Doing the groundwork to bring your body and mind to optimal health and fertility is very important.
Pre Conception focus includes:
Regulating the menstrual cycle: The menstrual cycle is a reflection of how well your body is functioning, and can give an insight into internal imbalances. An “ideal” menstrual cycle is 28 days (between 26 and 30 days is still considered to be normal) with a regular ovulation occurring mid cycle. Menstrual blood should be a fresh red colour starting with a moderate flow then progressing to heavier for a couple days before tapering off and stopping. There should be no symptoms of mood changes, breast tenderness, headaches, fatigue, bloating, pain/cramping, excessive bleeding, and clots. A smooth and increased blood flow to the uterus, nourishing blood and increase in the thickness of the uterine lining will create optimal conditions for embryo implantation into the uterine wall
A regular healthy menstrual cycle indicates good hormonal balance and ovary function. Chinese Medicine aims to correct internal imbalances and encourage the body to heal and regulate itself.
Improving ovarian function and egg quality: Good egg quality is of vital importance in making a viable embryo. If the ovaries are not functioning well due to various factors such as age, low AMH, High FSH, PCOS, and endometriosis etc. the chances of conceiving are reduced. Although the number of eggs a person has cannot be increased, the quality of the eggs remaining can be influenced.
Improving uterine lining: Optimal conditions are required for embryo implantation into the uterine wall. Nourishing the blood and thickening the lining can make a huge difference to fertility.
Improving sperm health: Increasing numbers of men are discovering that they have issues with the health of their sperm such as low sperm count, poor motility or abnormal morphology, DNA fragmentation and oxidative stress. Lifestyle factors can play a big part in the health of sperm, so by making a few changes you can greatly influence your fertility.
Correcting hormonal imbalances: A regular menstrual cycle and good ovarian function is important when trying to conceive. Ensuring that hormones are balanced and functioning well plays a very important role in this. Imbalances such as high FSH or low progesterone levels may be causing infertility. In cases with PCOS where there may be elevated levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone, the hormone levels need to be lower to increase frequency of ovulation and produce better quality eggs.
Addressing any underlying conditions impacting fertility: Various conditions such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, Polyps and Cysts can affect fertility by causing issues such as irregular menstruation, decreased ovarian function & egg quality, damage to uterine lining and blockage preventing implantation.
Stress, Fatigue, Insomnia, Weight issues: These factors all have a negative impact on fertility and must be addressed.. Decreasing stress levels, increasing energy, getting a better night’s sleep and losing a few kilos can make a huge difference in the body’s ability to conceive.
What you can do:
There is a lot you can do to influence the development of your eggs and help improve your chances of conception!
Diet: Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and protein. Avoid chemicals and processed foods. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
Supplements: Folic Acid, Vitamins B, C, D, CoQ10, Iron, Iodide, Zinc, & Fish Oils may be beneficial for you.
Weight: If you are overweight or underweight this could be affecting your fertility. Exercise and a balanced diet can help improve your metabolism. If you are underweight increased calories and diet modification can help.
Exercise: Regular exercise will be beneficial on many levels such as energy, sleep, stress, mood and weight. High intensity exercise and overdoing it will place excessive strain on the body and reduce fertility
Sleep: The benefits of getting a good night’s sleep are enormous. Ideally 8-9 hours per night is recommended. Poor sleep or not enough sleep can have adverse effects on hormone regulation, metabolism, weight, stress, energy levels and so on.
Stress/Emotion: Decreasing stress levels, anxiety and depression will help balance hormones, regulate ovulation and improve fertility.
Smoking: Stop now! Smoking reduces fertility and live birth rates.
Toxins and chemicals: Reduce exposure to things such as paint, pesticides, cleaning products etc. as they can affect fertility
More detailed advice can be given according to your individual constitution.