I had been working with this lovely patient for about 5 months before she conceived. She originally came to me after experiencing a miscarriage from which she had conceived naturally. After the miscarriage, her usually regular periods became long and irregular. She and her husband had been trying to get pregnant again for months without success. She visited her gynecologist and was told her AMH level was very low at 0.1, at this point she reached out to me to seek Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine and also made an appointment to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist to consider IVF.
At her initial appointment we discussed her medical & menstrual history and took a close look at her lifestyle & diet. We examined what factors may be contributing to her fertility issues and identified some significant stressors in her life. She had a very busy work schedule and as a result she had developed unhealthy and irregular eating habits like skipping meals and frequently eating quick unintentional meals. This lead to an overall lack of nutrition and big drops and spikes in her blood sugar, which contributed to her hormonal imbalance and negatively effected her fertility. We discussed the importance of eating regular meals and I gave her specific diet and lifestyle suggestions to optimize her fertility.
Over the next 3-4 months she took her diet and lifestyle changes to heart and put them into action. She was intentional about reducing her stress and making more time for rest. She changed her diet to include regular meals focusing on high quality proteins and lots of vegetables, and reduced her consumption of quick processed foods. She also started walking regularly. She got regular acupuncture treatments and consistently took the herbal medicine formula I had prescribed for her.
Just a of couple weeks before she was scheduled to start IVF, this beautiful momma conceived naturally!!!
The take away lesson we can learn from this case is that lab tests and measurements are merely a snapshot in time. High stress, poor diet and lifestyle will effect your fertility negatively and we can often see a poor lifestyle reflected in fertility blood work. Doctors often tell patients that there is nothing they can do to change these numbers and that their only option is synthetic hormones and harsh medications leaving the patient feeling disempowered and sometimes helpless. This is not the right message to pass on.
One of the things I love the most about being an Acupuncturist is that I get to spend so much time with my patients. I do so much more than "stick needles in people." I take a significant amount of time getting to know my patients with a two hour initial visit. Based on the information I gather from the first visit I make my diagnosis, pick my herbal formula(s), and write up a report that explains the patient's diagnosis to them in detail so that they understand how I am seeing their pattern and what they can do to bring that picture into more balance. I outline a treatment plan and give diet and lifestyle suggestions to improve overall health and optimize fertility. This approach puts the power directly in the patient's hands and gives them the tools to manage a healthy lifestyle for years to come.
Trust in your body's ability to heal. Diet and lifestyle have a major impact on your overall health and when adjusted appropriately the body can often heal itself. Proper diet and lifestyle lays the foundation for your health. You may still need some help to conceive but never think that those healthy changes you are making are not helping even if you don't see immediate results. When we add acupuncture and herbs to a healthy diet and lifestyle your treatments are more effective and last longer because they have than healthy foundation to hang on to. Your body loves being loved.
In conclusion, I want to say that there are many factors that can lead to fertility struggles and not everyone is able to conceive naturally, even when they are leading a very healthy lifestyle. I work with both women, men and couples who are trying to conceive whether naturally or in combination with IUI or IVF and I always say, "There is no wrong way to get pregnant, there is no wrong way to get the baby out, and there is no wrong way to feed your baby."
Each journey is unique and that is OKAY. The important thing is to learn to stay connected to your body's innate wisdom, your body's ability to heal, and the profound impact you can have on your own wellbeing when you have the right tools and are intentional about caring for yourself.
Sending you love & strength,
Meghan E. Berg