How can I optimize my own fertility?
By: Carolyn Dew Practitioner of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
An ever increasing number of couples today are experiencing trouble conceiving as approximately 20% of Canadian couples are challenged by fertility issues. On a journey that can feel completely out of your control, there are steps that you can take that will help empower your situation and enhance your fertility.
1. Manage Stress: The vicious cycle of stress and fertility is difficult to stop however excessive stress over lengthy periods of time keeps your body in a state of fight or flight that directly interferes with your ability to conceive. Spend time in nature, surround yourself with people you love, engage in fun activities, remember the importance of rest and relaxation, exercise, meditate, practice gratitiude and don’t forget to breathe. Aim for 8 hours of sleep ever night. Stay off google and fertility websites.
2. Diet: Strive for a whole food diet, rich in healthy fats, nutrient dense vegetables and fruit and slow- releasing low-glycemic carbohydrates. Limit foods that are processed, high in sugar and caffeine. Make time to eat, chew food sufficiently and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Make sure you are taking a basic pre-natal multi-vitamin with folic acid; omega-3’s, CoQ10 and vitamin D are other supplements your may want to consider.
3. Exercise: An important tool that helps reduce stress and maintain a healthy weight is exercise. Try for 30 minutes of cardio daily, weight training twice a week and yoga at least once a week. Fertility issues are linked to both underweight and overweight women; your body mass index (BMI) should be between 20-25.
4. Understanding and Monitoring: Take control of your reproductive health by reading ‘Taking Charge of your Fertility’ by Toni Weschler to understand your own reproductive cycle and how to monitor it. Another great book to read is ‘The Infertility Cure’. Randine Lewis will explain how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can assist in your fertility and offer great self-care and lifestyle advice.
5. Acupuncture: Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or are using assisted reproductive techniques, Acupuncture and TCM can enhance fertility in the following ways:
- regulates hormones by reducing stress
- regulates menstrual cycles
- improves ovarian function; encourages production and quality of follicles
- improves blood flow to ovaries and uterus
- reduces miscarriages
- enhances immune system
- improves thickness of uterine wall lining
- improves sperm parameters (takes three months)
- improves quality of oocytes (takes three months)
- improves pregnancy rates in conjunction with IVF and Clomid
- lessens side effects of fertility medications
- lessens uterine contractions after embryo transfer
If your fertility journey has been unexpectedly difficult, and you have lost your sense of control along the way, these 5 steps will empower your situation and help optimize your chances at fulfilling your dream of creating a family.