Optimizing your fertility with a few key lab tests, diet changes and supplements may just be the best thing you can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Replete Wellness focuses specifically on optimizing fertility, managing symptoms through pregnancy and ensuring the best possible outcomes for both you and your baby. Naturopathic medicine has a lot to offer couples who are having trouble with conception or have been labeled with “unexplained infertility” (FYI we reject this term wholly at Replete; this is your doctors way of telling you they haven’t done enough work to figure out what’s really going on with you). Dr. Sarah offers the expertise and diagnostics of traditional fertility medicine, while providing treatment options that most conventional doctors wouldn’t; treatments that address the root-cause of your fertility struggles, are easier on the body, more natural and less expensive / invasive. These natural treatments can be applied prior to conventional options such as IVF, often negating the need for these invasive therapeutics altogether, or in conjunction with traditional support from your fertility clinic. Your functional medicine fertility protocol is tailored specifically for your body and needs and may include herbal medicine, supplements, + dietary and lifestyle changes to optimize your health, and ultimately, the health of your baby.
Fertility Focused Nutrition:
Nutrition is always a priority at Replete Wellness, but when it comes to preparing your body for pregnancy the foods you are are even more important than ever. A balanced nutrient-rich diet for 3 – 6 months prior to making a baby will not only help to provide you with the right building blocks for your child, it will also help to set your body up for better recovery post-pregnancy. With the right fertility-supportive nutrients you’ll be more likely to conceive, less likely to develop issues during pregnancy, and possibly even have an easier time after giving birth. If you’re thinking of conceiving (even a few years down the line), now is the time to start thinking about your diet & environment – as these are important to your fertility as well as your future baby’s health.
Acupuncture helps with fertility by stimulating the nervous system via use of tiny (practically painless) needles, which positively changes the hormonal output from the brain to the ovaries and uterus. The mechanisms of action of this ancient medicine have been explored in thousands of high-quality studies and there is a robust and ever-growing evidence base for it’s use and efficacy in fertility and pregnancy:
- A 2012 Cochrane meta-analysis (this is the gold standard of evidence-based medicine!) of 24 trials of 6,000 patients showed clinical pregnancy rates significantly higher in acupuncture treatment groups.
- Acupuncture improves microcirculation to the pelvis, increasing blood flow and energy production in the ovaries and uterus: one study showed that acupuncture improved Ovarian Blood Flow after 8 treatments. This improvement even persisted for 4 weeks after the treatments stopped.
- It’s a great treatment for infertility due to PCOS, a condition characterized by a lack of regular ovulation due to increased levels of male hormones. A 2011 study of women with PCOS demonstrated that acupuncture was able to reduce hyperandrogenism and regulate menstrual cycles after 16 weeks of treatment.
- Acupuncture & IVF/IUI: Acupuncture is associated with more live births when administered prior to IVF or IUI cycles. Researchers have found that acupuncture can increase neurotransmitter release, which in turn activates GnRH; an important releasing hormone which increases your levels of the hormones FSH & LH which are responsible for ovulation, menstrual regularity, and overall fertility.
- Acupuncture & advanced maternal age: Acupuncture is a helpful treatment in patents over age 35 because it has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and support mitochondrial health. The mitochondria are known as the ‘power house’ of your cells, since this is where your body produces energy in the form of ATP. The ovaries have one of the highest concentrations of mitochondria in your entire body since the process of ovulation is extremely energy-consuming. As we age our mitochondria becomes less effective, which is one of the main reasons why egg quality decreases in our thirties. Acupuncture also reduces free radical damage, modulates aging genes (through up-regulation of abnormally down-regulated genes and down-regulatation of abnormally up-regulated genes) and improves ovarian function in women over age 35.
Acupuncture can help make the experience of being pregnant easier, and more enjoyable. If you have more questions, or if you live in Oakville and would like to add acupuncture to your current fertility program you can book your first visit online here.
Customized Fertility Supplement Protocol
Take only the supplements you need! At Replete you’ll receive a targeted supplement protocol that is specific to your fertility needs. We get it, choosing which vitamins and supplements to take can be complicated and sometimes it’s easiest to just grab the first thing we see at Costco, or accept that prescription from your MD. The world of supplements is understandably difficult to navigate. Between the different forms of vitamins and herbs, varying degrees of manufacturing quality, doses and additives, it’s almost as if you need to be a doctor (the kind with extensive training in nutrition and supplement prescribing) to navigate it! While the right forms and doses of supplements can be an important part of your fertility and pregnancy, the wrong types of vitamins may actually be making it more difficult for you to get pregnant or may sadly even be harming your future baby. Please always seek out professional care when it comes to your fertility and pregnancy, you and your baby are too important to put your hands in fake health experts or health food store employees.
Individualized Fertility lab profile
The problem with most conventional doctors is that they’re likely to tell you that your labs came back “completely normal” even when you know something is wrong. While proper blood work is critical to diagnosing infertility issues, very few fertility clinics actually take the time to preform the proper testing required to thoroughly rule out all of the potential cause of your infertility. As the infertility challenges become more and more prevalent in our society the clinical ranges are widened, as it becomes more and more “normal” to experience struggles while trying to conceive. These ranges are often so wide, they hold progressively less value, and certainly don’t take the individual person into account. Additionally, any limited testing that is preformed is rarely explained to patients or even treated properly in most cases. At Replete we’ve seen an alarming amount of “unexplained infertility” cases where a patient’s fertility clinic has failed to run some very critical blood tests. Have you ever heard the saying “if the only tool you have is a hammer, you treat everything as if it were a nail”? This concept, unfortunately, applies to the standard model of fertility care in Canada. When you sign up to work a fertility clinic their “tool” is IUI and IVF, and their business model focuses billing you / OHIP for these expensive procedures. While fertility clinics are great at running the blood work required to make sure that you’re a candidate for IUI & IVF, 90% of the time they leave out essential tests that make a huge difference when it comes to your ability to conceive naturally.