A large number of couples seek the use of acupuncture when they are going through IVF. When performed for the weeks before IVF, acupuncture is able to improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy as well as decrease miscarriage rates. Acupuncture also improves pregnancy rates combined with other western medicated fertility treatments (like clomid) and not just IVF. A question I often get asked is "Can Acupuncture be of benefit to those couples going through infertility if they are not doing IVF?" The short answer is an absolute YES! to understand why takes a little bit more explanation.
The environment in which egg cells are growing during the process of recruitment and development has a major impact on the quality of the egg cell that is ovulated every cycle. Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally, or with the help of an embryologist, optimizing the quality of eggs (oocytes) that are being produced is of paramount importance in increasing the likelihood of each cycle resulting in a healthy pregnancy.
I get asked at least weekly if there are certain foods someone should eat before, during and after IVF. So here is my list of foods and dietary suggestions to optimize your chances of a successful IVF cycle.
Over the years we have blogged several times regarding the importance of sleep. A lack of sleep is detrimental on both your overall health as well as fertility. While we are sleeping our body is repairing itself. Sleep improves neurotransmitters, replenishes hormones and detoxifies and repairs cellular tissue. A very important time in our day. Unfortunately under sleeping is an Epidemic according to Dr. MacIsaac (Blog Post Here).
In vitro Fertilization is a marathon and not a sprint! We need to think of this comparison closely as anyone enters into an IVF Cycle. Sperm takes approximately 90 days to be created and eggs have a maturation period of several months. Optimizing your fertility during this time before the IVF will lead to better results. There are many things that you shouldn't do when preparing to do an IVF cycle.
I have had an incredible year so far working with some amazing patients. I'm lucky in the sense that I have been able to treat some very dedicated couples. I see patients for regular acupuncture to help improve their chances of pregnancy. But what happens when you can't come for regular acupuncture? Will you still have a greater chance of success when trying to conceive? Yes!
Endometriosis effects a large percentage of the patients I see in my practice. In most of these cases it has been a part of their infertility diagnosis as well as years of discomfort associated with their period. For the majority of these women their only mode of relief was from anti inflammatories such as Advil or by taking the Birth Control Pill. Neither of which offer long term relief once stopped. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine offers a strong treatment for both painful periods and endometriosis.
Exercise is a vital part of staying healthy during pregnancy and when preparing for pregnancy. However, there are two forms of exercise that I suggest staying clear of during these times. (I can only imagine the heaps of hate mail I am about to receive)
Okay, here it goes…
1. Hot yoga. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Yoga. Yoga is great! It improves flexibility, strengthens and tones muscles, relieves stress, reconnects you with your body and breath. But when you are trying to conceive or pregnant, the problem lies in the HOT part.
Decisions don't always have to be difficult and most of the decisions we make are easy. From what time we need to wake up in the morning, what we make ourselves for breakfast and the clothes we wear are generally a simple and quick decision. Other choices we are faced with are not so easily overcome. Financial and health decisions can be extremely difficult and feel like a horrible gamble when choosing a road to go down. When looking at your fertility options it can seem impossible to know the right way to turn.