Fertility series - Five Key Aspects from Chinese medicine perspective for Preconception Health

 
fertility_eastential
 

When you and your partner decides on when to start trying to have a baby, it is good to have an idea of your partner's and your health in check.  Here are 5 important aspects from Chinese medicine perspective for preconception health:

Cycle, Ovulation & Fertile mucous - It is important that your cycle is regular and there are signs of ovulation.  The appearance of substantial fertile mucous that is clear and stretchy resembling an egg white consistency preceding ovulation is an indication of your "peak day".  Fertile mucous acts like an alarm, alerting you to your most fertile days and, it facilitate the sperm's journey up the cervix aimed at getting these sperm inside the female reproductive tract well before the egg is released.  The egg is one of the shortest lived single cell in the body, its lifespan only last between 6 to 12 hours.  A simple tool such as a fertility app can help you monitor your cycle and body temperature to determine when ovulation occurs.  It also indicate your most fertile phase for intercourse and it keeps a log of your physical and mental health symptoms.

Emotions and mental health - Anxiety, depression or fear can affect your reproductive health.  In Chinese medicine, there is a connection between the Heart (Mental/Emotions) and the Kidney (Uterus).  It is said that when the Heart is happy, peaceful and tranquil, the function of the uterus would be harmonised.  Meaning ovulation would occur at the right time and the cycle is regulated.  Emotional well being and mental health is important to your partner as well.  This will impact on his sexual function and his ability to enjoy the journey with you.  Not only do you need to work on your physical health, emotional and mental health is equally as important in preconception health.

Nutrition and Nourishment - How you fuel your body can either enhance or deteriorate the function of your body.  Food influence your well-being, weight, energy levels and how you feel from a day to day basis.  By understanding that food is medicine that provides nutrition for your body, you can begin to nourish your body by changing the way you connect with food.  From a Chinese medicine perspective, we are encouraged to consume warm cooked meals and to stay away from cold and raw foods such as smoothies, cold and raw salads, poke bowls, protein shakes, and ice-cream.  Greasy, deep fried food, junk food, and overly spicy food are discouraged and the consumption of alcohol should be limited and cold beverages should be avoided.  This general principle is applied for preconception health.  It helps to keep the stomach and womb warm and well nourished, an important aspect in increasing the success rate of natural conception.

Lifestyle - Stress!  Most common issue that I constantly hear about during preconception consultation in my clinic.  In Chinese medicine, stress can cause Qi stagnation.  When Qi does not flow harmoniously, it disrupt the balance of Yin and Yang in the body.  Therefore, hindering the energetic Organs of the Liver, Spleen, Heart and Kidneys that aid in reproductive matters, to work on coping with stress rather than on conception affairs.  Begin by addressing what is the source of your stress, than take steps to either minimise or find strategies to manage that stress for example, reducing work load responsibilities, practice meditation or yoga, etc.  By tweaking and adjusting your lifestyle now will help you and your partner have a higher success rate in conceiving naturally.

Sexual function - Check in with each other.  Is there poor libido, premature ejaculation problems, performance issues or pain on sexual intercourse?  These are signs that suggest an imbalance in the body or a physical problem that can either be addressed with Chinese or western medicine.  It is best to address these issues as soon as possible because treatment to restore good healthy sexual function does take time.  Therefore, the sooner you get it checked out and treated, the quicker you can start trying for a baby.

The body is very resilient and copes with whatever we throw at it.  We also believe that the body can heal itself quickly.  As a practitioner, I would like to believe that this is the case for every body but we are all built and shaped differently.  If you and your partner would like to have a baby six months to a year down the road, I urge you to put your health and lifestyle as a priority now.  Changes on the physical, mental, emotional and cellular level takes time therefore, preconception health should be right at the top of your "To Do List".

Would like more information?

Dr Jacqueline's main focus of practice is fertility and women's health.  She is compassionate and understand the struggle and emotional strain a couple goes through natural fertility.  If you would like to discuss or understand how Chinese medicine can help with natural fertility, we have a FREE 15 minutes consultation at the clinic which you can BOOK ONLINE NOW!

Resources

Lyttleton, J. (2013). Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine.

Image from Unsplash by Taylor Hernandez

Women's Health Series - PMS Menstrual Island

 
Menstrual Island

Does this island sound familiar?  I found this illustration rather amusing but yet it is something that is not funny either.  Countless of women that I know of, both friends and clients that I have treated can relate to Menstrual Island.   

In Chinese medicine, Menstrual Island is a sign that our body is not functioning the way it should and there are some elements of stagnation and imbalance in the system.  Where there is pain, there is stagnation;  where there is acne, there is heat in the Stomach and imbalance of the hormones and where there is bloating there is rebellious of the Stomach Qi.  There is also one experience that almost every women (or men) have encountered is premenstrual syndrome (PMS).  Irritability, moods swings, tearful, headaches, breast tenderness, misery and depression point towards what we call Liver Qi stagnation in Chinese medicine.  

The Liver governs every aspect of Qi.  It tells it where to move, which direction to go and stores the ethereal soul.  I like to think of the Liver as the General Manager of the body.  It manages each organs in terms of their function and movement.  When the General manager gets too stressed out, the rest of the system will begin to feel overwhelmed and does whatever it wants without any direction or aim.  Therefore, to avoid the Liver getting all worked-up, and to ensure minimal trips to Menstrual Island try to avoid:

  • A sedentary lifestyle - find ways to move eg. walk to work, take the stairs, do some form of exercise for 30 minutes
  • Constant stress from working, family life, studying and etc - try to aim for a balance lifestyle by doing some meditation or yoga, time-out for some 'me' time, time management to overcome stress
  • Poor diet consisting of spicy, fatty, processed, deep fried foods & take-aways - incorporate a daily dose of fresh vegetables and fruit into your diet, cut down on sugar (a little dark chocolate is ok if you need something sweet), prepare your own meals so you know what goes into it, and aim for simple meals with high nutrition and flavours

However, if symptoms persist or are getting out of control, Chinese medicine is great at sorting it out, even my gynecologist recommends and acknowledged that Chinese medicine has better outcomes than western medicine can do to help relief these symptoms.  So stop putting up with the misery, cramps, crankiness and bloating every month.  Give your body and yourself some kindness and relief from it today.

Want to learn more on how Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help to ease your PMS symptoms?

Come in either for a FREE 15 MINS COMPLIMENTARY CHAT or BOOK ONLINE with Dr Jacqueline for a treatment today.  Dr Jacqueline has a keen focus is in Women's Health and Gyneacology and have years of experience in treating problems affecting women during their menstrual cycle.  Whether to reduce the signs and symptoms of PMS, regulating irregular menstrual cycle for future pregnancy plans or painful periods, Dr Jacqueline will design an individualised treatment based on your diagnosis, targeting not only your symptoms but also the root cause of your symptoms.

Resources

Image used with permission from  Gemma Correl