How Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture supports you through pre-conception, pregnancy, labour preparation & postpartum care.
If you have been trying to conceive for 6 – 12 months without success and you partner’s sperm has been thoroughly assessed and passed with flying colours; which by the way is an increasingly rare occurrence, you maybe starting to wonder why its not happening?
Did you know that it takes four and a half months from the time the follicle in your ovary starts to develop to the moment where the egg it contains is mature enough for ovulation?
There’s a lot you can do during this time that can influence the development of that egg. This is why our approach is to use this time to prepare the soil to receive the seed, this will include the following.
- Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have a proven record with improving fertility, both in China over many hundreds of years and more recently in the west. Speak to one of our practitioners about an appropriate treatment plan for your circumstances.
- Reducing stress: Increased stress is associated with reduced numbers of follicles and poorer outcomes in IVF cycles. And even minor stressors can cause ovulation failure. Regular acupuncture is effective in reducing stress hormones, relieving anxiety and depression and regulating ovulation.
- Improving sleep: More than 40% of adults get less than 7 hours sleep a night and this has adverse effects on metabolism and weight control. Getting enough sleep is essential to maintain optimal hormonal regulation.
- Diet: Optimal nutrition provides an optimal ovarian environment for the eggs during the critical maturation process. Chinese medicine recommends having a wide variety of tasty fresh foods in season eaten in a relaxed manner, eat plenty of protein, including vegetable protein, and fresh fruit and vegetables – organic where possible.
- Supplements: In keeping with maximising nutrition available to the developing eggs and ensuring you are in good shape for pregnancy, it is advisable to take supplements which include Folic acid and other B vitamins, Vitamins C and D, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants such as CoQ10 and minerals such as zinc, iron and iodine.
- Avoiding: High caffeine intake is associated with infertility and increased miscarriage rates. Even moderate coffee drinking (1 – 3 per day) can reduce fertility. Try to limit your intake to no more than 1 tea per day and 1 or 2 coffees per week. Women metabolise alcohol much less efficiently than men and there is evidence to suggest that even moderate drinking (5 or fewer glasses a week) can delay conception.
- Healthy weight: A BMI of 20 – 25 is associated with higher pregnancy and lower miscarriage rates than those above or below this range. If you are overweight losing a few kilos now could make a big difference to your ability to conceive naturally or with IVF. If you are underweight increase your intake of calorie dense protein and low GI carbohydrates.
- Exercise: Doing regular exercise, something you enjoy, is beneficial. It increases energy, lifts mood, helps you sleep and helps to control weight. However exercising too much (4+ hrs/week aerobic exercise) has been shown to reduce IVF success rates. During the first part of pregnancy you need to exercise with care so take the opportunity now to increase your fitness.
So now, you may have had a long journey possibly with plenty of medical intervention to get this far and you’ve just had appositive pregnancy test, CONGRATULATIONS now is the time to relax, let mother nature do her job and enjoy your swelling belly.
During this time our approach will continue through out the next 40 plus weeks including.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is often used by pregnant women to promote well being and to address pregnancy related symptoms should they occur. We recommend acupuncture weekly for the first 12 weeks, along with a “Holding” Formula to support the pregnancy in this stage, this reduces anxiety and the risk of miscarriage, however will not prevent it if the embryo is abnormal
- Rest: During these first few weeks of pregnancy it is important to pace yourself and not overwork or get overtired. Your body is undergoing enormous changes as it adapts to being pregnant.
- Keep Warm: Successful establishment of pregnancy requires a “warm womb” with a plentiful supply of “blood and qi”. For this reason we advise against swimming, getting chilled around the lower back or abdomen, and the consumption of icy foods and drinks.
- Movement: Exercise Movement is good, but high impact or tiring exercise or strain on the abdomen or lower back is not. Take gentle walks, rather than running and avoid anything that compresses the abdomen or lower back. Try and not stand for extended periods of time. Don’t overheat and don’t lift heavy weights.
- Intimate Relations: If you have a history of infertility and/or miscarriage most we caution against sex for the first few weeks. The same applies to vaginal ultrasounds – try to leave off having this investigation until 7 weeks pregnant by which time a heart beat is easy to detect.
- Diet: Nourishing plain foods, choosing fresh foods in season good protein intake. Avoid alcohol and no coffee. If you experience pregnancy nausea, frequent snacks and avoiding rich foods will help, so will acupuncture.
PREPARING FOR LABOUR:
Treatment applied in the 4 weeks before the due date may reduce the rates of medical induction & emergency caesarian. It also has been shown to encourage cervical ripening and may shorten the time of active phase labour.
Finally, we are also here for postpartum care to aid in birth recovery, breast feeding, restoring energy & blood and also supporting postpartum anxiety & depression if needed.
Cath is available for consultation on Thursday and Friday at Mornington Chinese Medicine.
To book your appointment please call ph: 5973 6886