Hi-tech answers are not for everyone. There are alternatives, though, that many people have found helpful. These alternatives tend to focus on balancing things within you and are more aligned with Eastern philosophy than Western medical science. If you are open to new ways of thinking, these alternatives may benefit you.
In case you are not familiar with acupuncture, it is a process whereby a trained professional inserts needles into certain pressure points along your body. Many people seek relief from a variety of problems through acupuncture and find it to be very helpful. But how will it help you get pregnant? Well, because acupuncture can help to regulate your system and get things working again, the production of your hormones should normalize. Also, your blood should be flowing better, especially to your reproductive organs, which can help improve the health and function of your ovaries and uterus. The jury is still out here in the West as to how effective acupuncture is in helping fertility. However, as long as you go to a trained acupuncturist, all agree that there is no harm in trying.
Eastern medicine has been using herbs for centuries. Western medicine is very skeptical about the healing power of herbs. The East has used herbs to help with fertility for thousands of year. The West is still not convinced and even worries that they may be damaging to your health. However, there have been no studies done in the West to test the effectiveness (or dangers) of herbs. A study done in China revealed that over half of women with infertility problems taking herbal supplements were successful in getting pregnant. If you would like to try herbs, make sure you talk with someone who has some knowledge about herbs. Like vitamins, different herbs are good for different things.
Change Your Diet
The theory behind this is that different foods affect you in different ways, with some foods being good for you while others are bad. This really isn’t much different from Western doctors’ advice to watch your diet and cut out certain things if you’re trying to conceive. Some dietary suggestions: decrease or cut out processed foods and increase your consumption of organic foods. Some foods are high in certain vitamins, which can help you out (yams are good for female reproductive hormones while your partner can increase his sperm quality by eating foods that have a high zinc content). Fish has also been shown to be very good for your baby in the womb, so why not get a head start and increase your intake of fish before you get pregnant. Choose fish that are free from hormones and have low mercury levels.
Take Care of Your Mind and Body
Experiencing problems conceiving can cause a lot of stress and nobody needs more stress in their life. While there has been no direct link made between high stress levels and infertility problems, it doesn’t hurt to take care of yourself when you are trying to get pregnant. Yoga and meditation are a good way to help you relax and better manage your stress. It has also been found that women going through IVF have a better rate of success when they have a positive attitude and lower stress levels. There are many retreats offered to women and couples with fertility problems that specifically look to take care of your mind and body. These retreats aim to reduce stress levels, give participants a more positive outlook and increase a sense of control over one’s life. Plus, they help put people in touch with other people who are experiencing the same problem. If you’re still not convinced, then consider this: about 20 studies have been done that looked at fertility rates among people who have attended these types of weekend retreats. Most of the studies found that more than half of the participants were pregnant within a year of having attended the retreat compared to a very low percentage in the control group.
Take Home Advice
So remember, if you are having fertility problems, you do have options. They range from making some lifestyle changes as described above, trying some natural choices, taking medical supplements or undergoing high-tech options. Discuss them all with your health care provider to decide which work best for you.
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD