Getting pregnant can be the simplest thing in the world or the most complicated when it’s not going as planned. There can be so much pain and emotion associated with the struggles of conception. When a couple faces infertility issues and starts stressing about becoming pregnant, the added pressure and self doubt unfortunately don’t help the body get into a relaxed and receptive state conducive to getting pregnant.
The Centers for Disease Control, CDC, reports that each year it is estimated that as many as 4.7 million couples experience infertility. When you take into account the fact that this number is based upon only the number of men who visit an infertility doctor for treatment and the fact that many couples never seek treatment for their infertility, this number is probably far greater.
Getting pregnant involves so much more than just bringing together two people in love at the right time of the month. It’s an intricate and often misunderstood miracle that needs to occur. In the woman’s body, it is a balance between the hypothalamus, reproductive glands and the pituitary gland. In the man, it is a balance of producing the necessary amount of sperm and having the ability of delivering the sperm to fertilize an egg at the proper time. When these all function together properly, the stage is set for having a baby.
Because of the pressure that tends to surround “trying” to get pregnant, it’s a good idea to start exploring all the areas that could impact you ability to conceive. I always suggest that patients seek help when they start experiencing frustration. Here are eight things you can do to increase fertility and help get pregnant. I’ve included a few extra suggestions that I often provide to my patients.Send Him To Doctor
While close to half of infertility problems stem from the woman’s body, sometimes it’s an issue on the part of the would-be father. Maybe impotence is a problem, or perhaps he’s just not producing enough sperm. Or, his production rate might be adequate, but the motility, ability to flow, is low.Visit Your OB/GYN
Ask your doctor to make sure everything is functioning properly in your body, that follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) are at the proper levels and that there is no blockages in the fallopian tubes. One of the most common reasons for infertility is anovulation, or an ovulation disorder, where a mature egg fails to be released from the ovary and ovulation does not occur. Often, this is caused from a hormonal imbalance. Low levels of progesterone, for instance, will prevent the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Another common cause of ovulation not occurring is from high levels of prolactin, which is the hormone generated to produce breast milk. Acupuncture has helped many women, especially when combined with herbal remedies to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which is necessary to create an environment for a fertilized egg to implant and develop. The pituitary also plays a huge role in the reproductive cycle. Acupuncture has been shown to increase fertility by reducing stress and increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs. One of the issues of infertility is often caused by an imbalance in the endocrine system, sometimes caused by a hypo or hyper thyroid. Hypothyroidism is an under-functioning thyroid, while hyperthyroidism is an over-functioning thyroid gland. Either one can throw the woman’s body into confusion when trying to conceive. Stress is no small factor when it comes to infertility. Stress causes the brain to release what has been dubbed the stress hormone, cortisol.Reduce Stress
It sounds easy enough, but there is more to stress than meets the eyes. Cortisol creates a hormonal imbalance within the pituitary functions. Stress creates a flight or fight reaction which is counterproductive when trying to conceive. Think of it in terms of a woman being chased by the big bad wolf. While she’s running away in terror, it is not a great opportunity for getting pregnant. The body feels that the world is unsafe and inhospitable which doesn’t lend itself to procreation.Go On Vacation
If time and money allows for it, go on a vacation with just you and him. A lot of couples conceive while on vacation. Maybe it’s because of the reduced stress levels or maybe because you actually have time to enjoy intimacy.Sleep
It sounds easy enough, but when all that is on your mind is getting pregnant, sleep may not be what you think of when you hit the bed at night. Sleep is, however, one of the most important things you can do to be healthy enough to procreate. Aim for getting approximately eight hours of sleep each night, but don’t fret yourself into insomnia if sleep doesn’t come. Relax, have a glass of wine while you still can, or drink warm milk, take a warm bath, turn off the lights and think about pleasant dreams. Or, perhaps fall asleep after having sex.Exercise
We’re not talking about training for a tri-athletic event or a marathon, but consistent exercise helps the body function properly and releases endorphins that counterbalance the stress hormone.Treat The Root Cause, Not Just The Symptoms
Repeated pregnancy loss, even unexplained (idiopathic) infertility, has an underlying reason. You and your doctor may not have discovered what the problem is, but there is still an undetected problem. Acupuncture addresses issues like luteal phase defects, some cases of hyperprolactinemia, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).Accentuate Traditional IVF And Other Fertility Treatment
Many women have turned to alternative medicine treatments, like acupuncture to find success. Some are successful with using acupuncture alone or in correlation with Chinese herbs. Others have already chosen to seek IVF treatment and want an added boost. Fertility drugs prescribed with western traditional medicine produce a pregnancy in between 6 to 35 percent of women, with women younger than 35 years of age having a much better chance than those older than 40. However, this often comes with some nasty side effects. When acupuncture is used alongside traditional treatments, many women have found successful pregnancy rates as well as relief from some of the side effects of the drugs, like nausea, bloating and tenderness. A study conducted by Stener-Victorin, at the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fertility Centre, Scandinavia and University of Gothenburg, encouraged women to receive acupuncture treatments three to four months before and after embryo transfer. These women reported a 10 to 15 percent increase in successful IVF treatment when using acupuncture. Another added benefit that the women received was the therapeutic effect of calmness, relaxation and less stress.Help Staying Pregnant
When faced with infertility, the goal is not to just get pregnant. These couples want to experience a full nine months of a pregnancy that results in a delivery of a healthy baby. One of the wonderful benefits of acupuncture is that it can provide better blood flow to organs that support a healthy pregnancy and help to create an environment where the ovaries will have the blood flow needed to produce an egg and enough blood flow to give that egg a chance to implant and grow into a baby inside the uterus. Increase blood flow to create a thick, rich lining of the endometrium is just one of the benefits that acupuncture delivers. Once the couple conceives, acupuncture can help to maintain a healthy environment for the baby to develop properly. It is also quite effective in use to alleviate morning sickness, lower back aches, and fearful anxiety and stress.
While acupuncture does not promise you will be holding a baby in your arms within nine months, and is not a quick cure all for every root of infertility, a Tel Aviv University study concluded that acupuncture increases conception rates by as much as 26 percent when used alongside traditional Western fertility treatments. The results of the study showed that 65.5 percent of the test group was able to conceive compared with 39.4 percent of the control group who received no herbal or acupuncture therapy.
For the best chance of conceiving, the human body needs to maintain a healthy balance of energy between its organs, blood flow, nervous system, mental health, spiritual health, and emotions. In Chinese medicine, practitioners refer to this energy as Qi. Acupuncture uses sterile needles that are gently inserted just beneath the surface of the skin into the patient’s body at specific points, called meridians. The idea is that when the body’s natural and healthy flow of energy becomes blocked, diseases, aches, pains, and sometimes infertility are the result. Acupuncture helps to open up these pathways to regain a healthy flow of energy, giving hope to a couple wanting to conceive. Skilled acupuncture practitioners know to avoid placing the needles in the abdominal-pelvic area on pregnant women, especially immediately following insemination or egg transfer procedures.
My goal is to help women understand their options. If you found this post helpful, please share it, and leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
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