Self-care and Wellness
Infertility can be a difficult experience and it is important to manage the stress, anxiety and negative feelings that often accompany it. Taking care of your mind and body through self-care and wellness practices can have a positive effect, both in your day to day life and in achieving your goal of a healthy pregnancy.
Here are some self-care and wellness tips that may help.
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine and a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in which thin needles are inserted into the body.
Some studies suggest that acupuncture can positively affect fertility by improving blood flow to the reproductive organs, optimizing the production of reproductive hormones, and reducing stress and anxiety. There is also evidence that subsequent treatments can support a healthy pregnancy once a woman conceives.
Some of the common benefits of acupuncture
Reduced back and joint pain
Better mental clarity
Reduced blood pressure
Improved healing after medical procedures
While there is some evidence to suggest that acupuncture may help improve fertility and increase the chances of conception, research in this area is still limited and inconclusive. It is also important to note that acupuncture should not be considered a standalone treatment for infertility, and should be used in conjunction with other fertility treatments. If you’re considering acupuncture, please consult with your healthcare provider to determine if it’s safe and appropriate for you.
Mental well-being practices
A huge part of getting through this journey is ensuring you maintain your mental well-being. Here are some self-care practices you could consider incorporating into your daily routine:
Creating a regular meditation practice, even for 10 minutes a day, can dramatically improve clarity, levels of anxiety and reduce negative emotions.
These are positive statements that you say to yourself that may help you to reduce stress and anxiety whilst changing unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. You can create your own or find suggestions online. Here are some examples of positive affirmations for those on a fertility journey:
‘I love myself unconditionally’
‘I trust the journey I am on’
‘I accept myself as I am’
‘I am a warrior’
‘I am content in my present moment’
Can help you gain control of your thoughts and emotions and understand them more clearly, through writing. There are many types of journaling from gratitude journaling, free writing, morning thoughts journal, journal prompts and many more writing techniques to help you work through your feelings.
Taking time to notice and reflect on things you are grateful for can help you to feel more positive, enjoy experiences more, as well as improve your overall health, sleep, relationships, and resilience. Gratitude can boost serotonin and help produce dopamine which is the brain’s pleasure chemical. There are lots of ways you can practice this; you may choose to write down what you’re grateful for every morning, or just think of five things before bed each night. Choose what works for you and try it for a few weeks to see if you feel any benefits.
Nutrition can play a huge part in the overall health of you and your partner when trying to conceive. By ensuring your diet is properly balanced and supplies you with all the necessary vitamins, proteins, and minerals, you are setting yourself up for the best chance for success.
Each of us are different in our individual needs and dietary requirements. Sometimes it is important to look a little deeper into nutrition to ensure you are not lacking in anything that requires supplementation, or to see if you have any undiagnosed food intolerances. A good place to start is some basic testing with a naturopath (see below) or to consult with a nutritionist. Please note that there is a huge amount of conflicting information online regarding fertility diets and it is best to seek personalised advice on improving your diet.
The saying is true that we are what we eat and some people have overcome years of infertility after making dietary changes. Don’t underestimate the importance of what you eat.
Exercise has been proven to help improve chances of conceiving and maintaining your overall health as you prepare to become a parent. The options are endless depending on where you are in the journey and could range from yoga, cycling, walking, dancing, swimming and more.
Each of our bodies tolerate exercise in different ways so finding something that works for you is essential. Asking for guidance from your doctor if you are undergoing assisted methods of conception (IVF, IUI etc), to ensure you are doing the appropriate type of exercise is important.
Naturopathy is a form of alternative medicine that uses natural remedies and therapies to treat health conditions. Here are some ways that naturopathy may help with fertility:
Improving overall health
Naturopaths take an holistic approach, rather than just treating symptoms. They may recommend dietary changes, supplements, exercise, stress reduction techniques, and other lifestyle changes to improve your overall health and well-being, which can in turn increase the chances of conceiving.
Identifying and addressing underlying conditions
Naturopaths use a range of diagnostic tools to identify underlying health conditions that may be contributing to infertility, such as thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or endometriosis. Natural treatments or lifestyle changes are then recommended to address these conditions.
Naturopaths may suggest herbal remedies, supplements, or dietary changes to help regulate hormones and improve fertility. Depending on the individual case, they may recommend supplements such as CoQ10, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, or zinc, which have been shown to support fertility.
Your naturopaths may recommend stress reduction techniques such as acupuncture, meditation, or yoga to help manage stress and improve fertility.
It's important to note that there is limited scientific evidence to support the use of naturopathy for infertility, and it should not be used as a standalone treatment for infertility. However, naturopathy may offer some benefits as part of a comprehensive approach to infertility treatment, and can be used in conjunction with other fertility treatments. It's important to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new treatments or therapies.