Fertility

IS ACUPUNCTURE RIGHT FOR YOU?

IS ACUPUNCTURE RIGHT FOR YOU?

Do acupuncture needles hurt? 
Will acupuncture help me feel better? 🤸‍♀️
How should I choose an acupuncturist?  ‍⚕️

According to several studies, acupuncture is the most sought-after alternative health practice among U.S. and Canada based consumers when thinking of ways to upgrade their health toolkits.  But they still have many questions.  I’ve answered some of the commonly asked questions regarding this amazing practice and how to get started.  Teaser: it doesn't hurt.


The Beginners Guide to Planning for Pregnancy

 
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Bun in the oven. Knocked up. Pea in the pod. Being late. Eating for two. Wearing the bustle wrong. How ever you phase it it’s a mother-to-be’s main goal when thinking about pregnancy. This might be a new and confusing topic for many of you, as for years you have been trying to prevent pregnancy. In a sea of mixed information you might feel lost and overwhelmed but you want to do everything you can to ensure your future baby has the best start. The answer for you might be preconception planning! Let’s cover the importance of moving your body in advance, how to build your nutrient reserves, what to avoid in your environment and how to stop taking hormonal birth control pills.

How important is it to Prepare your Body?

I believe that the first opportunity you have to optimize your child’s health is in the preconception period. It also helps to boost natural fertility, which could conceivably increase your chances for conception.

Unfortunately, medically unexplained infertility is on the rise and I think that our high stress lifestyles, nutritionally deficient diets and overwhelming amount of environmental toxins are to blame. By starting to make small changes at least 3-4 months before conception you can ensure that you are creating the best possible environment for a baby to grow and thrive.

If you have the time, I recommend taking a minimum of 3-6 months to prepare your body for pregnancy. Why so long? Because we don’t live in the same world that our grandparents and parents grew up in… our diets now revolve around packaged and processed convenience foods that are severely devoid of nutrients and our homes and personal care products are filled with toxic chemicals. It’s time to ditch the chemicals and go au-naturel.

So, “where should I start?”

The first step is to create a positive mindset and intention for the changes you want to make. Focus on gradually creating a healthier lifestyle through small changes over a period of time and before you know it you’ve set up a great foundation for a healthy pregnancy! The more time you can give yourself to integrate these changes, the better! Remember that it takes approximately 90 days for our cells (eggs, sperm, red blood cells etc.) to change from dietary and lifestyle modifications. It’s definitely worth your time to take at least 4 months to prepare your body for pregnancy.

5 Tips to get you Started:

  1. START MOVING YOUR BODY

    Moderate regular exercise can not only improve fertility but also boost overall quality of life and emotional wellbeing. Don't think of it in terms of just weight. Your goal should be to be as healthy (from the inside out) as possible before getting pregnant. This may include losing some weight or gaining weight, but it may also include getting stronger, increasing your endurance and eating healthier. Pregnancy is difficult enough; anything you can do to be stronger for it will only help you during pregnancy and beyond. (Car seats are HEAVY ladies!) Moderate exercise before pregnancy is associated with many positive outcomes for mom and baby, including boosted fertility, less pain while pregnant and lower weight gains during pregnancy. And women whose weight is in a healthy range before pregnancy help lower the risk of serious complications for their babies, such as neural-tube and heart defects.

  2. LOAD UP ON DENSE NUTRIENTS

    Pregnancy requires a lot of additional nutrients and if you are not getting them through your diet your baby will take them from your body (ie. if you are not getting enough calcium it will be taken from your bones.) This can leave a mom very deficient and struggling to conceive the next time around. The key to building your nutrient reserves is QUALITY. Choose nutrient dense foods (not low calorie foods!) such as: organic grass-fed meat and liver, pasture raised eggs, organic whole milk yogurt and cheese, wild fish and seafood, unrefined fats and oils such as butter, ghee, virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic vegetables that are mostly raw or fermented, leafy greens and sprouted grains. Pretty much the Italians have been doing it right for years. Eat quality foods, in the right portions, don’t skip meals and cook with love.

  3. REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS

    My top tips when shopping to make it easy is to load your cart with foods without labels, buy certified organic meat and produce, switch to natural skin and hair care products and use only natural household cleaners. Cost saving tip: head to your local farmers market and ask what their farming protocol is. A lot of local farm stands follow the same quality control as organic but at a fraction of the price. The labeling of organic foods is very expensive, so its a win-win situation to support your local farmers and save yourself some money at the same time.

  4. RELAX AND ACT AS IF YOU ARE ALREADY PREGNANT

    What would you absolutely do or not do if you found out you were pregnant? Since stress is probably the number one fertility killer, looking at ways to reduce your levels of stress and incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily schedule can go a long way in helping you achieve your goal of conceiving a healthy baby. Grab my FREE Calm guide that’s loaded with amazing tools to de-stress your life.

  5. DITCH THE HORMONAL BIRTH CONTROL

    At least 6-12+ months before you want to conceive. They are known to deplete your body of the very same nutrients that you need for fertility and to nourish a growing fetus during the first trimester. It can also take months for your hormones to find their natural balance and for your body to start ovulating again, which is essential for conception. During this phase start tracking your cycles and don’t forget to use a barrier method to still prevent pregnancy while your body and hormones are balancing out.

Not sure where to start or too busy juggling a huge To-Do to even think about planning? Join our Fit for Fertility Lab and I’ll give you the steps and tools to help you prepare for body for pregnancy

Real Talk: 3 Obvious Ovulating Signs

 
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It’s no longer a hush hush topic. In order to get pregnant we need to ovulate. The most amazing thing is that our body tells us when it’s happening (if all systems are ago, aka hormones)

According to a recent study at Yale up to 90% of woman don’t know the signs of ovulation. Can you believe that?! I was definitely in the dark for a lot of my adult life due to being on the Oral Contraceptive Pill for 10 years when these symptoms are put on hold! I had no idea what it was like to ovulate and was it a surprise when I decided to ditch the pill and go oh-natural.

Ovulation signs are the only way to be certain that you have ovulated. Although this is not a complete list, these 3 are the easiest to do at home and most reliable methods. Below we will discuss three obvious ovulation signs to watch out for when charting your cycle. You can chart you cycle in different ways. The easiest for most women is with a period tracking app on their phone. (Don’t have one yet? Download my favourite, the Period Tracker App. Grab it in the App Store on your phone after you finish reading this blog)

Some women believe that because they are getting a period, they are fertile. However, there is such as thing as an “anovulatory cycle”. These cycles appear to be normal, however, there is no ovulation. Anovulatory cycles are common. Yet persistent anovulatory cycles should be monitored as they can indicate other health issues.

WHAT IS OVULATION AND HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?

Before we dive into the 3 obvious signs of ovulation, it helps to know what ovulation actually is and what it means.

Every month, your body goes through a rhythmical cycle that is quite miraculous. On Day 1 of your period, your estrogen and progesterone levels are low, which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce FSH, or follicle stimulating hormone. FSH stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles, the fluid-filled sacs that contain your eggs.

The follicle releases estrogen to thicken the uterine lining in preparation for a potential pregnancy. Estrogen levels peak around ovulation, which triggers your pituitary gland to release LH or Luteinizing Hormone. For ovulation to occure LH has to tell your body to release usually one egg from your ovary. And just like that you have ovulated.

If there is no viable sperm to fertilize your egg, your hormone levels, namely estrogen and progesterone, plummet and your period begins once again.

This ovulation phenomenon only happens once a month, which means fertility has a limited window (though technically it is possible to get pregnant on your period, it’s not likely).

WHAT DOES CHARTING TELL US?

Charting our cycles will tell us whether our hormones are in the proper balance and will allow us to monitor our natural fertility. A blood test will show a snapshot of our hormones at one particular time. However, our personal fertility chart gives us a complete and unique monthly supply of information. In order to get pregnant naturally, we need to understand the obvious ovulation signs.

Okay, I know that seems like a lot to digest and you are anxious to know the signs of ovulation so that you can either get pregnant or delay it.

Drumroll please….

THE THREE OBVIOUS OVULATION SIGNS (that you can track at home)

  1. Body Temperature

  2. Cervical Mucous Change

  3. Libido

1. Body Temperature

Your basal body temperature (BBT) increases after you ovulate, and tracking this can be one way of verifying ovulation. If you perform BBT tracking every day, you should see an increase at least by 0.72 °F (0.4 °C) the day after you ovulate. You can track your cycle by taking your BBT every morning and recording it (written or in an app). Remember it’s important to take your temperature at the same time every day, right when you wake up and before getting out of bed.

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2. Cervical Mucous Change

Just before ovulation occurs, the hormone estrogen leads to increased cervical mucus and changes it into a stretchy, viscous-like substance. This helps sperm survive and swim. After ovulation, the hormone progesterone causes cervical mucus to become sticky and thick.

 
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3. Libido

It is normal for a woman to feel variations in her level of interest in sexual activity. A normal cycle of libido will flow with the changes in fertility. When a woman is ovulating she will be feeling her most drive for sexual activity. Again make note in your Cycle Tracking App when these days were.

These clues include variations in: body temperature; cervical positioning and mucous production; and changes in libido. When we monitor our cycles we can become intimately familiar with the timing of our ovulation. Cervical mucus and position changes, and basal body temperature changes are ovulation symptoms experienced by all women. You may or may not have other signs of ovulation, like breast tenderness or spotting but monitoring your body and tracking your ovulation with the help of an ovulation calculator is the easiest way to see when you’re at peak fertility.

References
  • https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/breast_health/mastalgia_breast_pain_85,P00154
  • https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Fertility-Awareness-Based-Methods-of-Family-Planning