There are a lot of couples who desire to conceive a baby; the problem is that some of them have a hard time doing so. If you are one of those who are having problems conceiving, there are ways to help you conceive and bear a child.
To boost your chances of getting pregnant, it’s important to have a healthy environment for the embryo to implant and grow. This article will talk about the ways to achieve a healthy menstrual cycle through diet recommendations, lifestyle advices that improve fertility, and acupuncture that can provide certain benefits to your reproductive process, whether in conjunction with Western medicine or used as a stand-alone modality.
A Healthy Menstrual Cycle
Knowing your body well gives you power to make the right choices. A typical healthy menstrual cycle lasts for about 25 to 35 days although 28 days is the most ideal cycle. This cycle should not have a lot of PMS symptoms. Menstrual blood should contain no clots and should be bright red in color. These factors are just a few of the things to look for.
The follicular phase is the time period prior to ovulation. In this phase, the follicles develop but eventually only one follicle will become dominant. During ovulation time, this dominant follicle produces an egg.
Women experience cervical discharge throughout the month. You would know a healthy discharge when it is colorless to white and not any other color. An S-type discharge is a discharge that suggests fertility which starts around six days prior to ovulation with an increase of estrogen in the body. A copious amount of discharge implies enhanced fertility because it makes it easy for the sperm to gain access to the uterus. If you have poor cervical discharge, this means your body does not have adequate yin since the discharge is yin by nature. Some medications that might disrupt or dry up cervical fluid include antidepressants, NSAIDS, atropine, and antihistamines.
The process of egg release is known as ovulation. After it’s released, the egg usually lives for about six to twelve hours. The sperm has a lifespan of up to five days. The best time to engage in the act of procreation would be around four to five days before ovulation, about two days being the most ideal time. The luteal phase (yang oriented) is the next stage after ovulation.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views that once a woman starts to bleed, she is at her most vulnerable and most deficient. The best way to avoid depletion during this time is to avoid cold. You can do this by not swimming in cold water, not walking barefoot around your home and always keeping your feet warm. You also need to eat nourishing foods during that time.
If you know your cycle very well, it will enable you to prepare for each phase much better.
Basically, for both male and female, it advisable to always eat organic foods and not fish that is laden with mercury or meat that has been treated with hormones. Women should consume wild freshly caught salmon, soy products and other foods high in essential fatty acids. One can also get this type of fatty acids from cold pressed non-hydrogenated oils such as dark green vegetables, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, winter vegetables and flaxseed. Stay away from caffeine and alcohol. A study done by the Yale University School of Medicine showed a 55% hike in the risk of infertility for women taking a cup of coffee each day, 100% increase for women drinking 1.5 to 2 cups a day and a 175% likelihood for drinkers of 3 or more cups of coffee each day.
In TCM, the kidney system is very important for reproduction. To be free of reproductive problems, the kidney system’s energy flow needs to be consistent and free of any blockages. Stagnation will result in infertility and other reproductive issues.
For both sexes, algae, seaweed, oysters, nuts and seeds, duck and chicken eggs and other foods that sustain their kidney essence are recommended.
Women should eat more foods that will help the body function better during the various stages of their cycle.
Yin nourishing foods include organ meats such as chicken heart, brain and kidney, fish, tofu and other protein rich foods, beans, asparagus, grapes, pineapples and raspberries. Stay away from pungent, spicy foods.
Yan nourishing foods include kale, cabbage, winter squash, mustard greens, grains, beans, ginger tea, and ginger. Do not eat very cold foods such as ice cream and avoid ice cold drinks, as well. That is, if you are trying to conceive.
Foods that nourish blood include fruits such as blackberries, raspberries and grapes; organic meats and poultry; soup stock made from the bones of the meat and poultry; and vegetables such as turnips, spinach and dark, leafy greens.
Both sexes should avoid getting too much stress. They should also get adequate amounts of sleep. To relieve stress, calming activities such as hanging out with friends, yoga, and meditation are encouraged. Men should not wear tight clothes, take hot tubs or go to saunas since all these heat up and kill sperm.
To relieve stress, women can also take to exercising though overdoing it may be counterproductive. The yin is depleted by too much or intense exercises. Chinese herbs and acupuncture can benefit you in so many ways.
In terms of fertility, acupuncture can provide you with these benefits:
-Lowering of stress related to fertility issues
-The normalization of your hormones
-Improved blood circulation to the uterus
-A stronger uterine lining
A study done a few years back showed that acupuncture can actually improve the motility and quality of sperm cells. An increase in the number of healthy sperms was seen in men who were given acupuncture treatments compared to the men in the control group. Another study done in Germany revealed that acupuncture increased substantially the success rate of IVF therapy, 43% (or 35 out of 80 participants) in the group given acupuncture compared to only 27% (22 out of 80 participants) in the control group.
For women wanting to conceive, it is recommended that they start acupuncture treatment three months prior trying to get pregnant and not wait until they are actively attempting to conceive.
The primary objective of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to restore or maintain the balance of your body. This is one huge reason why TCM really works in treating infertility since fertility depends on a body that is well-balanced.
Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.