation, if at all possible! No joke!
- How often and when should we have intercourse?
Healthy sperm will typically live up to three days in cervical fluid and eggs are viable only on the day of ovulation, so the most likely time for intercourse to result in pregnancy is during the two day period prior to ovulation and ending on the day of ovulation.
Although previous studies suggested there may be a slight decrease in concentration of sperm during frequent intercourse, the most recent evidence shows that for most couples, the more frequent the intercourse during this period, the higher the likelihood of conception, so if you want to have fun daily, by all means do so!
- Age of the woman is the most important factor in ensuring a successful pregnancy.
A woman’s fertility begins to drop between twenty four and twenty five years old and significantly reduces again between the ages of thirty five and thirty seven years. So the sooner you start, the better, though I believe in your power to achieve anything you desire, so whenever you are ready will be the right time for you. Oocyte cryo-preservation (egg freezing) can be an option for younger women who may increase their odds of a successful pregnancy in later years by having some eggs retrieved and frozen now. This technique can also be used prior to cancer treatment to avoid toxic effects to the eggs from radio or chemotherapy.
- Good nutrition.
A moderate and balanced diet is key to getting pregnant now, your health in pregnancy and having a healthy baby.
A diet which includes a mixture of lean meat, fish and meat alternatives (such as beans & lentils), whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables and which avoids high calorie, sugar, fat or salt foods and beverages, per the Canada Food Guide is a great idea for everyone, but particularly a couple trying to conceive. It is important for both partners to commit to a healthy lifestyle, starting with their diet.
- Maintain normal weight (Body-Mass-Index [BMI] of 19-25).
If you are overweight, even a small loss of weight (5-10%) can improve the probability of becoming pregnant, so have fun shopping for and cooking with healthy choices and alternatives.
- Exercise regularly and moderately.
This will help you maintain a healthy weight and help keep your stress level in check (see #10 below). However, be careful not to overdo it – extreme training can sometimes reduce your probability of conception. Choose the one that works best for you, be it yoga or kick-boxing, or anything in-between!
- Stop smoking.
Women who smoke will experience menopause up to five years earlier than those who don’t; smoking women have half the pregnancy rates in IVF cycles and require double the doses of medication than non-smokers. Of course, it goes without saying that once you become pregnant, you need to quit for the sake of your baby’s health. Interestingly, in a recent study, women who had quit for a year had the same rate of conception as non-smokers, so it makes a lot of sense to plan ahead and quit now. If you need help, call us , as we have the resources for your success.
- Alcohol: Drink two or less drinks per week (and when pregnant, abstain completely).
Some studies suggest a link between even moderate alcohol consumption during early pregnancy and miscarriage and since the science cannot yet tell us if there is a safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, it makes sense to abstain completely once you have ovulated (in case you have already conceived). Though, I say have fun and enjoy a glass or two safely when you can!
- Limit Coffee to 1-2 drinks per day.
The research on caffeine and a woman’s fertility is not yet definitive; some studies show a link between caffeine and difficulty becoming pregnant, whilst others do not. There is some research showing a greater risk of miscarriage at caffeine consumption levels of > 200 mg per day and therefore I suggest limiting coffee consumption to 1-2 cups per day, before and during pregnancy. Of course, coffee is not the only beverage or food containing caffeine, so I advise my patients to be mindful of caffeine levels in other drinks and foods too.
- Seek emotional and/or psychological support, consider meditation, mindfulness or hypnosis, to reduce stress.
Undue stress can upset your body’s hormonal balance and affect the regularity of your ovulation cycle and of course, once you become pregnant, you will want to manage your stress level for both the sake of your own health and the health of your baby. It makes a great deal of sense therefore, to enlist professional emotional and psychological support early, be it through modern methods such as massage therapy or mindfulness or traditional mind-body techniques such meditation or hypnosis. Call us for more information about these techniques and practitioners! I myself love hypnosis and am a total hypno-bunny according to my trainer.
As you can see, there are many lifestyle choices that are within your power that can improve your chance of becoming pregnant. They also help you during your pregnancy and as you raise your family.
Remember to consult your doctor and make sure you have all additional resources at your disposal to improve your success in pregnancy and beyond. I love empowering you on your journey!
Timea Belej-Rak, MD