If you've only been seeing the negative sign on the pregnancy test the past few months, it might be time to get some help. Try these alternative remedies that could boost your fertility.
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
If you’ve been trying for a baby and don’t want to resort to expensive fertility treatments just yet, there are a number of alternative therapies available. If you’re already exploring treatments like IVF, the following may be good compliments to increase its chances of success. Pick one, two or have a go at all of them – good luck!
For the uninitiated, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice, which involves placing tiny needles into the body to stimulate or correct your flow of ‘qi’ or life energy. Fear not, the needles are so fine that you barely feel them going in. What you may feel is a slight buzzing as your energy points are stimulated.
Acupuncture for fertility claims to regulate hormone function,
increase blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, and help with
polycystic ovary syndrome (a common cause of infertility). Overall,
it increases the chances of an egg successfully implanting.
In a study titled Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer, successful IVF implantation rates in women who underwent acupuncture were higher than women who did not (31 per cent and 23 per cent respectively). At 18 weeks, the ongoing pregnancy rate was also higher in the treatment group compared to the control (28 per cent vs. 18 per cent). However, the authors of the study did not consider this difference to be statistically significant as the rates could reflect other discrepancies.
That said, it could be worth a try, being far less expensive – and invasive – than conventional western methods.
Crystal Therapy or Jewellery
Some claim that crystals have natural electromagnetic fields that aid healing and draw in positive energies. Holistic therapists who work with these crystals say that having a session or two can help your body to be more receptive to conceiving a baby. While there is no scientific evidence to prove this, there’s no reason not to give it a go. If laying down while someone touches you with crystals is not your thing, wearing crystal bracelets or stones could have the same effect. Jade and Rose Quartz are said to aid fertility, while Ukanite and Moonstone are believed to harmonise and balance female hormones and cycles.
Exercise – in any form – gets the heart pumping, strengthens your immune system and releases endorphins in your body. On top of that, yoga is known to calm the immune system, balance your hormones and metabolism, and increase blood flow to your reproductive system.
Dr Alice Domar, executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health and the Director of Mind/Body Services at Boston IVF is a huge proponent of an integrative approach to fertility treatment. While yoga is not a bona fide infertility treatment, Dr Domar says that there is a link between stress and infertility, and yoga is a top stress-buster.
You can be at your ideal weight, or even overweight, and still be under-nourished. If you eat a lot of processed food, fast food or don’t often have time for wholesome homemade meals, this may be your problem. Your body simply will not allow a pregnancy to occur if it doesn't have the nutrition to sustain it.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s instrumental that you have a balanced diet of leafy vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and lots of hydration. Kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, sweet potato, coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed meats, avocado and a good variety of nuts are all very good for your body. Soya has an active ingredient called ‘soy isoflavones’ which is thought to act like oestrogen; it is believed that eating it could make your body more receptive to conception – but this is still just a theory. For men, Brazil nuts are said to be a great source of selenium, which is thought to improve the quality of sperm.
Meditation, Mindfulness and Massages
As we already know, stress can affect your menstrual and ovulation cycle. If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s a good idea to bring your stress levels down as much as possible. Massages are a great way to de-stress. However, since regular massages aren’t always sustainable, incorporating meditation and mindfulness into your life brings with it a whole host of mental, physical and spiritual benefits.
To be mindful is to focus on present-moment awareness. Regular meditative practice develops a distance between you and the torrent of emotions that create stress and anxiety. Meditative sessions also typically involve regular, deep breathing, which has proven health benefits.
If you’re not getting pregnant and medically, everything seems to be working perfectly, think about rebalancing the energy of your home or bedroom. Feng shui proponents say that infertility may be partly attributed to blocked chi energy. Regardless of whether you are a believer, changes to your living space can help you feel fresh, energised or simply create a more conducive environment for sex, romance and conception. Experts recommend calming, neutral tones for the bedroom and to get rid of floral patterns, loud designs or clashing colours. Removing all technology from the bedroom and having that be a sacred space for romance and sleep can also do wonders.