Trying to conceive is an incredibly exciting time in a person's life. It can also be stressful, emotional, and frustrating. If you have been trying to conceive, you have likely learned so much about your body and fertility. It is fascinating that your basal body temperature and cervical mucus change based on the menstrual cycle. It is amazing how much we can learn about our fertility with investigative technologies like semen analysis, blood work, and diagnostic imaging.
If you are looking for support in your TTC journey acupuncture might be the boost you are looking for. Ideally, acupuncture treatments should start three months before you start trying for both the person trying to become pregnant and their partner. Acupuncture should ideally continue until the couple is successful, but it can be used at any time while trying to conceive.
Female fertility is a complex topic and there are many causes of female infertility including anovulation, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, diminished ovarian reserve, obstructed fallopian tubes, hormonal imbalances, genetic infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and many more.
Female infertility accounts for roughly 40% of all infertility diagnosis. This cute little egg is getting some acupuncture to improve egg quality, support a healthy uterus, and support fertility with two of my favourite acupuncture points for fertility. The two acupuncture points are aptly named Conception Vessel Four and Conception Vessel Six.
Male factor infertility makes up roughly 40% of infertility diagnoses. There are four important things to think about when talking about male fertility with your healthcare team.
Motility: How far are the sperm swimming in a straight line?
Morphology: How many of them have one head, one tail, and appear normal?
Count: The number of sperm in a sample. This number will vary (sometimes dramatically) from week to week.
Volume: The sample size, usually in milliliters (ml).
Many factors affect male fertility including stress, sleep, weight, previous surgeries, hormone levels, medications, diabetes, genetics, blood pressure, heart disease, age, drug use, and varicocele. Just as there are many things that cause male infertility or sub fertility, there are many things to be done about it. Eating a healthy balanced diet, getting 7-9 hours of sleep, managing any health conditions, and staying active are all helpful. Acupuncture can further support male health and fertility.
There are several times when you should see your doctor during your fertility journey.
First, before trying to become pregnant both partners should visit their doctor for a preconception check-up. This appointment can usually be done at the same time as your annual physical.
Then, the recommendations change based on your age. If you are under 35 years old and you have been trying to convince for more than a year you should go back to your doctor. If you are over 35 years old you should go back to your doctor after trying for six months.
When you have a positive pregnancy test you should have your pregnancy confirmed by your doctor.
This is not an exhaustive list, if you think you should visit your doctor, please call them or call Health Link at 811 in Alberta to speak to a nurse.
Body basal temperature (BBT) charting is a way to keep track of where you are in your menstrual cycle, predict your ovulation, and can indicate early pregnancy.
Take your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed with an accurate thermometer to one decimal place (e.g, 36.4). BBT is most accurate before you get out of bed and after you have slept for at least five uninterrupted hours.
Follicular phase: Cycle day 1-13, this is the lowest temperature in your cycle and it should be fairly similar from day to day.
Ovulation: Cycle day 13-15, this is when your temperature changes the most. Often, there is a slight dip and then your temperature rises 0.3 to 0.9 degrees. Your fertile window is the 3-5 days before your temperature rises, once your temperature rises that is the last day of your fertile window.
Luteal phase: Cycle day 15-28, this is the highest your temperature will be during the month and it should be fairly similar from day to day until your period is due. In the 3-5 days leading up to your period, you can expect your temperature to start dropping. If you are pregnant, your temperature will remain elevated.
When your BBT doesn't follow the anticipated pattern there is usually a reason. At Accessible Acupuncture, Melanie can review your BBT and discuss what different patterns mean. Common issues with BBT include an unstable follicular phase or luteal phase, a slow rise in temperature after ovulation, too short of a follicular or luteal phase, or no change in temperature in the middle of the cycle. Acupuncture is helpful for correcting BBT and improving overall fertility.
Everyone with a cervix naturally produces cervical mucus, it is part of the self-cleaning done by the reproductive tract. It also acts as a protector, moisturizer, and lubricant.
Not all cervical mucus is the same, as there are four types produced at different times of the menstrual cycle. G type is like a thick paste, L type is sticky or wet, S type is slippery and smooth, and P type is lubricating.
During the menstrual cycle, the body knows which to produce and when. About six days before ovulation and to prepare for the fertile window, the cervix produces more P type mucus to prepare for ovulation. This usually looks like clear stretchy egg white cervical mucus. After ovulation, the cervix produces more G type, which is creamy and less stretchy.
When keeping track of your cervical mucus, most people track if it is dry, stretchy, or creamy. Dry mucus is usually present a few days before, during, and a few days after menstruation. Stretchy mucus is usually present leading up to and during your fertile window. Creamy mucus is present after ovulation.
Everyone who is trying to conceive is welcome at Accessible Acupuncture.
Acupuncture for both partners during IVF, IUI, IVI, and FET increase the rates of positive pregnancy tests and live births.
Acupuncture supports fertility and artificial reproductive technologies by improving blood flow, increasing egg quality, regulating the menstrual cycle, and reducing stress.