Whether you've been trying for months or years, or thinking of starting out, consider naturopathic care along the way. There are few things more natural than baby-making, so the two compliment each other perfectly.
Your assessment by your ND will include a full general health screening as you are more than just a baby-making machine. If you have a pre-diagnosed condition (endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, hypothyroidism, estrogen dominance, you-name-it), that will likely be the focus, but it's important that your partner get checked out as well just in case.
You'll be asked about all things hormonal. This includes ovarian, thyroid, and adrenal function in addition to blood sugar regulation. All of these physiological pathways connect, so it’s important that all are assessed in order to treat properly. Fertility isn’t just about estrogen and progesterone; the balance of these is affected by thyroid hormone, cortisol, insulin, glucose, and testosterone, not to mention their nutritional cofactors.
What a great segway! It’s important to get a good idea of your nutritional status before you start to try to get pregnant. Keeping a good quality whole-foods diet is step one. Pro-inflammatory foods should be removed, particularly since they can (and often will) aggravate most conditions. That's anything processed, so start cooking!
When it comes to supplementing, a good quality prenatal vitamin is a good idea to cover your bases. Essential fatty acid deficiencies can negatively impact ovarian function and coenzyme Q10 can enhance both egg and sperm quality. Other important building blocks include protein and iron. Best to ask before supplementing and find out which is the right one and the right dose for you.
What happens next:
My favourite part of naturopathic medicine is our toolbox. We have so many options for you and will tailor them to best suit your needs to help you get pregnant, support healthy fetal development, and keep a healthy mom-to-be throughout.
Diet and lifestyle modifications get a good foundation in place for fertility. Proper nutritional support and stress management can greatly improve outcomes and support the pregnancy. Minimizing exposure to xenoestrogens and endocrine disruptors found in plastics, chemicals in personal care products, and even non-organic animal products is a good idea. Keep exercising at a level you're used to unless that level is zero, in which case a nice walk is a great idea!
Acupuncture: Numerous studies support the use of acupuncture for fertility support at any stage of the process. If you’re at the stage of IUI or IVF, it can be incredibly beneficial to promote positive outcomes when done both before and after the procedures. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, acupuncture opens the channels, removes blockages, and gets the qi flowin' particularly in the uterus and ovaries.
Targeted supplements of nutrient and/or botanical combinations can improve hormonal imbalances, ovarian function, blood sugar regulation, cortisol levels, nutrient levels, and thyroid function. I use only supplements that are proven safe and supportive in early pregnancy.
This is not to say that all of these modalities will be used, again it depends on what the cause is and what is most effective in your case. Regardless, beginning with the diet and lifestyle modifications is always a good start and will help with any condition. More on specific conditions coming soon. If you have any questions on your specific diagnosis, feel free to contact me. Happy baby-making!