At Flourish, we’re passionate about supporting patients at any stage of the fertility journey – from patients undergoing IVF, to those on a multi-year fertility marathon, to those just starting to expand their families. We aim to support our patients by bringing benefit not only from our hands-on care, but also by making personalized suggestions that you can implement to take control of your own fertility journey.
While our goal is always to tailor care to the patient in front of us, there are some basic rules of thumb that can benefit (almost) every fertility patient:
1. Clean up your diet:
In so many ways, the food that we eat makes us who we are. It can influence hormone levels, inflammatory processes, immune system, and toxicity levels – and, through all these systems, the genetic quality of our gametes.
It’s for this reason that diet can make all the difference in the world. The rules of thumb that apply to most patients are to eat (1) organic whole foods that are (2) anti-inflammatory, (3) easy on blood sugar, and (4) minimize your exposure to environmental estrogens. So, avoid those processed, sugary, white flour-rich foods – even though they can be so yummy!
Chinese medicine also gives us a beautiful roadmap for providing personalized dietary recommendations based on the patient’s constitution. Although overarching recommendations can be helpful, individualized support is always optimal.
2. Take your supplements:
The majority of our fertility patients are put on the following supplements:
- Prenatal vitamin with methylfolate
- CoQ10 (in the version of ubiquinol)
- Fish oil
- Vitamin D
There are so many other powerful supplements, including personalized Chinese herbs, that gently encourage the body to come back into balance and enable reproductive success.
That said, supplementation should always be selected based on your particular challenges, medical conditions, and with an eye for any potential interactions with your current supplements / medications.
3. Consider the sperm:
Not every conception occurs in a partnership in which one partner has eggs and the other has sperm. But in those partnerships where the sperm-bearers are actively engaged in the process… don’t forget about semen health!
So much pressure is put on women in the fertility process – but sperm makes up half of the puzzle. Literally. Sperm quality issues can contribute not only to problems with conception, but also to repeat pregnancy loss!
Undergoing semen analysis early in the process can be a non-invasive and relatively affordable way to uncover any serious deficiencies (at-home test kits like Fellow make it super easy). But even if the semen analysis is “normal” (this doesn’t mean optimal, folks!), there are a lot of things that can be done to improve the quality of sperm.
Just like their egg-bearing counterparts, anyone looking to improve sperm quality should follow a similar diet, cut down on caffeine, alcohol, and marijuana. Heat and lack of circulation are the enemy of healthy sperm, so avoid hot tubs and saunas, and try to take standing breaks from any long stretches of sitting at work. And make sure that none of your medications are problematic for sperm production – some common meds, like testosterone, cimetidine (for heartburn / ulcers), steroids, and some antibiotics, can create issues with sperm production.
4. Come in for acupuncture!
Acupuncture provides support on so many levels throughout the fertility process. In addition to encouraging healthy circulation to the reproductive tissue, it can also help to address inflammation throughout the body, and decrease your stress levels (read: cortisol). It can benefit egg health, uterine health, and sperm health. And, on top of that, it can provide you with a team of experts that will guide you and support you on your fertility journey, from preconception all the way through pregnancy!
These rules of thumb can be applied to (just about) any fertility journey. But personalization and individualized care will always produce better outcomes. So, if you are curious about how Flourish can support your fertility journey, schedule a 15-minute free consultation, or set up a 80-minute fertility initial appointment with one of our licensed Chinese medicine practitioners today.