There is something secret and magical and romantic about the decision to try for a baby. Then the fun of making the little creature. But getting pregnant is not just about eggs, sperm and wombs, it is also about you and your overall health and lifestyle – and your partner of course – and about making time in your mind and life for the possibility of creating something wonderful. Acupuncture takes a whole-person approach to your health. This means I look at your health and lifestyle from every angle and make little tweaks (sometimes big tweaks) here and there to help you get (or stay) in tip-top shape for conception. We all know it takes 9 months to grow a baby, but remember that the three months before conception are also critical. In those 3 months, the sperm grow from tiny stem cells to mature, vigorous, competitive swimmers capable of rushing through the cervix, womb and fallopian tubes at top speed in search of the egg. For women, it probably takes about a year for an immature follicle –the fluid filled sac, found in the ovary, that contains the egg – to develop into a dominant follicle, and in the final three months of that process things really speed up with nutrients and fluid being pumped into the follicle to help the egg mature. So, ideally, you’ll be getting in good shape with your diet, exercise, sleep, life, the universe and everything, three months before you decide to really get down to business.
In reality though, we don’t always do this. Or sometimes even know where to start. I can offer you a secure guiding hand through the journey to conception (and beyond) slotting in with your natural cycle to make sure things are working as they should and that you’re feeling ready and able – in your mind and body – for pregnancy.
A few bits of advice …
Take a good quality pre-conception vitamin and your partner too. Keep the testicles cool – this means naked (from the waist down at least) in bed, and no super-hot baths. If your partner wears a lot of lyra (or unbreathable fabrics) you might want to switch this for natural fibres that won’t heat up the groin. No laptops on the lap either – for women too.
If either of you smoke, stop straightaway. There’s lots of support out there (including with acupuncture) if you need a helping hand. Alcohol doesn’t stop you getting pregnant but it can prolong time to getting pregnant so bear this in mind. Eat plenty of veg, fruit, protein, drinks lots (and lots) of water and cut down on sugar and caffeine. Do some exercise – walking is good, especially in the countryside, yoga is good too and gets the blood flowing to your reproductive organs. Try and get enough sleep as this reduces the amount of stress hormones in your blood. Make time and space for intimacy – you’ll want to be having sex every other day from a few days after the period has ended right up to 2 or 3 days before the period is due. I see many people in clinic who are not getting pregnant because they are simply not having enough sex. My feeling is one or twice a week around the fertile period of the cycle is often just not enough.
When you come for your first appointment, we go through all of this is great detail as well as exploring your health, your lifestyle, your hopes and dreams and get you set up with a treatment plan for acupuncture.
If you’re about to embark on the most creative adventure of your life, I’d love to hear from you.