Planning to have a family is an exciting time, so it can be devastating when it doesn’t happen as easily as you hoped it might. For many women medical tests come back normal and doctors are unable to find a reason for their conception difficulties.
Unexplained infertility is a common reason that women turn to Chinese medicine for support. Chinese medicine can enhance your chances of falling pregnant naturally if you are hoping to avoid Western medical procedures like IUI or IVF. If you’re a bit further along in your journey, clinical research has shown that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can improve the likelihood of falling pregnant with IVF.
Chinese medicine has its own diagnostic criteria and techniques developed over thousands of years of practice. Often women with normal medical test results will have subtle imbalances when observed from the Chinese medicine perspective. Addressing these energetic imbalances with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be enough for you to fall pregnant naturally.
Chinese medicine can support your health in a number of ways:
~ Healthy Eggs and Sperm
~ Promote regular ovulation
~ Support the growth of a thick, smooth and receptive uterine lining to optimise the process of embryo implantation
~ Help to manage the stress and anxiety of unexplained infertility
~ Support the early stages of pregnancy to promote health and prevent miscarriage
~ Support during assisted reproductive procedures such as IUI or IVF if needed
A recent analysis of 40 random controlled trials that included over 4000 women experiencing infertility suggested that Chinese herbal medicine can improve pregnancy rates two-fold within a 3-6 month period compared with Western medicine treatment. The trial included women with PCOS, endometriosis, anovulation, fallopian tube blockage, or unexplained infertility. Mean pregnancy rates in the CHM group were 60% compared with 33% in the conventional medicine group. The study authors suggest that individually tailored herbal medicine formulas can regulate ovulation and improve menstrual health, creating the physiological conditions for a viable pregnancy.
Along with Chinese medicine support, lifestyle changes are important in optimising your fertility:
~ Get to know your cycle. Timing intercourse or insemination to your most fertile times will increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
~ If you or your partner are a smoker, quitting is a priority. The chemicals in cigarettes are damaging to the DNA in both sperm and eggs, and smokers are more likely to experience miscarriage and have babies with health problems.
~ Alcohol consumption has a negative effect on fertility and drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to your baby’s brain. In men, alcohol lowers testosterone and sperm quality and quantity. Better to be on the safe side and avoid alcohol all together while trying to get pregnant.
~ Minimise exposure to BPA and phthalates. BPA is known to interfere with hormonal systems and damage developing eggs. Plastics labelled BPA free contain other harmful chemicals; better to avoid them all together by switching to glass, stainless steel and ceramics. Phthalates are found in many personal care products including nail polish, make-up and perfume. The Environmental Working Group has an excellent guide on safe alternatives.
~ Eat organic where possible. Through our food, water and environment we are exposed to more chemicals than ever before. The cumulative effect of this cocktail of chemicals on our health and wellbeing is largely unknown, however many pesticides used in farming are known to cause cancer and damage the hormone producing glands of the body. The Dirty Dozen is a list of the 12 most pesticides contaminated fruits and vegetables; make sure these are organic.
~ See a counsellor or psychologist to talk through your experiences. Talking therapy can be helpful in reprogramming negative thought patterns and stuck beliefs.