Traditional East Asian Medicine focuses on the health and well-being of a woman as a means of ensuring a healthy pregnancy and child. While our culture tends to approach pregnancy preparation from a financial standpoint, we have much to learn from traditional cultures about preparing the body for pregnancy. The health of a pregnancy starts many months, ideally at least a year, before conception. This is a time to focus on nourishing foods, balanced hormones, and adequate pelvic flexibility and flow. Most of us hold a lot of tension in our pelvis impacting local blood and lymphatic circulation. This impacts fertility as well as a smooth delivery at the conclusion of a pregnancy. Maya Abdominal Therapy and acupuncture can be very beneficial for improving pelvic flow in preparation for pregnancy, while weekly acupuncture, chiropractic care, and massage starting at week 37 can be critical in supporting a smooth delivery. Acupuncture can offer gentle support throughout the duration of a pregnancy to mitigate common discomforts such as nausea, heartburn, low back pain, and sciatica. In pregnancy it is best to approach acupuncture as ongoing supportive and preventive care. For instance, it is rare that a woman who comes in for acupuncture for the first time ever is able to find relief from nausea in her first appointment. Instead, I have found that women who follow my nutritional suggestions and regularly receive acupuncture in preparation and throughout their pregnancy have minimal issues with nausea. Read about herbal teas to support fertility, pregnancy, postpartum, and nursing.
I combine both my experience with Acupuncture, Traditional East Asian Herbal formulas, and my training in the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy. The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy are non-needle techniques which focus on healthy lymphatic and blood flow as well as structural alignment of the pelvic cavity. This encourages the optimal flow of nutrients to the cells of reproductive tissue. I apply my knowledge of Traditional East Asian Medicine to these techniques and combine them with Tuina, a type of bodywork that involves rocking to loosen blockages, as well as acupressure and manual manipulation of the meridians. For those who are needle sensitive, this technique alone with regularity can make dramatic impacts on a woman’s cycle and fertility. Please contact me to set up your Arvigo Abdominal Therapy Session if that sounds right for you.
The Trying to Get Pregnant Checklist
- This is not medical advice and is for educational purposes only. Amanda Wellman may receive compensation for purchases made through the following links.
- Start going through this list 4-8 months before beginning IUI/IVF. Both sperm and eggs take multiple months to reach full maturity. You want to be in optimal health during their entire maturation cycle to reduce the likelihood of defects. You also want to give yourself a few months to correct any imbalances in your body. There are a number of nutritional supplements that can be taken to help correct imbalances, as long as you give yourself three months or more. Often reproductive health clinics do not want you taking these while doing IVF or IUI. The healthier you and your partner are going into these procedures, the better the outcome. I have had clients conceive naturally after failed IVF following these suggestions. I would have both partners do as many of these things as possible. Markers for what is considered “normal or acceptable” sperm are deplorably low in my opinion for someone who is about to drop $1,000’s for IVF/IUI.
- Make sure your pelvic bowl has optimal blood, lymph, and qi flow. You have probably been spending most of your days sitting since you were 5 years old. This can contribute to unhealthy tension and congestion in the pelvic bowl. Blood, lymphatic, and qi flow influence the health of your reproductive organs. Start incorporating regular stretching, yoga, Maya abdominal therapy, massage and acupuncture to make sure this part of your body is open and flowing well.
- Make sure you are getting adequate nutrients. Modern agricultural practices mean our food is not as nutrient dense as it once was. Many traditional cultures focus on giving women the most nutrient dense food in preparation for pregnancy, which are often animal based foods. My favorite Fertility Supporting nutrient dense supplements include Bee Propolis, Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, Freeze dried Oyster, and Desiccated Beef Organs.
- Have you looked into and addressed underlying health issues? Naturopathic Doctors can be very helpful with this. If that’s out of budget Balanced Health (discount codes: pauselisten for test, pauselisten5 for remedy) does bioenergetic testing for latent pathogens, hormonal imbalances and remedies.
- Detox. There are a number of environmental toxins we are exposed to from our drinking water, plastic containers, building materials, clothing, phones, cleaning and beauty products. These toxins can influence our overall health as well as our reproductive system. Switch to clean products such as Beauty Counter, Branch Basics, and Briotech, get an air purifier like Airdoctor, and a good water filter like Aquatru. A castor oil pack can be great liver support while going through a detox phase. You do not want to detox while pregnant, so it is vital to address things like heavy metals and latent pathogenic infections before you are pregnant.
- Stress. There can be a lot of stress and frustration with trying to conceive. It also tends to kill the mood and mess with hormones. Magnesium oil can be sprayed on the skin in the evening to soothe, or you can take a foot/whole bath with magnesium flakes. This can be very beneficial for relieving tension and supporting healthy sleep.
For those who are ready to try (or even Love!) Acupuncture:
There is extensive literature both historically and present day discussing the benefits of acupuncture in preparing a woman for pregnancy, supporting healthy hormone levels in the critical first 8 weeks of pregnancy, relieving discomforts such as morning sickness and low back pain, preparing a woman and her body for labor, and the often overlooked post-natal period. One contributing factor to the effectiveness of this medicine is that it is not only looking at the physical body, but also sees the relationship to and impact of the emotional, spiritual, and community in all aspects of a healthy pregnancy and 4th trimester.
Things to consider when trying to get pregnant:
If there is precedence of challenges, it takes approximately 90 days to significantly shift the physiology of a person. This has to do with the lifespan of cells. Be prepared to set aside three months of not trying to conceive. I have seen the best results when clients really commit to 3 months of focusing on their reproductive and overall health and allow themselves that break from actively trying to become conceive and the anxiety of early pregnancy for those who have experienced miscarriages.
If you will be going through IUI or IVF it is beneficial to start receiving acupuncture weeks before the procedure as people can be nervous their first time, somewhat countering its ability to induce relaxation. Again, a minimum of 3-4 months of acupuncture & Maya abdominal therapy before IVF is ideal. It’s also beneficial for your therapist to know what your ‘normal’ is before you start this life-altering path.
While Arvigo Therapy is very focused on the health of the pelvic region, Acupuncture and Traditional East Asian Herbal Formulas can address whole body imbalances that impact fertility. By combining both modalities, we are able to get quicker results with fewer sessions.
Expect to sign up for a minimum of 3 sessions. It is very common for it to take a minimum of three months to regulate the menstrual cycle and increase egg quality. Some of my favorite books for learning more about supporting fertility are It Starts With the Egg, Brighton Baby, and Real Food for Pregnancy.