Acupuncture Support in Early Pregnancy

Acupuncture support in early pregnancy can be a great alternative to ‘waiting and seeing.’

So you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant. Congratulations! You might only be 4 weeks along with your embryo no bigger than a chia seed.

You may have waited for years or months or it’s a complete surprise.

You’ve might have had your beta HCG tested and booked in your first scan, but it’s not for 3 more weeks…seems like a lifetime away.

You may have already read what seems like thousands of articles about women who have experienced miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies and you’re so scared about wondering what could happen in your pregnancy.

You’re feeling lost as to what you can do to support your pregnancy but there are a few natural things you can do.

First, take a breath. At this moment, all you know is that you have created the beginnings of a tiny human. This is wonderful!

Also plan to rest a little bit more than normal.  This doesn’t mean sleeping 10 hours per night or napping for 2-3 hours during the day. It just means slow down, pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Plan to eat warm, healthy foods while you don’t feel queasy just yet. This may change soon so enjoy.

You can of course start to read about what your body is going through and know what foods to be mindful of eating.

If you’ve experienced a miscarriage before or can’t stop negative thoughts, try replacing those thoughts with positive affirmations. Some examples:

  • I got this
  • I set my worries aside and I allow my body to do its job
  • I have within myself all the necessary resources to grow a beautiful, healthy baby
  • I trust my body
  • I am relaxed and calm (this one may need more repeating than most!)
  • I have complete confidence that my body is working perfectly

Another thing you can do, is make an appointment with an experienced acupuncturist, as early as 4-5 weeks.

“Acupuncture has been used for centuries to help women conceive, grow and give birth to healthy babies, naturally.”

Treatments are based on preventative care and support. They work to ‘uplift’ pregnancy energy which can help to hold a pregnancy in place. It can work to strengthen digestive energy to alleviate pregnancy sickness and can help you improve hormonal symptoms like headaches, constipation, low back pain  and emotional volatility – all common in early pregnancy.

Seeing an experienced healthcare practitioner in early pregnancy can also help you with reassurance. This doesn’t seem big…until you’re in your first trimester and you’re overthinking every single symptom and wondering whether you’re doing all you can to make sure your embryo becomes a healthy baby.

Gaining confidence in your body’s ability to nourish and support your  can make a difference for how you experience your first trimester.

So enjoy your positive news and please get in touch if you have any questions about your pregnancy.

Registered Acupuncturist and Owner of Gold Coast Acupuncture Clinic – The Point of Wellbeing

Chinese Medicine and Grief after IVF

The entire IVF rollercoaster can pretty much cover every type of emotion possible. From joy, hope and happiness to anger, sadness, loss and grief.

Experiencing negative emotions in intensity, for long periods of time or not acknowledging them or expressing them can result in long term health concerns.

Chinese medicine has a different way of looking at emotions. We see pathological negative emotions as a cause of disease, similar to a poor diet and lack of exercise.

Each emotion has a particular affect on the body’s energy. For example, worry and anguish ‘knots qi’. Worry specifically affects the stomach, which is why you can feel that knotted feeling in your abdomen when you’re worried or anxious.

Anger causes your Liver energy to tighten and heat up, sending heat up to your head. The old saying of ‘steam coming out of your ears’ exactly describes what anger does to the body. Alcohol can worsen this reaction in some people because it adds heat to your Liver.

But sadness and grief has a strong affect on the Lungs. In Chinese medicine, healthy Lung energy works to pull the breath into the body, manage the rhythm of all of the body’s processes and is the first line of defence in protecting the body against pathogens.

Sadness weakens Lung Qi. After loss, you can experience a tight chest, shortness of breath, hyperventilation and general tiredness. You may even develop a cough within a couple of days.

I see in clinic many women suffering from the effect sadness and grief has on the Lungs after an IVF failure or miscarriage. But I also see lots of women who haven’t expressed their grief or sorrow. So below are some health tips for helping deal with grief and sadness…naturally.

Natural Health Tips for Dealing with Grief, Sorrow and Sadness

Breathing – spend time each day to breathe. Mindfully concentrate on deep inhalation and exhalation – even pairing this with yoga if you feel up to it. You will noticeably feel better

Crying – don’t be afraid to express your grief with tears. Crying moves qi and helps you to ‘let go’ of sadness. Holding on to tears can actually cause accumulation in the lungs and I often see bronchitis or pneumonia develop after experiencing loss because of this.

Keeping warm – this prevents you from getting sick. Because the Lung’s defence is weakened during grief, make sure you keep your neck, abdomen, low back and feet warm.

Talking to someone – if it’s your partner, a good friend, your mum or even a professional, talking again keeps Lung energy moving. It helps with the process of ‘letting go’. I find as an acupuncturist, seeing women after their IVF has been unsuccessful, this appointment is really important for expressing feelings.

Massage – a great way to unknot stuck energy. I would advise telling your massage therapist about your loss as massage during grief can result in huge emotional releases. You could be sobbing the whole way through your treatment….which is ok!

Acupuncture – we have specific points and treatments to improve the function of your Lung energy after experiencing grief and sadness. We can use acupuncture to strengthen Lung Qi, move accumulation and improve the Lung detoxification process. Similar to massage, acupuncture can result in a big emotional release.

Grief, loss and sadness are unfortunately an inevitable part of life. Our bodies are great at managing negative emotions when give the opportunity to do so. Be kind to yourself and let your body process your grief in it’s own time.

The Yin and Yang Balance of the Menstrual Cycle Part 1

The easiest way to understand the menstrual cycle in terms of Yin and Yang, is to compare the body to day and night.

Yin is night time. The cooling, resting, nourishing part of the day.

Yang is day time. Energetic, warming, increased metabolic energy part of the day.

The menstrual cycle is the same, but over a longer period (no pun intended!) of time. From your period until ovulation or your follicular phase is your Yin time.

This is when an egg is being nourished, your lining is growing and your body is being nurtured to produce a good quality egg for possible fertilisation. 

Your body temperature is actually lower, your body needs more rest, increased nutrition, more meditation and less stress to nourish your Yin and fertile energy.

From ovulation to the end of your cycle, is your Yang phase or your luteal phase. This is where progesterone, your warming hormone takes over.

Your body temperature noticeably increases. This energy helps a fertilised egg expand and grow.

If no fertilisation occurs, you move back into your Yin phase, ready to start the Yin/Yang dance again.

The very cool thing about this ebb and flow of energy, is that each phase is dependent on each other.

If you don’t have enough Yin (high stress, poor diet, poor sleep, increased age), it is hard for the body to switch from Yin to Yang. Ovulation may not occur and your development of progesterone (or Yang) may be impaired.

You end up with a very long Yin phase while the body tries to nourish an egg. This can happen in women with PCOS.

Imagine having too much night and not enough daylight…plants don’t grow, we don’t warm up, we would lack nutrition from the sun and have less access to nutritious food. We’d be like a poorly nourished egg!

When something upsets this important Yin and Yang balance, women’s health can suffer and not just in regards to falling pregnant.

Yin is needed to nourish all of your organs, not just your uterus. Yin supports all of your body fluids, blood and mucous membranes.

Yang is needed to maintain your digestive metabolic energy as well as your progesterone. Yang drives your digestion and your elimination of wastes. It looks after your water metabolism in the body and your daily energy.

So it is important to balance this Yin and Yang energy. Every single women’s health complaint comes down to an imbalance in this cycle.

It is as simple and as complicated as that!

Falling Pregnant in 2017

If you and your partner have been ‘kind of trying’ for the last couple of months or even years with little luck but have now decided that this is your year to fall pregnant, listen up…

  1. Stop comparing yourself to strangers on the internet – get off the forums and get in to see a real live person who can give you individual advice and treatment.
  2. Stop making excuses about your diet. No matter what anyone tells you, your diet and the nutrients you and your male partner absorb are incredibly important for your fertile health.
  3. Get some basic blood tests done, sperm testing done and pelvic ultrasound to eliminate serious causes of infertility so you can either seek natural treatment or move on to another cause.
  4. Start charting your basal body temperature and show it to the real live person you are seeking treatment from in step 1. Learn how to tell when you are fertile and when you are not, learn about your body and start building a better relationship with it
  5. Exercise – get your body moving! Walking or yoga are two great options that everyone can do. Moving blood around your body helps deliver nutrients to your growing eggs or developing sperm for the males.
  6. Sort out your ‘minor’ health complaints – if you suffer from bloating, poor digestion, frequent headaches, tiredness, skin complaints, low libido, insomnia, painful periods, short or long menstrual cycles, get these treated. They may be related to your difficulty in falling pregnant.
  7. Seek emotional support – either through a great group of friends or with a professional, surround yourself with people who love and support you.
  8. Drink water – the simplest tip but for some reason, the most difficult. Keep hydrated. You want full, luscious reservoirs of eggs for ovaries, not dried out raisins
  9. Relax. Falling pregnant can take time. Stress can negatively impact ovulation and your ability to conceive so do the things that bring you joy.
  10. Have lots of sex! The biggest cause of infertility is not enough sex. Knowing when you’re fertile (step 4) can help target the best ‘window’ but regular intercourse is your best chance at conceiving.
  11. Lastly, get acupuncture. This incredible therapy has the ability to help with all of the above – provide individual and holistic advice and treatment, help you relax, improve your blood flow, treat a myriad of health complaints and provide emotional support especially when given by a practitioner experienced in fertility.

Best of luck in your pregnancy goals for 2017. I’d love to hear from you if you have any specific questions about your individual fertility concerns – info@thepointofwellbeing.com.au

Paige x

Prenatal Vitamin Comparison Chart

Prenatal vitamins can be such a contentious subject and for some reason, this has been a project of mine for a little while. Whilst I have plans for finding the source of each brand’s ingredients, the recommended daily dosages, the additional fillers added and any research supporting each. I think I need to send something out in the meantime. And here it is (below).

Firstly, I need to make this very clear, that no single prenatal vitamin is going to be perfect for everyone. It is suggested for all women to take prenatal vitamins because we are lacking certain minerals and vitamins – due to our diet or digestive systems and the quality of foods available. Although unless  you have had this investigated through blood tests, you won’t know your state of mineral, vitamin and nutrient status.

Some brands have been particularly great at marketing their product to us and to doctors, but does that mean they are the best? Maybe yes, maybe not. The chart helps determine this for you.

I think it’s important when choosing the best vitamin for you too, you understand more about your diagnosis and health. If you have no deficiencies in minerals, vitamins or nutrients you may not need a prenatal vitamin. However, if you’re iron deficient, you’ll need a vitamin with iron. If you have some signs of PCOS, inositol may be helpful. If you’re tired and have other signs of B vitamin deficiency, maybe you need more of those.

Of course there is the option of adding other supplements on top of your prenatal vitamins. Which is something you can consider as well. Keeping in mind the added cost.

I just like you to be informed and then you can make your own decisions about your health. I also want to be able to make a recommendation based on your individual health status when asked.

I am really happy to hear any feedback (positive or critical), suggestions or even another brand to add.

Paige.

tpow-prenatal-vitamin-comparison

 

CoQ10 and it’s Role in Reproduction and IVF

There is a fair bit of confusion surrounding CoQ10 and what its role is in reproduction. The confusion is because good quality evidence for dosage and length of time taking this supplement aren’t easy to find. Another reason for the confusion, is that there are two types of CoQ10 – ubiquinol and ubiquinone. They are both important but Ubiquinol is more readily used by the body.

A brief biology background on CoQ10. Within each cell in the body, there exists a small organelle called mitochondria. This part of the cell houses the energy required for that cell to function. It uses that energy for metabolism, transport and division. Mitochondria are similar to your petrol tank in your car and CoQ10 is like your petrol.

Each egg cell and each sperm cell has a mitochrondria and therefore requires CoQ10 for energy. The egg needs the energy to keep it moving through the fallopian tubes and a sperm cell needs energy to swim towards the egg, as well as the energy to fertilise an egg. The egg and sperm combined also need energy to continue cell division so they can form a healthy embryo and hopefully a viable fetus and then beautiful baby.

Even though this process is incredibly microscopic, it involves a huge amount of cellular energy to work. I suppose it would be similar to running a marathon….but for cells. If they don’t have enough energy, any stage of the fertilisation process could be affected.

So dosing CoQ10 can help with this process. There are very few contraindications for taking CoQ10, so it appears safe for most people. Those on warfarin do need to consult their specialist before taking it. I always recommend both male and female partners to take the supplement if possible and I generally suggest three months of taking it to make any significant changes. This advice is based on very preliminary research which can be updated when we have more information available. The dosage does depend on the person and their age.

For some people, taking it at night can keep them awake, so it is often best to take first thing in the morning.

Clinically, I have seen some great results with this supplement. It is safe and effective and has very few side effects. I would have difficulty not recommending this supplement for couples going through fertility treatment, especially if they are over 40 years old.

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