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  • Pre and Post Embryo Transfer Acupuncture Q & A with Karisa Grudi, L.Ac., MSTOM

    Karisa Grudi, L.Ac., MSTOM, discusses a little bit about the German Protocol, our procedure for pre and post transfer acupuncture, and why it is recommended for women who are having embryo transfers:

    Q. Karisa, can you give us an idea of what the German Protocol is?

    A. The German Protocol is a series of two acupuncture treatments that are performed on the day of IVF transfer. The treatments are scheduled before and after the embryo transfer on the same day. The German Protocol is based off of a study that was performed in Germany in 2002. In the study of 160 participants, one group received IVF transfer only while the second group received IVF transfer with two acupuncture treatments (before and after transfer). The pregnancy results showed 42% in the acupuncture group compared with 26% in the control group.

    Q. How might this particular type of acupuncture help increase a couple’s chances of conceiving?

    A. In the German study, a select number of acupuncture points were used to help with the efficacy of pregnancy. Those same points from the study are used in the clinic. Certain points on the leg are believed to have a direct connection to the uterus and ovaries. In Chinese Medicine it is believed that those points help to bring blood flow locally to the uterus to help lessen contractions associated with the actual implantation of the embryo. Points are also selected to decrease stress and help relax the body and mind. In addition, points are selected on the ear to further help with relaxation, uterine blood flow and endocrine functioning.

    Q. Is it helpful for all types of cycles in which an embryo transfer is taking place?

    A. Yes, we believe it is helpful for all IVF cycles, including those with donor egg and/or donor sperm. Again, the focus is the same on the day of IVF transfer – to bring blood flow locally to the uterus, to help relax the body and mind, and to help with endocrine functioning.

    At Pulling Down the Moon, Karisa and our other licensed acupuncturists strive to provide everyone with individualized care whatever their circumstances may be. The German Protocol is just one of the many ways acupuncture can help you on your journey. We encourage you to contact one of our centers to find out more about booking your pre and post transfer acupuncture treatment today!

  • Motherhood as Motivation: Helping Patients with a High BMI Reach a Healthy Pre-Conception Weight

    by Beth Heller MS, RYT

     Until recent years, physicians worried about women not losing “baby weight,” and creeping up the Body Mass Index (BMI) with successive pregnancies.  Times have changed, though, and more women are entering childbearing years significantly overweight.  In fact, the issue of weight may be the single most important health issue facing U.S. women of childbearing age.   Besides the well-known health consequences of excess weight, overweight and obese women take a longer time to get pregnant.  Once pregnant these women have a greater number of adverse pregnancy outcomes including miscarriage and stillbirth.  Perhaps most troubling is the potential impact maternal weight could have on the health of future generations.  Children of moms with a BMI>30 may have been shown to have a higher risk of serious health conditions including obesity, asthma, Type 2 Diabetes and even autism.

    First Line Therapy for Fertility (FLTF) is a new pre-conception weight loss program that uses a woman’s desire for a healthy pregnancy to motivate overweight women to attain a healthy weight for fertility and subsequent pregnancy.  The program, which teaches women a fertility-friendly Mediterranean-style diet, includes a one-on-one consultation with a Registered Dietitian.  Seven group follow-up sessions reinforce and teach lifestyle behaviors like stress reduction, grocery shopping and healthy exercise in preparation for pregnancy.  Weight loss on the FLTF program is designed to occur safely and is tracked using Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) body composition measures to ensure lean mass is preserved.

    Experts believe the adverse metabolic conditions associated with excess body weight (poor glycemic control, excess inflammation and disrupted hormone balance) are the root cause of the poor pregnancy and birth outcomes.  Unlike other diet programs, which focus primarily on calories and promote processed “diet foods,” FLTF emphasizes nourishing low-glycemic meals, increased intake of vegetables, fruits and healthy fats and the limiting of overly processed meals.

    In my work with fertility and pregnancy patients, I find many women caught in a dieting roller coaster: weeks on extreme diet plans that bring short-term success followed by failure and weight re-gain as the new regimen becomes impossible to sustain.  Furthermore, these women are often distressed and distracted by other concerns, such as the all-too-common fertility problems that accompany excess weight.   Many have a history of pregnancy loss and miscarriage.  FLTF group sessions, and the common goal of motherhood, provide a peer support network for emotional support and improved compliance.

    The cost of First Line Therapy for Fertility is just $210 and includes a one-on-one consult with a Registered Dietitian and seven RD led follow up sessions.  The program can also be done one-on-one or as a couple in two private sessions.  More information is available at 312-321-0004 or


    Gesink Law et al. Obesity and time to pregnancy. Human Reproduction (2007), 22 (2):pp. 414-420, 2007

    Aviram et al. Maternal obesity:  implications for pregnancy outcome and long-term risks-a link.  International Journal Gynaecology & Obstetrics (2011), 115:S6-10.

    Krakowiak et al. Maternal metabolic conditions and risk for autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.  Pediatrics (2012) April 9 epub.

    Mann et al.  Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments:  diets are not the answer. American Psychologist (2007), 62: pp 220 -233.

    Lowe et al. Weight-loss maintenance 1, 2 and 5 years after successful completion of a weight-loss programme.  British Journal of Nutrition (2008), 99: pp 925-930.

    Vujkovich et al. The preconception Mediterranean dietary pattern in couples undergoing in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment increases the chance of pregnancy.  Fertility & Sterility (2010), 94: pp 2096-101.








  • Yoga for Fertility Relieves Anxiety – Research Video

  • Anna’s News: Chinese Medicine and Yeast Infections

    by Anna Pyne LAc, MSOM, FABORM

    Normal vaginal discharge is a slight discharge that increases in volume as well as viscosity from the end of your period up to ovulation.  Pathological vaginal discharge is excessive discharge that may have an odor, causes itching or burning, and the vaginal pH will be abnormal (ie greater than 5).  This is what western medicine defines as a yeast infection.  According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) yeast infections originate from one of the following or a combination of emotional stress, irregular eating habits, poor diet, excessive physical activity, and overwork.

    Emotional stress can cause the qi (or energy) in the body to stagnate, and after some time if it is not treated, this stagnant qi can turn into heat.   The heat that has been generated can then damage the Chinese medical organ that is responsible for the genitalia, creating vaginal itching.  Poor or irregular diet can also lead to yeast infections.  By ingesting an excessive amount of dairy or of greasy foods may lead to what we call in TCM as “dampness”.  Itching can also be caused by this dampness.  If there is a combination of emotional stress with irregular eating habits the vaginal itching will be quite intense.  Excessive physical activity and overwork both deplete the body of its qi.  When the body is not functioning optimally we are more susceptible to contracting disease in general, yeast infections are only one example.  Knowing our own definition of what exerting too much qi is is an art, and then it is our responsibility to follow that intuition.

    In TCM there are many acupuncture points, as well as herbal formulas to take both internally and externally (as a sits bath) to help treat yeast infections.  Please feel free to contact us for more information on treatment and prevention of yeast infections according to TCM.  To schedule an appointment please call our office or book online!