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  • 4 Ways Oriental Medicine Can Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant

    By Stephanie Marynus LAc

    Oriental Medicine (OM) is one of the oldest medicines in use today. The main goal is to restore and maintain balance in the body. This is why it is effective with fertility. OM aligns the body to give it the power to create an environment that is inviting for an embryo to fertilize, implant and develop.

    Studies have shown that OM can help improve fertility and reproductive health in several ways. It can balance the endocrine system to regulate the hormones that stimulate ovulation in women with amenorrhea (no periods) and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). OM regulates blood flow to manage endometriosis pain and thicken uterine linings that are too thin for conception. Treatments regulate menstrual cycles for women whose cycles are too long or short and give relief to premenstrual symptoms. Mental and physical stress are known to negatively affect fertility. OM can reduce stress and its associated symptoms such as headaches, neck pain, insomnia, and so on.

    How are these improvements accomplished with OM?

    1. Acupuncture

    It is advisable to begin acupuncture with a licensed practitioner three months before attempting to get pregnant. We can use these three months to ensure your hormones are functioning properly and find when you’re ovulating so you can accurately time intercourse. In my practice, I see women once weekly until she gets a positive pregnancy test and continue once per week for the first trimester to reduce the risk of miscarriage. Acupuncture can support trying to conceive naturally, women going through IUI cycles, and during IVF cycles.  And the amazing thing is you don’t have to wait for a certain time in your cycle to get started and it is great for men’s health as well!

    1. Herbal Therapy

    Herbal formulas are a specific combination of plant and mineral compounds. When combined the formula produces similar effects as acupuncture. This is something an OM practitioner would prescribe for you to do at home. It comes in the form of a pill or a tea. In doing this, the herbs will enhance the effects of the acupuncture so you respond quicker. 

    1. Warm Your Belly

    The lower abdomen stores the energy battery or “fire” in OM. Some cases of infertility can be from “cold” in the uterus. Gently warming your abdomen during the time after your period until ovulation could help. In my office we use “moxibustion” to accomplish this. It is made from Mugwort whose properties allow it to penetrate deeper and move blood more effectively in the lower abdomen as opposed to conventional heat methods such as a heating pad. You can also try Fertility Enhancing Massage as an add-on to your acupuncture treatment!

    1. OM Diet

    Certain foods help nourish the body during the different phases of your menstrual cycle.

    Foods that nourish from menstruation until ovulation include fruits like raspberries, pineapples and grapes; vegetables like asparagus and beans; adequate proteins, especially fish; and organ meats such as kidneys, brains and hearts. Also, avoid spicy, pungent foods. 

    Foods that nourish after ovulation until the start of menstruation include warming foods like ginger, ginger tea, beans; grains, and vegetables like mustard greens, winter squash, cabbage and kale. Avoid cold foods and drinks like ice water or ice cream. Talk to your acupuncturist about this during your consultation.  You may also benefit from further exploring nutritional and supplementation supports with a registered dietitian on the team as well.

    Stephanie Marynus supports patients at our Chicago office on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7:30am-3:30pm and virtually via TeleTCM on Thursdays from 7:30am-12:15pm. She would love to support your journey!  Learn more by calling our center at: 312-321-0004 Monday through Saturday!

    Stephanie is a licensed Acupuncturist and board certified Chinese Herbalist. Driven by the energetics of natural healing, she graduated with a Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from National University of Health Sciences. As a practitioner, her focus is with fertility, gynecological conditions, and psycho-emotional concerns. Stephanie takes into account the mind, body, and spirit to address her patient as a whole and refine their concern to the underlying cause. She creates personalized treatments that include a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, manual therapy, and lifestyle modifications. In addition to her primary job functions, Stephanie has been recognized by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for her extraordinary commitment to providing preventative, complementary, and alternative medical care. When not with her patients you can find Stephanie shooting imaginary Spiderman webs with her two nephews, cheering for the Cubs, or onto her next neighborhood exercise adventure.