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Natural Fertility Management

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Fertility is a factor for many people and the good news is that you don’t have to rely on standard medicine treatments if you should have trouble falling pregnant. There are plenty of natural fertility treatment options available that are less invasive, more relaxing, and that work.  Read on to learn more.

Acupuncture and Fertility

Acupuncture can be used to help both male and female fertility. Good candidates for acupuncture are people that have a functional rather than a structural reason for infertility (for example, damaged fallopian tubes are structural).  Acupuncture can be used to encourage optimal sperm production and function in the male and for adjusting endocrine function and balancing hormones in the females.  Environmental factors such as pesticides, exogenous estrogens, and heavy metals have been shown to have a negative effect on sperm count. 

Acupuncture, as well as specific herbal medicines, has been shown to have a positive effect on sperm.  In women, acupuncture adjusts the endocrine function of the generative and physiologic axis of women, stimulating ovulation. Auricular acupuncture is also valuable for female infertility due to hormone disorders.

Acupuncture helps by regulating your body’s system, aiding in blood flow to the reproductive organs and stabilising hormone levels.  It also helps women to stay more relaxed during fertility treatments, with studies showing that acupuncture definitely increases the rate of pregnancy in women that are undergoing IVF treatment.

Treatments should begin three to four months before trying to conceive or before any medically assisted treatment such as IVF.  It should continue for the first twelve weeks of pregnancy in order to help prevent miscarriage.  However, the acupuncturist should not place needles in the abdomino-pelvic area after pregnancy occurs or after embryo transfer or insemination.  The acupuncture points that should be avoided are gallbladder 21, stomach 12, large intestine 4, spleen 6, bladder 60, bladder 67, and any points on the lower abdomen.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Fertility

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is safe, natural and has no side effects. It is able to improve the chances of conception, increase the lining of the uterus, increase sperm count, increase the basal body temperature, regulate hormones, prevent miscarriage, induce ovulation, and much more.  TCM formulas, many of which have been used for thousands of years, work to balance the male or female’s hormonal system. The formula will be specifically tailored to the person and the imbalance that has been identified. In TCM, some herbs used in the formulas have been clinically proven to aid infertility, and these are carefully combined with other herbs in order to match the person’s signs and symptoms as closely as possible. Specific herbs may also be used based on conventional medical examination findings.

In TCM theory, the kidney is the internal organ responsible for reproduction, growth, and aging.  If the kidney energy is insufficient to support normal growth and development, or becomes depleted by environmental factors, problems can result, including infertility.  Kidney deficiency is actually the most common cause of infertility in TCM.  Other patterns that can result in infertility include liver qi stagnation, blood stasis or deficiency, and dampness with phlegm or heat.

To use Western medical terms, TCM has good success with functional infertility, which results from factors such as hormone imbalances, endocrine gland disorders, and emotional problems.  It can also help with some structural infertility problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, vaginitis, ovary dysfunction, and immune system related infertility.  TCM is also used to strengthen and balance a person’s general health so that Western fertility treatments are more effective.

Fertility Yoga

Fertility yoga is a type of yoga that is specifically designed to help couples that are having trouble getting pregnant.  It combines traditional yoga postures with postures that have been developed to improve a person’s reproductive health, therefore increasing the chances of pregnancy.  Fertility yoga also minimises stress, in turn balancing the hormones of the body, as well as the person’s mental health, increasing a couple’s chances of conceiving.  For fertility, the gentler forms of yoga are advisable.  Demanding yoga such as Bikram or Ashtanga yoga should be avoided.  Hatha, kripalu, and couples yoga are all fantastic choices.  Postures that may help include the supported bridge pose, the legs on wall pose, and the cobbler’s pose.

Homoeopathy and Fertility

Homoeopathy can be used to treat the causes of both male and female infertility.  It is effective because it improves the person’s overall health, including their reproductive health. 

For female infertility the following may be helpful:

  • Sepia 6c – for irregular or absent ovulation.
  • Sabina 6c – for women that have experience recurrent miscarriages.
  • Aurum – for low sex drive and depression.
  • Phosphorus – for anxiety and stress contributing to infertility.
  • Silica – used to boost the immune system to aid chances of falling pregnant.

For male infertility, the following may help:

  • Sepia 6c – for a low sex drive that is contributing to difficulty falling pregnant.
  • Medorrhinum – can help to treat impotence.

As well as being great for fertility treatment, homoeopathy can also alleviate pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, back aches, heartburn, and cramps.

Hydrotherapy and Fertility

Hydrotherapy stimulates the immune system through normal water pressure, influencing the production of stress hormones and improving a healthy metabolism.  It also improves circulation and digestion.  Hydrotherapy can alleviate the stress and depression that are often associated with infertility and that can negatively affect your chances for falling pregnant.  The increased blood circulation caused by hydrotherapy can help stimulate the reproductive system and improve fertility health.  Hydrotherapy techniques include hot air baths/saunas or Turkish baths, local baths, compresses, warm water baths, and wraps.

Reiki Therapy and Fertility

Reiki works to improve a person’s overall physical and mental health, including reproductive health, thus improving your chances of getting pregnant.  It also minimises conditions and illnesses that can contribute to infertility.  As stress is often linked to fertility problems, Reiki can be helpful for this.

Reiki, as well as being great for preconception health, is also great for prenatal health.  It reduces stress during pregnancy by 94 percent, and reduces nausea and morning sickness by 80 percent.  The quality of sleep is also significantly improved.  Reiki can also minimise pain during labour and reduce other discomforts linked to the birthing process.

Pilates and Fertility

Pilates exercises help to improve fertility as they reduce stress, thus helping to restore hormonal balance in the body, and therefore fertility.  In addition, it also releases endorphins, substances that promote a better response to pain and stress in the body, as well as promoting better sleep quality.  In this sense, its benefits are similar to that of yoga.

Ayurveda and Fertility

Ayurveda sees both male and female fertility and the ultimate act of creation and as the driving force of human destiny.  Fertility is the sum total of optimal food digestion and optimal experiences.  Healthy male and female fertility requires a healthy digestive fire, quality of tissue, and free flowing channels in order for the reproductive system to be properly nourished. 

The menstruation cycle is divided into three phases that coincide with the three dosha.  The Kapha phase is the phase between the end of bleeding and the beginning of ovulation.  The Pitta phase is the phase between ovulation and the start of the period.  The Vata phase is the phase during the period were the menstrum is pushed downward by descending winds and emptying the contents of the womb.  Any disturbances in these phases can affect female fertility but it is usually the Vata phase that is believed to be affected.  The dosha must be balanced during each stage.  Treatments may include aloe vera, daily self-massage, tea made from fennel seeds, licorice, saffron or ginger, and rose water.

Male infertility is due to problems affecting the sperm such as volume, motility, and shape.  As well, erectile dysfunction and obstructions such as prostates are recognised as male fertility problems.  There are a variety of tonic herbs that can be used as well as herbs to clear obstructions.  These herbs are believe to increase sperm count, strengthen motility, and enhance form.

Essential Oils and Fertility

Essential oils that are particularly beneficial to women trying to get pregnant include:

  • Rose – regulates the reproductive system.
  • Geranium – a calming oil with estrogenic properties that have a balancing effect on hormones.
  • Melissa – a relaxing oil that improves your mood and helps with menstrual problems.
  • Chamomile – a calming oil that relieves menstrual problems such as pain.
  • Basil – an oil that helps with overall energy and strengthens reproductive health.
  • Relaxing oils – such as lavender and jasmine to promote relaxation and improve libido.

Flower Remedies and Fertility

Helpful flower remedies include:

  • She Oak – reduces stress caused by fertility issues and improves hormonal imbalances.
  • Noni – reduces negativity and promotes a feeling of caring and nurturing.
  • White Chestnut – promotes positive thinking.
  • Vervain – calms anxiety and hypertension.
  • Wisteria – promotes feelings of sensuality and calmness.
  • Aspen – reduces anticipation and anxiety, thus helping with stress, and promoting better overall reproductive health.

Herbal Medicine and Fertility

If you are trying to fall pregnant, the following herbs may be helpful:

  • Chaste tree berry – reduces hormonal imbalances, and stimulates the action of the pituitary gland, which increasing progesterone and luteinising hormone production, helping to regulate the menstrual cycle. It also reduces stress levels.
  • Dong Quai – balances estrogen and regulates menstrual cycles. It can also improve implantation of the egg for women with autoimmune problems. However, it should not be used during menstruation.
  • False unicorn root – improves reproductive health and has a normalising effect on the ovaries.
  • Wild yam – increases the production of progesterone, thus increasing your chances of pregnancy.  It should be taken after ovulation occurs, not before.

Always consult with your medical professional about the herbs that you are taking, as some are unsafe to use.  For example, ginseng is particularly dangerous during pregnancy.  Black and blue Cohosh are commonly used to improve fertility but they should not be taken when trying to get pregnant or when there is the chance that an egg has been fertilised as they are uterine tonics that cause contractions and have adverse effects on implantation.

Naturopathy and Fertility

Naturopathy can help with male and female infertility as it improves overall health through diet, exercise and a healthy attitude, all of which are crucial to reproductive health.  A high consumption of minerals such as zinc and vitamins such as vitamin A helps to alleviate fertility problems as these help to regulate hormones.  Caffeine is discouraged as it has been linked to infertility and alcohol is also limited as it affects prolactin, which plays an important role in the regulation of the menstrual cycle.

Smoking is discouraged as it reduces blood flow to the cervix as well as to the cilia – the tiny hair like structures are the end of the fallopian tube that direct the egg to the uterus – both of which can reduce the chances of pregnancy.  Regular exercise is important as it promotes a healthy weight level which is crucial for pregnancy.  Weight levels too high or too low both interfere with fertility.

Naturopathy also discourages exposure to toxins as they affect progesterone and estrogen levels, contributing to both male and female infertility.

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