It Is Stressful Trying to Reduce Your Stress

If you are trying to get pregnant, everyone will tell don’t stress out about it and it will happen. Maybe that is true, but it is a real challenge NOT to stress out. Everything is a reminder of what you are trying to achieve, the pregnant bellies walking down the street, charting your basal body temperatures, timing intercourse,PMS, and then the arrival of your period. The stress is real and sometimes unavoidable, but its how we process our stress that will make the difference.

Meditation is a great way to minimize stress, but lets face it, most of are not very good at it. I challenge my clients to find 5 minutes per day, usually before bed to find  some stillness. Now you can meditate during this time, or stare at a flickering candle, listen to music or watch the clock until your 5 minutes are up. But in just 5 minutes a day, you can reset your fight or flight response, reduce your stress hormones, and feel like you take on the world again.

Other things that will help with stress:

  • Practice yoga 1-2 times per week
  • Write down 3 things that you are grateful for everyday in a gratitude journal
  • Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 8 counts, and exhale for 8 counts
  • Hang out in nature
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Preconception Planning

It is a very exciting to begin thinking that you are ready to start your family. Bringing awareness to your health, mind and spirit will give your baby the best start to life. Preconception planning can help you and your partner understand how to boost your chances of a healthy pregnancy.

  • Stop taking birth control 3 -6 months prior to you starting to try to concieve. Sometimes it takes awhile for your cycle to become regular after stop your birth control.
  • Do a detox
  • Start keeping track of your cycle. Note how many days it is from day 1 of your period to your next period. ( Note: day 1 is the first day of full bleeding).
  • Pay attention to when you may be ovulating. Signs of ovulation are cervical mucus that is like egg whites, an increase in libido, and  brief pain around your ovary.
  • Take your prenatal vitamin and essential fatty acids ( EFA)  3 months prior to you starting to try to conceive.
  • Establish an exercise routine

Remember that becoming pregnant may take some time, 50% of couple become pregnant within the first 6 months of trying to conceive, while 85% become pregnant with in the first year.

 

Not Getting Pregnant – When to ask for help

Most couples conceive with in 6 months – 1 year from trying, however, this can feel like an eternity. If you have been trying to conceive for a while, and are thinking you may need advice, support and help, the following steps are what I recommend to my clients.

After 3 months of trying to conceive:

Try to keep track of the length of your menstrual cycles. Charting Basal Body Temps (BBTs) for several months, as well using home Ovulation Predictor Kits and recording the results.

It also a good time to optimize your health and fertility with supportive care, such as acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, naturopathy, and chiropractics.

At 6 months, visit your family doctor and request the following blood tests:

HORMONE TESTS:

  • FSH (on day 3 of your cycle)
  • LH
  • Estradiol ( on day 3 of your cycle)
  • Progesterone ( on day 21 or 7 days post ovulation)
  • Prolactin
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Free T3, Free Thyroxine (T4)
  • Total Testosterone, Free Testosterone
  • DHEAS
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) ( There is a cost to this test)

After 6 months, ask for a referral  from your family doctor to a fertility centre to further investigate your fertility issues.

ULTRASOUND EXAM(S): On the day of LH surge are used to assess the thickness of the endometrium (lining of the uterus), monitor follicle development and assess the condition of the uterus and ovaries. If the lining is thin, it indicates a hormonal problem. Fibroid tumors can often be detected via ultrasound, as well as abnormalities of the shape of the uterus and ovarian cysts. In some cases, endometriosis can also be detected. Many doctors order a second ultrasound two or three days after the first. This second ultrasound confirms that the follicle actually did release and can rule out lutenized unruptured follicle (LUF) syndrome—a situation in which eggs ripen but do not release from the follicle.

HYSTEROSALPINOGRAM (HSG): This test is used to examine a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes. It is essentially an x-ray procedure in which a radio-opaque dye is injected through the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes. This “dye” appears white on the x-ray, and allows the radiologist and your doctor to see if there are any abnormalities, such as an unusually shaped uterus, tumors, scar tissue or blockages in the fallopian tubes. If you are trying to get pregnant in the same cycle as an HSG, make sure to schedule the test PRIOR to ovulation so that there is no danger of “flushing out” a released egg or developing embryo.

HYSTEROSCOPY: If a uterine abnormality is suspected after the HSG, your doctor may opt for this procedure, performed with a thin telescope mounted with a fiber optic light, called a hysteroscope. The hysteroscope is inserted through the cervix into the uterus and enables the doctor to see any uterine abnormalities or growths. “Photos” are taken for future reference. This procedure is usually performed in the early half of a woman’s cycle so that the build-up of the endometrium does not obscure the doctor’s view. However, if the doctor is planning to do an endometrial biopsy at the same time, it is done near the end of the cycle.

LAPAROSCOPY: A narrow fiber optic telescope is inserted through a woman’s abdomen to look at the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries and to discern endometriosis or pelvic adhesions, and is the best diagnostic tool for evaluating the ovaries. This test us usually done two or three days before menstruation is expected, and only after an HCG beta blood test ensures the woman is not pregnant.

ENDOMETRIAL BIOPSY:This procedure involves a scraping a small amount of tissue from the endometrium shortly before menstruation is due— between 11 and 13 days from LH surge. It should ONLY be performed after an HCG blood test shows the woman is not pregnant. This test is used to determine if a woman has a luteal phase defect, a hormonal imbalance which prevents a woman from sustaining a pregnancy because not enough progesterone is produced.

SEMEN ANALYSIS: You’ll be asked to provide a semen sample, usually by masturbating and ejaculating into a specimen jar. Your doctor will examine your sperm under a microscope for count, shape, appearance, and movement

What you can do to optimize your fertility

  1. Reduce Stress – Chronic stress shuts down all non essential systems and directly affects the hormones that regulate fertility. Spend time in nature, surround yourself with people you love, meditate, exercise, write in a gratitude journal daily and breathe.
  2. Sleep – Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night.
  3. Drink Water – Water helps deliver hormones throughout the body, improves cervical mucous, and detoxifies your body.
  4. Diet – Strive for a whole food diet, rich in healthy fats, nutrient dense vegetables and fruit, and slow carbs. Limit processed foods and foods high in sugar.
  5. BMI– A healthy weight is one of the most important factors when addressing infertility. Your Body Mass Index ( BMI) should be between 20 – 25.
  6. Exercise – Exercise is important to reduce stress and maintain a healthy weight. Do 30 minutes of cardio daily, weight training 2 times per week, and yoga at least once a week.
  7. Supplements
  8. Things to Avoid – Smoking, higher levels of alcohol consumption (>2 drinks per day), recreational drugs, and use of most commercially available vaginal lubricants should be dis- couraged for couples trying to conceive.
  9. Timing of Intercourse – Frequent intercourse (every 1 to 2 days) yields the high- est pregnancy rates, but results achieved with less fre- quent intercourse (two to three times per week) are nearly equivalent. For women having regular menstrual cycles, frequent intercourse beginning soon after cessation of menses can help to maximize conception.

Is Acupuncture Safe in Pregnancy

This is such a common question. However, there is a lot of misguided information out there, particularly on the web. Though acupuncture is 100% safe in pregnancy, there is some misunderstanding even amongst our community about its safety. Traditionally acupuncture has been used throughout the entire pregnancy. However, this has not been well documented. Obstetrical acupuncture was mainly an oral tradition used amongst midwives. More recently, it has been discouraged in order to prevent unskilled practitioners from treating pregnant women. I have had extensive training in obstetrics with many of the modern-day masters, and am completely confident in treating pregnant women.

The benefits of acupuncture in early pregnancy are miscarriage prevention, promoting health in mother and baby, and treating any pregnancy symptom. If you are not a client of mine and have concerns if your practitioner is educated in obstetrical acupuncture, ask them what specific courses they have taken, how many hours of continuing education in prenatal care do they have, and how many pregnant clients they have treated. But at the end of the day, follow your instincts and do what you feel comfortable with.

To find a qualified Acupuncturist in your area, go to http://www.caoom.org

What is Acupuncture?

2013abc st 36 and GB 34Acupuncture is a safe, effective science for restoring a healthy balance throughout the body.

According to theory, Qi (chi) is the vital life energy present in all living organisms. It’s the principal force that governs the body’s circulation, metabolism, transportation, elimination, cleansing, purging and healing.

Qi circulates in the body along 14 energy pathways, called meridians. These meridians are linked to specific internal organs and systems. There are more than a thousand points along these pathways that can be stimulated to enhance the flow of Qi.

In the course of a treatment, slender needles, heat, pressure, or a combination of these tools are used to stimulate specific points along the pathways. The idea is to ‘unblock’ those paths so that the body can use its core energy to relieve pain and begin to heal.

Much like the flow of a river, when debris falls in the pathway, the river runs more slowly. If the riverbed is completely blocked, the flow stops. The water turns stagnant.

By opening these pathways of energy, we allow the body’s vital energy to reach and replenish weakened organs, rid itself of toxins, and restore its natural balance.

Acupuncture can be supplemented with other alternative treatments, such as electro-acupuncture, cupping and moxibustion, to restore health.

WHAT A TREATMENT FEELS LIKE
What you’ve heard is true: acupuncture is relatively painless. We use safe, sterile, disposable needles. These very fine needles are inserted under the skin to redirect energy or unblock the pathway.

Sensations during treatment can vary from being hardly noticeable to a tingling or heavy feeling. While you rest in a quiet, comfortable room, listening to music, the needles do their work. You might even fall asleep. In the course of your treatment, we often supplement acupuncture with massage. Patients usually feel a profound sense of rest.