Can Fertility Acupuncture help your Egg Quality?

As an integrative acupuncturist, I understand the importance of looking into your menstrual cycle health and recognising imbalances such as irregular cycles, painful periods, PMS, excessively heavy or light menstrual flow, and of course the big one…your AMH. By now most of you are probably aware of your egg quality and would like to know how to improve it.

To improve egg quality, we need to establish if there is an imbalance of hormones, review your intake of nutritional supplements and have a look at your diet. It’s also important to look at your stress levels and assess how these may be impacting you. As an acupuncturist, I use palpation to assess the circulation to your ovaries and uterus by examining your abdomen. All of these things help paint a picture of your reproductive health.

So what can you do?

In TCM, we describe the process of ageing by how the kidneys are functioning. We look at how you live, whether you are getting enough rest, eating well, reducing stress, not abusing drugs/alcohol, having sex (but not too much!) etc – all of which can have an impact on how you preserve this material. TCM is an excellent way to help protect and preserve this material and to help it to be best expressed, particularly during the time while you are trying to improve your egg quality.

It’s important to give your body the necessary time for any changes you make to take effect.

You probably know that you are born with your eggs and that these numbers naturally decline as you age. However, the follicles sit in hibernation until around 100 days prior to ovulation. This means that those 100 days before the month you conceive are critical in the quality of your eggs.

An easy way to have a day to day impact on the quality of your eggs is by including some of the following foods into your diet:

  • Salmon
  • Broccoli
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Berries (such as Blueberries)
  • Maca
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Eggs
  • Dark leafy greens (and lots of them)

(Where you can, make sure your fresh veggies and fruit are organic and your salmon is wild caught and not farmed).

And of course, just as it’s important to work towards including more of the foods listed above into your diet, it’s equally as important to understand which foods will damage the quality of your eggs.

Try to eliminate or avoid as much as possible the following:

  • Sugar
  • Processed foods (consider anything in a packet as dead food.. You only want to be eating live foods)
  • GMO’s
  • Low-Fat Foods (they contain a whole lot of nasties)
  • Trans fats
  • Non-organic meats and dairy
  • Soft drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

Unfortunately, our modern day world contains a plethora of toxins that are not fertility friendly. Look out for BPA, phthalates, and pesticides. These are all common offenders that are well known to disrupt hormone levels in our bodies.

Whenever you can, eat organic, avoid plastic food containers, avoid canned foods, avoid cleaning products and cosmetics that are full of chemicals, ditch perfumes or products with artificial fragrances and make the switch to organic essential oils.

Mayan abdominal massage is a non-invasive, external, massage technique that guides internal abdominal organs into their proper position for optimum fertility health and organ function. The main action Mayan has with improving egg health is that it is fantastic at improving blood circulation to the ovaries, providing optimal nourishment for growing follicles. Mayan therapy is also great at reducing menstrual and ovulation pain, menstrual blood irregularities and improving pregnancy outcomes.

So often the modern approach to health concerns is a symptomatic plan, which can offer short-term relief but fail to address the core issue at hand. We can learn from Chinese Medicine in this instance and our symptoms as a further opportunity to explore and dig deeper to make long-lasting changes towards our health.

The quality of your sleep has an impact on your hormones, mood and fertility. For those of you who find it challenging to fall asleep or have a good night’s sleep, Acupuncture has been consistently proven to be effective for the overall improvement of sleep quality, without the side effects of prescription medications. The use of diaphragmatic breathing can also be enough to switch us from t

he “being” and “doing” state of mind to a more relaxed and calm state, setting up for a good night’s sleep. Taking five big deep breaths before bedtime can help set the tone, allowing the body to relax.

If you’re not already, I cannot state the importance of ensuring you are taking a quality prenatal vitamin. It’s the first thing I recommend to anyone trying to conceive, or even to those considering it in the next few years. Prenatal vitamins are not just for when you’re pregnant, they contain several nutrients that improve how the ovaries function and therefore can improve egg quality.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are so effective for a number of reasons. They help to balance hormones, improve circulation to the uterus and ovaries, reduce stress, inflammation, and curbside effects of hormonal medications. Unlike many other treatments, acupuncture and herbal medicine are completely customised to each individual client and are able they are able to best address what the individual body needs.


To make an appointment with an acupuncturist at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3186 5676. 

10 Essentails to Falling Pregnant

If you and your partner have been ‘kind of trying’ for the last couple of months or even years with little luck but have now decided that this is your year to fall pregnant, listen up…

  1. No more doctor google. Stop comparing yourself to strangers on the internet- forget forums and get in to see a real live person who can give you individual advice and treatment.

  2. Two words- clean eating. Stop making excuses about your diet. No matter what anyone tells you, your diet and the nutrients that both you and your partner absorb are incredibly important for your fertility.

  3. Visit your GP. Get some basic blood tests done, request sperm testing (semen analysis) and a pelvic ultrasound to eliminate serious causes to your infertility so you can either seek natural treatment or chat to a specialist about your next move.

  4. BBT (basal body temperature) charting. Start charting your basal body temperature and show it to the real live person you are seeking treatment from in step 1. Learn how to tell when you are fertile and when you are not, learn about your body and start building a better relationship with it.

  5. EXERCISE – get your body moving !!! Walking or yoga are two great options that everybody can do. Moving blood around your body helps deliver nutrient to your growing eggs or developing sperm for the males.

  6. Review your health. Sort out your ‘minor’ health complaints – if you suffer from bloating, poor digestion, frequent headaches, tiredness, skin complaints, low libido, insomnia, painful periods, short or long menstrual cycles get these treated. They may be related to your difficulty in falling pregnant.

  7. Look at your ‘stuff’. Seek emotional support. See that hypnotherapist, psychologist or counsellor and surround yourself with people who love and support you.

  8. Water, water and more water. Drink water – the simplest tip BUT for some reason, the most difficult. Keep hydrated. You want full, luscious reservoirs of eggs for ovaries, not prunes.

  9. RELAX. Falling pregnant can take time. Stress can negatively impact on ovulation and your ability to conceive so do the things that bring you joy.

  10. Have loads of sex. One of the biggest cause of infertility is timing and how much sex you are having. Knowing and understanding our cycle (step 4) can help target the best ‘window of opportunity’ but regular sex (every couple of days) is our best chance of conceiving. Try to make the increase in sex about your relationship and intimacy and NOT about conceiving. Have fun with it and try something new to spice up your sex life.

…And finally, regular acupuncture.

Why? You may ask…..well, clearly I am a fan but acupuncture can help affect your stress levels by calming the mind. It increases the blood flow to your uterus which in turn helps our lining and then the chances of implanting an embryo. Acupuncture won’t stop there, once pregnant will help with morning sickness, aches and pain and the anxiety of becoming pregnant and the hormonal changes (your partner will thank me).

 

To make an appointment with a Brisbane Natural Health acupuncturist or naturopath call us on 07 3367 0337.

7 Tips to Support Mothers After the Birth of their Baby

In many cultures, post-partum care is considered a normal and essential part of care for a new family, in particular, for the new mother. Here in Australia though, there is a very different focus – we invest a lot of energy and time into falling pregnant and giving birth to a healthy baby and then once the baby is born, the mother and her new family are on their own with a new little creature on their hands, a new dynamic in their relationship, seriously disrupted sleep and a barrage of family and friends who want to visit. The post-partum time is arguably the most challenging times in one’s life, yet for many of us, we forget to seek help at this time. The good news is that there is so much that can be done to help the mother’s body get back on track and support her and her family through this crazy time.

Let’s have a look at a few common ailments for new mothers and how we can support them with natural remedies:

  1. Keep taking your pregnancy multivitamin – your body has just given its all to your infant and is going to continue to whilst you are feeding her. Take your multivitamin throughout breastfeeding and don’t forget to start taking it again 3 months prior to trying to have another baby (if you can even think about that yet!)
  2. Eat lots of highly nutritious (loads of vegetables and organic meat if you eat meat) cooked foods including bone broths. You will need to build your iron stores back up – so good quality red meat and dark green leafy vegetables will help here. Bone broths are a great source of collagen and gelatine which provide the building blocks for connective tissue – this will help your body to rebuild after the marathon of delivery, support breast milk production, and repair of any loose ligaments or diastasis of the rectus abdominus muscle. Cooked food is easiest to digest and considered warming and nourishing from a Chinese Medicine perspective. For best results try and get someone else to cook for you!
  3. Support your adrenal glands – Your adrenals control your stress response and sleep-wake cycles. The stress of parenting, combined with a lack of sleep takes a huge toll on your adrenal glands.  You can mitigate this toll by supporting your adrenal glands with herbs such as Rhodiola and Withania as well as nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium.
  4. Support your immune system with probiotics and Echinacea – getting sick when you are breastfeeding and parenting is less than ideal and adds to the difficulty of the already difficult task. We suggest that you take a good quality probiotic (ask your naturopath) as well as some Echinacea (high quality is also essential here) will help to support both you and your babies immune systems and help to reduce the risk of mastitis (if mastitis does occur, please contact your naturopath – it can be dealt with naturally with the right remedies).  
  5. Get your iron levels checked with your GP – ideally, you will have been supplementing your iron throughout pregnancy. If you haven’t that’s OK – when you see your GP, ask her to test your iron levels and iron stores (ferritin). Talk to your naturopath about ideal levels and supplement with a non-constipating form of iron if needed. Low iron will make you feel tired, cold, give you brain fog and lower your immunity, so getting your stores back up can be a real game-changer for new mums.
  6. Deal with any structural issues for yourself or baby as soon as possible – see your chiropractor or osteopath if you are experiencing skeletal issues and take baby along to a practitioner who specialises in infant care to deal with issues such as tongue-tie, breastfeeding issues or to rebalance after a difficult birth (for both of you). Do your pelvic floor and diastasis exercises! The sooner your body is back to being strong again, the sooner you can get out and enjoy some of the activities you have been missing out on during pregnancy (like dancing, running or sneezing in public!) 
  7. If you are having any more specific issues such as depression, thrush, urinary tract infections, vaginal dryness, mastitis, sugar cravings, poor milk supply, insomnia or any issues with your babies health, please book in to see your naturopath as soon as possible – there is no need to go through this difficult time without support.

To make an appointment with a naturopath at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3106 8790 or click here to book online now.