Planning for a baby or conceiving can be as easy as breathing air to some but for many couples the struggle to conceive can be can be frustrating, upsetting, cause high anxiety and heartbreak.
There are many reasons why you may struggle to conceive, for the female the causes are wider than the male and may include; Endometriosis, uterine or abdominal abnormalities (including fibroids), ovulation disorders; PCOS, excessive exercise or eating disorders, celiac disease, amenorrhea, genetic abnormalities, late age, early menopause and some medications- among other causes.
For men, factors include abnormal sperm production and/or function, premature ejaculation, blockage in seminal vessels, sperm entering the bladder instead of the penis. Excessive exercise, stress, medication or exposure to chemicals, even tight underwear may affect the health of sperm.
Lifestyle factors including diet has to be addressed for both male and female during the time leading up to and conception. Alcohol, smoking (reduces the chance of conception), recreational drugs, eating processed foods or not eating regularly, negative emotions and poor sleep will all add to the barrel of stress.
Complementary therapy, especially Energy Therapy and TCM (Traditional Chines Medicine) look at many factors to do with conception. For the future mother the health of the kidneys, liver and spleen are of particular interest - menstrual blood is made via the kidneys and spleen but stored in the liver so rather than just focusing on hormones and the uterus - the three aforementioned organs will certainly be looked at to help regulate the menstrual cycle.
Regulating menses is the first port of call - if the menstrual cycle is between 26-32 days the journey has already been placed on a great footing but if there are issues with scanty, late, heavy or non periods then this has to be addressed. Even factors relating to when a women started her periods (menarche) will give clues on the kidney energy. The birth control pill can cause blood stasis and take many months to regulate the monthly cycle.
If the menses are not regular then tests are required so we can see when and if ovulation occurs, hormonal tests determine the levels of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) Estradiol and prolactin.
For those who are trying to conceive TCM and Energy Therapy can be an immense support, however only if there is full compliance with the patient and commitment with in clinic treatments and home care support. These therapies can be beneficial alongside IVF therapy .
So what can be done in the early stages to prepare for conception?
- I would highly recommend you see an acupuncturist or energy therapist weekly for approximately three months before conception to allow the practitioner to aim to regulate menses, treating the kidneys, spleen and liver as well as using specific points. Energy therapists will also look at the energetic signatures that may be causing interference with cellular communications as well as supporting the organs associated with conception to increase the chances of a positive outcome for all
- Colonic Hydrotherapy - Hormones are metabolised via the liver and the gut, with poor digestion or poor defecation (pooing) it can cause dysbiosis and SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) These are common underlying factors with fertility issues causing oestrogen overload. A colonic hydrotherapy is a great way to cleanse the gut and liver.
- Diet -
- avoid the following: cold foods, fasting, processed foods, alcohol, dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, high fructose, smoking and recreational drugs. Also look at what times your eating, try to eat around 7pm. (Eating after 7pm places a strain on the digestive system and immune system)
- Include whole foods, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale), wild oily fish, eat organic, seed and nuts, good fats, bone broth (also look for black foods like black wild rice, black chia seeds, black beans etc)
- Hydrate - make sure you are hydrating yourself but not with tap water, look at a good alkaline filter
- Sex - Intercourse is best every second day, sperm regenerates every 48 hrs (longer if the male is older) so having sex every other day gives the sperm time to be at its best. Sperm lasts around five days in the uterus so have sex before ovulation. Don’t be caught up in the mechanics of having intercourse, be imaginative with each other, make sure you have date nights and relax and have fun!, stress and tension defeats the object.
- Visualise your nursery - imagine the womb as a warm bed of peony petals, rich, warm and inviting, visualise the bud of the peony opening up, a warm peach colour vibrant, rich in energy and nutrients waiting to welcome the new arrival.
- Supplements -
- Homeopathic remedies - there are remedies that would be prescribed to include support for the endocrine system - these are prescription only and would require a consultation.
- Castor oil packs are believed to help detoxify the liver naturally, support uterine and ovarian health, improve lymphatic circulation, and reduce inflammation in a gentle non aggressive way, these are not to be done if you have conceived only leading up-to and the preparation of conception. You can find information on how to do a castor oil pack here
- Epsom salt baths are an excellent way to support elimination of stagnation from toxins that are stored under the skin but also in the connective tissue surrounding organs.
- Seed cycling: Flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds all help in the process of conception. Flax and sesame seeds aim to block excess estrogens so ovulation can occur. Sunflower seeds can clean the liver so hormones are balanced and pumpkin seeds help to balance the menstrual cycle.
- Day 1-14: 1tbsp ground flax seeds and 1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds
- Day 15 - menses: 1 tbsp of sunflower and sesame seeds daily
Always seek advice from your GP if you have concerns with conceiving but remember the human body is an amazing thing and I believe that if you restructure the root of the tree there is always a possibilitity it will bloom!