When we talk about fertility, the obvious comes to mind - our ability to conceive and have a baby. This may be true, however we also need to understand that a state of good fertility indicates our overall health and wellbeing. Looking at it this way makes it relevant for everyone, even if you are not trying to conceive.
Preconception care routine:
Start Tracking your cycle
Understanding your own body is crucial to falling pregnant (or not falling pregnant if you are using it for contraception). Tracking your Basal Body Temperature (BBT), alongside observing cervical mucus changes and cervical positioning can be great tools to help identify your fertile window.
It takes two to Tango!
Don’t forget your partner is half the equation, be it man or woman. They may also need to look at their overall health, or work on connecting with each other and forming a stronger bond. Sperm health overall is declining*, and therefore, it is important to have this checked sooner rather than later. This is also something to consider in same sex couples when choosing your donor (*IVF Australia 2018)
Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine & Fertility
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a comprehensive health system over 5000 years old. Grounded in the Taoist/Daoist belief, Chinese medicine views each person as an individual as well as being interconnected with our environment and earth. When looking at treating disease and imbalances, TCM considers the flow of energy - Qi (pronounced ‘chee’ ) - through connected pathways known as meridians or channels. These channels also flow through organs and tissues, as well as over 500 acupuncture points throughout the body. The smooth flow of this energy is required for the body to be in balance, so acupuncture, herbs, lifestyle, diet, exercise and breathing practices all contribute to the smooth flow of Qi in our bodies.
How can Chinese medicine assist you on your fertility journey?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into selected acupuncture points to stimulate body tissues and manipulate Qi within the meridians, thus assisting in moving Qi, increasing blood flow and restoring homeostasis within the body. Acupuncture can help restore your body, mind and spirit to a state of balance, not only by addressing presenting symptoms, but also treating the root cause of the imbalance.
How does Acupuncture work?
The research into the effectiveness of acupuncture for certain conditions is constantly growing and expanding.
nervous system. (3,4,5).
stress levels overall. (6,7,8) It's clear to see that lowering stress levels and increasing blood flow in our body is going to have a direct effect on our overall well being, and therefore our fertility health.
Who might find it beneficial to embrace acupuncture & Chinese medicine for preconception care?
● healthy single women or couples (including same sex couples) who want to be as healthy and balanced as they can be to give their baby the best start to life
● women and couples who have been diagnosed with either primary or secondary infertility. This can include, but is not limited to, issues with sperm
quality, anovulation, amenorrhoea etc.
● women and couples who have experienced one or more miscarriages
● women and couples currently preparing for, or undertaking IVF or ART treatment who are wanting to complement their treatment plan to improve success
1. Anjana B et al, 2014, Neurosci Bio Rev, 51, 138- 150
2. Drolet G et al, 2001, Progress Neuro-Psychopharm + Biol Psych, 25, 729 – 741
3. Zhang W et al, J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):837-44
4. Chin-Min Chuang. Am Jnl Chin Med 2007, 35, 779 – 791
5. Lundberg T, Acupuncture in Medicine 2002;20(2-3):109-120
6. So et al, Hum Reprod. 2009 Feb;24(2):341-8
7. Eshkavari L et al, Endocrinology. 2015 Oct;156(10):3649-60
8. Jensen L and Jensen S, Scand J Dent Res. 1982; Oct;90(5):397-403