Preparing Your Body for Fertility

Sadie Minkoff

Sadie Minkoff L.Ac., FABORM

If you are reading this post, it is probably because you are preparing to grow your family in your thirties or early forties. In spite of what you may have heard, this is a great time in life to become a parent and more and more people are choosing to do so. In fact there is some evidence that, although it may not be as easy to conceive as for our younger counterparts, women of advanced maternal age may have more success than was originally thought. So how can you optimize your chances? Chinese Medicine is one of the best ways to support fertility.

Often women hear about positive experiences with Chinese Medicine from their friends and family, from a support group, or from their doctors.

Treatment with Chinese Medicine involves a combination of receiving acupuncture, shifting lifestyle habits, and learning what you can do to optimize the potential to conceive and carry a healthy baby.

Why Acupuncture?

Acupuncture techniques have been proven to regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. This may improve the health of ovaries and their hormone production, a concern for women of advanced maternal age. It may stimulate blood flow to the uterus (by inhibiting uterine central sympathetic nerve activity), increase serotonin, and decrease stress. Often your practitioner will also prescribe medicinal herbs to facilitate this process. The combination of acupuncture and herbs has a synergistic effect.

The idea of changing our habits may seem daunting, but things can shift in a remarkable way with some relatively simple changes. Everyone knows that eating better makes us healthier, but there are some specific things that we can do to optimize our health and fertility. Focusing on changing one’s diet is part of the equation.

Chinese Medicine focuses on paying attention to the entire mind, body and spirit as a whole. Consider the following:

  • What makes you happy?
  • What is fun for you to do?
  • Tap into your creativity.
  • Take walks in nature.
  • Move your body. Exercise releases endorphins which help to keep a more positive focus when life gets difficult.
  • Do something regularly to take care of yourself and give yourself the attention that you deserve. That could mean receiving a massage, going dancing, journaling, or painting. Meditation, yoga, and/or tai qi are avenues for stress and anxiety reduction, as well as for the simple act of being with oneself.

But Really, What about Diet? 6 Ideas to Support Your Fertility

  1. First and foremost, while trying to conceive eat whole, unprocessed foods. These contain the nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber that we need. Do not be “carbophobic.” Eat healthy carbohydrates such as beans and legumes, vegetables, and whole grains to minimize insulin resistance, improve potential fertility, and prevent gestational diabetes.
  2. Eat a plant-based diet. This does not mean that one must eliminate meat; but to make the majority of what you enjoy be of plant origin. Try to eat as many colors of fruits and vegetables as possible. You will be nourished by a host of phytonutrients which help the body to stay strong and fight disease.
  3. Minimize or eliminate processed sweeteners and foods that contain them. These upset insulin regulation and cause inflammation, which may lead to infertility.
  4. Eat healthy fats such as avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, and coconut. These aid in inflammation reduction and hormone regulation.
  5. If you eat dairy, eat small amounts and eat full-fat and organic varieties. Goat dairy is preferred over cow dairy.
  6. Include many foods which are high in antioxidants. There is a comprehensive list here. Try to have fun with the changes, instead of thinking of them as discipline or “medicine.” Learning to cook and prepare new things, or eating at different restaurants can be a delightful aspect of this process.

Sadie Minkoff, L.Ac., FABORM and team at Sage Acupuncture in Austin specialize in Reproductive Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. Read more at ReproductiveAcupuncture.com