Infertility is a significant public health problem in the United States that is affecting women, men, and couples more than ever. In the U.S., 6.7 million women ages 15-44 and 1.5 million married women ages 15-44 suffer from fertility problems – infertility or impaired fecundity. The large majority of them (7.4 million) have used infertility services in the past, including “drugs to stimulate ovulation, surgery, intrauterine insemination, and assisted reproductive technology (ART).”
While a conventional medicine approach may have provided results for some people, many couples now believe that a holistic approach, one that removes the boundaries between conventional and complementary care, is their best chance of successful conception. This approach uses complementary therapies and minimally invasive diagnostic techniques to improve the results of conventional care, and it has been shown to give couples the highest potential for successful conception.
Usually, women who can’t get pregnant suffer from a combination of sub-clinical conditions. These conditions may not cause infertility on their own, but they can substantially diminish a couple’s chances of conceiving. The natural approach to treating infertility disorders solves the root causes of infertility, addressing not just the reproductive system, but all other body systems that have a direct and indirect effect on child conception. Here are some ways in which you can increase your chances of conceiving naturally.
Improve Nutrition & Lifestyle
Pre-conception nutrition research has shown that becoming healthy before becoming pregnant will significantly increase fertility in both women and men, improve the quality of the egg and sperm, and reduce the miscarriage rate. Begin making healthy food choices 3 months to 1 year before you plan on conceiving. Here are some of the changes you need to make:
- Eat complex carbs and limit highly processed ones. Good carbs such as beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are not digested as fast as carbs you get from cookies and white bread. The digestion of good carbs has a gradual effect on blood sugar and insulin levels, which has been shown to promote ovulation.
- Ditch the trans fats. By avoiding highly processed foods, snacks, and animal products – foods that increase insulin resistance – you will increase your chances to get pregnant and prevent metabolic disturbances.
- Take vitamins and minerals. A Harvard study showed that women who took a daily dose of 400 mg of folic acid and 40-80 mg of iron were 40 percent less likely to experience ovulatory infertility over the next eight years than women who didn’t.
Minimize Exposure to Chemicals and Pollutants
Exposure to environmental toxins may significantly affect adult fertility. Certain compounds circulating in our environment, water, food supply, and air can alter hormone function and result in adverse reproductive health. These include:
- Ovotoxicants (chemicals that disrupt ovulation) include chemicals used in plastics, pesticides, and rubber tires (VCH) and those released from cigarettes, car fumes, and road tar (PAH)
- Endocrine disruptors (chemicals that interfere with the hormone function) include nonyl phenol and additives used in plastic manufacturing
- Phthalates found in plastic food containers, medical supplies, vinyl flooring, and packaging
Help Your Body Accept Change with Acupuncture
Many women who want to steer clear from injections and surgery resort to acupuncture, which is rapidly becoming an accepted fertility protocol. By placing fine needles at key energy meridians linked to the reproductive organs, your acupuncturist will be able to move the flow of Qi (the vital energy force of the body) from areas where it may be found in abundance to areas that are deficient. Experts believe that allowing Qi to flow unobstructed from head to toe brings about a calming, restorative effect that increases the sense of well-being and ultimately stimulates the body to accept the creation of a new life.
Boost Your System with Massage Therapy
Massage therapy for fertility is a powerful, non-invasive treatment meant to improve your chances of conceiving that can be used alone or in combination with other forms of natural fertility treatments. The benefits of massage therapy for fertility include:
- Increases blood circulation
- Boosts egg health by increasing the amount of oxygenated blood flow to the ovaries
- Maintains hormonal balance
- Helps regulate menstrual cycle and also reduce the pain and cramps accompanying menstruation
- Improves digestion and removes discomfort in the abdominal region
- Alleviates stress and promotes relaxation
Relax Your Body with Aromatherapy
Essential oils are another great way to enhance healing and promote pregancy holistically. There are specific essential oils that can positively affect fertility, aid in hormonal balance, reduce stress, decrease inflammation, reduce pain, and boost immune system function. They can be breathed into the lungs through steam inhalation, bath, or aromatherapy burners, or can be absorbed into the skin. Some of the essential oils that have been proven to be beneficial for fertility include:
- Rose Otto. This oil is helpful in treating PMS, regulating the menstrual cycle, and relaxing the uterus. (This oil should not be used during pregnancy or after ovulation)
- Geranium. Known as the women’s essential oil, Geranium has amazing hormonal balancing properties and is an ovarian and uterine tonic.
- Clary Sage. This is another powerful oil that have positive effects on the female reproductive system. Clary sage mimics natural oestrogens and stimulates the body to produce its own.
- Fennel. This oil has been shown to have a strong estrogenic effect and is one of the most effective phytoestrogenic oils.
- Others such as Coriander, Tarragon, Myrrh, Marjoram, Lavender, Frankincense, Ylang ylang, and Chamomile are also beneficial for stimulating sexual hormones and promoting fertility in women.
If you are concerned about your ability to get pregnant or you’re simply looking to improve your health prior to conceiving, consider including the methods described above and other alternative treatments – all which carry minimal risks and are completely natural. Talk to a certified and licensed acupuncturist in your area to learn more about the root causes of your fertility problem and together set up a treatment plan that will solve it naturally.
About the Author
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.