An increasing number of couples in Australia are struggling with infertility and are searching for natural remedies like Chinese medicine to help achieve their family’s goals. According to the Australian Department of Health, one in six couples are experiencing issues related to infertility. The reason for this has been attributed to the fact that women are waiting longer to get pregnant and start a family; an increase in estrogen in the general water supply (probably due to the use of oral contraceptives); and other chemical contaminants in the environment.
Acupuncture for Fertility: Can Acupuncture Really Help with Infertility?
A recent post by WebMD cites studies published in the Fertility and Sterility journal as conclusive evidence of a link between acupuncture treatment for infertility and hormones in the brain involved with contraception. Other studies have suggested that acupuncture can:
- Increase the number of egg follicles available for fertilisation by increasing blood flow to the fallopian tubes.
- Increase blood flow to the uterus and increase its ability to absorb hormones and nutrients, facilitating a thickening and strengthening of the lining.
- Increase the production of endorphins which can regulate the menstrual cycle.
Fertility acupuncture treatment may also be used in conjunction with traditional western fertility treatments to boost the chances of successfully getting pregnant. In this video, popular fertility expert Marc Skylar expresses his thoughts about using acupuncture for fertility with IVF.
What other Lifestyle Changes Can You Make to Increase Fertility?
Mark your calendar
If infertility is a concern, you should start practicing fertility awareness, which means choosing from a variety of methods to track your ovulation. Once you are aware of which days are optimal for conception, you and your partner can focus on creating ideal conditions for those days.
Watch what you eat
As with most lifestyle changes, diet is a major factor for your health. Cutting down on caffeinated soda and coffee and alcohol consumption can dramatically increase your chances of conception. If you can’t remove these things completely, don’t worry, just decreasing your caffeine and alcohol intake can do the trick.
Obesity can decrease fertility, so you should focus on attaining a healthy weight. Keep in mind that moderation is key. Crash dieting can send signals to your body that you are in a crisis scenario and that it won’t be able to support a pregnancy. Talk to a professional about your health and starting a safe nutrition plan.
It’s not all bad news. You can skip the low and nonfat dairy products and indulge in the full-fat version – yes, you read that correctly. We just told you to eat something fatty. According to Psychology Today, “women consuming at least one serving of high-fat dairy foods per day showed 27% reduced risk of infertility”.
Skip that spin class (sometimes)
More good news. You don’t have to feel guilty about forgoing your high-intensity workout, in fact, it’s encouraged for women struggling with infertility. Engaging in strenuous exercise for most of the week can decrease ovulation and make menstruation irregular. You should especially keep this in mind during ovulation. On those days, just kick back at home with your partner while enjoying some full-fat yogurt.
Kick the habit
You have to stop smoking while you’re pregnant anyway, so you might as well start now.
Say “No” to NSAIDs
Women trying to get pregnant should avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Incidentally, Chinese medicine and acupuncture can naturally treat many conditions usually treated with NSAIDs.
Get your man involved
Infertility is often thought of as a “women’s issue” but it takes two people to make a baby. Men should also avoid alcohol and tobacco during conception. In addition, they should steer clear of soy based foods since soy is high in estrogen and can drop sperm counts by 40%. You can consult this list for dietary supplements that can also be beneficial to men’s fertility. Obesity is a risk factor for men as well, so you should embark on you healthy eating plan together.