Fertility Acupuncture Preparation Checklist.


This checklist is designed to give you ideas about where to begin understanding what your Fertility is like as a couple. You may need a team of professionals to support you including medical practitioners and adjunct therapy practitioners. I do support clients with Fertility Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, whether they're trying to conceive naturally or with assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF and IUI. 

Build your foundation of knowledge with your data.

  • Read 'Making Babies' by Jill Blakeway & Sami David to educate yourself about what might be going on for you and your partner physiologically. It's written by an IVF doctor and Acupuncturist in the USA. This is my recommended guide for starting a fertility acupuncture journey for clients with or without IVF's help.
  • Chart your basal body temperature (BBT). This can give an experienced Acupuncturist or Herbalist more detailed information about hormone changes during your cycle.
  • Get to know the patterns of your Cervical Mucus
  • Track your period cycle on a smart phone app, noting all symptoms and signs that occur throughout the cycle including irritability, bloating, fluid retention or tiredness.
  • Test your Ovulation at home: Are you ovulating? And WHEN? Take an Ovulation test (Ovulation Predictor Kit- urine sample or Saliva microscope) from day 10 onwards to get specific about when and if you’re ovulating.
  • Observe your bleed: Your period flow is evidence of what is going on with your hormones. Is your period flow clotty, heavy, light or pale in colour?

 

Medical advice and guidance

  • Consult with your GP and ask for a full hormone profile to check Oestrogen on day 3 and Progesterone on Day 21. It's routine for them to also check your thyroid (TSH), Iron (Fe), Prolactin if you're doing too much exercise/ too lean (PRL) and other factors relating to fertility.
  • Get your partner's sperm tested. Ask your GP for a referral for a Sperm Test if it hasn’t been screened before.
  • Ask your GP about a referral to Fertility specialist if you have been trying to conceive for at least 12 months without success. Do your research and find out who has a quality and positive reputation.
  • It takes Two to Tango. Get your partner’s commitment to any vital Fertility Specialist appointments. You're in this together and need to be on the same page about what's happening.
  • AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) levels tested through a Fertility Specialist.
  • NK cell tested through an immunologist specialising in fertility or look into the Bondi Protocol.
  • Get tested for MTHFR if you’ve had recurrent miscarriages previously.

 

Another level of support: Fertility Acupuncture

  • Book appointments for fertility acupuncture around the key times in your cycle. Learn more about this here.
  • Get on top of your period pain & PMS - an experienced practitioner in Fertility Acupuncture can help with pain management and cycle regulation.
  • Chinese Herbal support: Find an experienced Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioner to help regulate and optimise your cycle.

 

Lifestyle Changes: Help optimise hormones, manage stress

Brain and Nervous System:

  • Tired and Wired: Getting restful and restorative sleep is crucial to hormone optimisation. If you or your partner are experiencing burnout, start building small habits with your night routine to promote good sleep. Start by going to bed just 30 min earlier, no screen use after 7pm. Small steps like this build good sleep hygiene and more importantly, all of the body's recovery and repair processes including the brain happen at night.
  • Practice calming your mind with a little bit of time each day using meditations on apps such as Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer.
  • Take the TIME to STOP: Do you have a dedicated time in your day or week where you're undisturbed and able to REST and refuel? Or even a power nap? 5 min meditation?Creating healthy habits and starting small with 5 min a day of meditation is easier than you think!
  • Try out Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). “The Tapping Solution” is a resource for managing stress, overwhelm and anxiety quickly. This may come in handy of you're at work or in the car, trying to deal with stress on a frequent basis.

Mental & Emotional health:

  • Debrief with a private Psychologist or Counsellor. "A problem shared, is a problem halved." Its important and also HEALTHY to voice your concerns and get things off your chest.  Speaking to a professional (as an individual OR as a couple) can help you process any stress, worry, burnout, depression or anxious feelings you're experiencing while trying to conceive.
  • Ask for help. There's some good public accessible resources online at Beyond Blue  and their anonymous hotlines give people who find asking for help difficult and avenue to ask for support.

Physical Exercise:

  • Exercise or move when you can: Move your limbs and you move your qi. Exercise is the most fundamental way to optimise your hormones; whether you're trying to manage PMS symptoms, shorten a long period cycle, release stress and give the body an outlet to rebalance Cortisol and Adrenaline in your body. Try to get up from the desk and even better take a walk outside during lunch breaks!
  • Yoga - big tick! Breathing practice and movement an unbeatable combination.
  • Try Tai Chi or Qi Gong to build your Qi up, so it is strong. These martial arts based practices work on the breath and building up your physical strength, energy levels, Kidney Jing and stamina.
  • Help your PMS: Exercise especially during the 2nd half of your cycle to try to minimise or moderate any PMS symptoms. Exercise is beneficial during your PMS phase where Qi tends to stagnate with Progesterone peaking - move your limbs and you move your Qi.

 

Nourish your body: Diet and Food

  • Make your own bone broth with a recipe like this
  • More Bone broth: or if you're time poor, grab some Best of the Bone (here) or another quality bone broth concentrate.
  • Try incorporating fermented food into your week to minimise sugar cravings, readjust gut flora and support the Gut Micrbiome. One of the 4 K’s: Kraut, Kefir, Kombucha and Kimchi.
  • Overcome your Sweet Tooth. Avoid excess sugar as this has a pro-inflammatory effect on the body.
  • Chinese Dietary Therapy: Keep your Spleen Qi strong. There are some basic Chinese Dietary principles around eating to support the Spleen Qi. Check out the Spleen Friendly Foods guide here.
  • Cold is out, warm is in. Another Chinese Dietary Therapy tip is to avoid physically cold or raw foods (including iced water, carrot and celery sticks, frozen and salads straight out of the fridge!) to conserve essential parts of healthy fertility, your Spleen and Kidney Yang Qi. Try light cooking processes to keep the crunch on your plate: Steaming, blanching, air frying.

 

Taking Supplements for Fertility

  • One size doesn’t fit all. See a Nutritionist for a custom prescription of supplements for male and female fertility, rather than just taking a general Pregnancy / Male Multivitamin.
  • Zinc for sperm health
  • Take your EPA/DHA’s - good for keeping inflammation low.
  • Heal your gut, especially if there's a lot of inflammation in your body. This may show up as a gut reactive to certain foods, muscular or joint pains, allergies to name a few. Take a good quality Probiotic to start reasserting balance in the digestive tract.

 

Fertility Acupuncture: Establishing Connection as a couple

  •  Importance of Heart & Kidney: There's no hiding that the natural conception and IVF process can be a stressful and pressurised experience for couples. The stress and disappointment of multiple "failed" or "unsuccessful" IVF cycles can really test the strength of a relationship, finances and make people question where their limit is emotionally. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Heart (Spirit) and Kidney (Essence) are key components of fertility because the hurt, emotional pain and heartbreak from trying to conceive must be acknowledged. The Heart must be open and hopeful to keep a connection and communication with the Kidney (Fertility potential) to continue through such challenges.
  • Affectionate Touch for hormones: Touch stimulates endorphines and hormone release. In TCM, we have our own language around this phenomenon; 'Opening up your Heart energy'. Stimulating the emotional centres of your brain can influence hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin.
  • Sex: Don't do it everyday. Don't let it get to feeling like a chore. This closes the Heart Qi.
  • Start from the ground up: Try foot massages with your partner. The reflexology zones in the feet can help energise you if you’re tired or relax you if you’re wired. Another reason to do this is important acupressure points in the foot for activating Kidney energy, and it gets you practising self care which is so important.

If you have questions, or are considering Traditional Chinese Medicine as part of your Fertility plans, you can make contact with my clinic here. I am happy to have discussions with couples to hear your story, what you have tried so far and how I may be able to assist you with Fertility Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine as an addition to your support team.

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