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  • Our Journey To Parenthood

    by Jillian Delsignore

    Eric and I always knew we wanted children, always wanted a family.  We talked about it from the time we first started dating in 2016.  Going back even years earlier, I had girlfriends encouraging me to freeze my eggs but I never went through with it.  It was a combination of fear (can’t handle needles!), uncertainty of the future, my travel schedule (always an excuse!), you name it, I used it as a reason not to do it.  When Eric and I met, some of those excuses and fears were alleviated as I could suddenly see the future.  The picture of our family became clear.

    We had our first joint meeting with Dr Rapisarda at FCI in the summer of 2017.  We thought we were there to discuss freezing eggs but he said that given we were there embarking on this together, it was best that we freeze embryos.  And so began our journey to Elliott James.

    We did our first IVF cycle in November 2017.  The shots, the ultrasounds, the blood tests… it was almost surreal to experience that first time.  Your world suddenly revolves around daily injections, follicles and hormone levels.   I remember our first trigger night like it was yesterday.  We always seemed to trigger on Saturday nights! We got one embryo. One embryo from eight eggs.  It became clear we needed to continue with more cycles given the odds of success.  Those cycles followed in January and November 2018 resulting in two more embryos, both from the last cycle.

    We were never able to do a fresh transfer because of my lining. It never wanted to cooperate even when I was being pumped with hormones.  We tried our first frozen transfer in April 2019.  The process was supposed to take 30 days – mine, it took 3 months and even then my lining was barely viable for a transfer.  We were still hopeful but the pregnancy didn’t take. We tried another transfer cycle right away but we had to cancel it because my body just wasn’t responding.  It was becoming clear that me carrying our child was not going to be part of our journey.

    It was time to make a decision… try again or explore other options.  We just couldn’t risk one of our remaining two embryos.  Surrogacy was it but where do we even begin. Where do you find a person who is willing to give her body, give herself to help someone else bring a child in to the world? Then there’s the emotion of the whole process.  I wouldn’t be pregnant, wouldn’t be able to experience that, feel our baby kick, know what I would eat, how I would care for myself – that lack of control was really hard to accept but it was our path.

    We found an amazing organization, ConceiveAbilities, to help us through the entire process – finding a gestational carrier, getting us a lawyer, acting as our complete coordinator of what is a very complicated process.  We were open to finding a GC anywhere in the country in an effort to be matched quickly.  Not only did they find us a match in six weeks, they found us someone in Chicago.  We met Steffanie for the first time on video in early January 2020.  We instantly knew she was going to be our perfect match.

    Its really hard to explain the relationship that develops between intended parents and a GC.  Its intense, emotional, loving, all the feels.  This part of our journey was particularly unique because at this point COVID was upon us which meant protocols at doctors appointments had completely changed.  We couldn’t attend the transfer but drove her to and from and just waited in the parking lot. Our OB appointments became a routine of driving to the doctors office, hanging together in the waiting room and then heading back out to the car when she was called back so we could FaceTime during the appointment.  We made it work and we loved getting to spend the time together even if it was in waiting rooms and parking lots.

    We are forever grateful for the hospital in allowing both Eric and me to be there all throughout labor and delivery in addition to Steffanie’s husband.  I was able to cut the cord and we could immediately hold Elliott which was something we feared wouldn’t be possible because of COVID.  The hospital even went so far as to providing us a room on the postpartum floor.  It was amazing to see how invested in our story everyone became over the course of those 14 hours.  Doctors and nurses whose shifts had ended an hour before Elliott’s birth came back in the room so that they could be a part of this joyous moment.  Hugs, tears, the quiet moment when a doctor said to me “you’ve waited a long time for him haven’t you”.  Yes, we had waited a long time and it was worth the wait. Those moments and days in the hospital are ones we will truly never forget.

    One constant in our journey are my friends at Pulling Down The Moon. They have been with us from the very beginning.  Acupuncture and massage played a big role in not only my physical health but mental health as well.  I instantly calmed the minute I walked in the door – every single time.  It is the most inviting environment and despite my fear of needles, the acupuncture was something I came to love.  We even had to do some of our shots there!  Never a dull moment when you are beholden to the clock and miscalculate how long you’ll be at acupuncture!  The connections that I made with everyone there became some of the most important to me in this journey as I could see myself in them.  They had their own stories and worked there to help women just like me, just like them, get their families.  I found that the support doesn’t end when it was not me who would be pregnant.  They offered to help Steffanie, to let her use my package, to help the odds of us getting pregnant.  I even found myself going back throughout the pregnancy for that mental break and self care I know I would get from my Pulling Down The Moon friends.  They were also invested in my story and it meant the world.

    The journey to parenthood looks different for everyone.  When you’re in the midst of it all and feel like its not meant to be, its easy to lose hope and let the emotions take over.  I’ve been there many times.  Remember you’re not alone.  There are resources and support systems that exist to help you along your journey.  You don’t have to do this alone.  We are a stronger family thanks to this journey and are so blessed to have our sweet Elliott James.

  • D.I. “WHY:” Abdominal Wrap

    By Beth Heller, Pulling Down the Moon Co-Founder

    People ask us all the time what things they can do at home to support their fertility.  In response, we’ve put together a collection of essential fertility tools that can help you obtain some of the benefits of holistic fertility treatments like massage and acupuncture in your own home.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Tool #1 is our Abdominal Wrap for Fertility 

    • What is it?  Our Abdominal Wrap includes a flannel cloth, organic castor oil and a proprietary blend of herbs traditionally used to support female fertility.  
    • How do you use it?  Simply saturate the flannel with castor oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of herbs and place on your lower abdomen oil side down.  Place a hot water bottle over top, cover with a towel and rest with your feet elevated for up to 30 minutes.  
    • Who should use it?  Good for everyone on the TTC path, especially recommended for thin lining issues and/or cycles with a short luteal phase.  
    • When should I use it?  We recommend wrapping from the first day of your menstrual cycle until ovulation.
    • Why abdominal wrapping?  

     

    Here are four key reasons why this traditional technique supports fertility:

    1. Blood Flow – When we apply heat to a body part (think sprained ankle) we promote blood flow to the region.  Blood is our body’s healing agent and helps to build a rich uterine lining and nourish developing egg follicles.  Our special herbal blend provides gentle added support and nourishment.
    2. Reduce Inflammation – Castor oil has a unique chemical makeup that allows it to be absorbed through the skin and function as an antioxidant helping to improve the uterine environment.  
    3. Warm the Belly – In Traditional Chinese Medicine there is a condition referred to as ‘cold uterus’, an imbalance of the yin and yang in the body leading to a colder core temperature. Without enough warmth (yang energy) in the uterus, the follicles may not fully ripen and body temperature won’t rise sufficiently after ovulation to support and nurture a growing embryo, if ovulation is able to occur at all. In this view,  if the uterus is cold due to lack of blood flow, old dead cells can accumulate, further blocking healthy blood flow, and a vicious cycle is born.
    4. Promote Relaxation – Taking 20-30 minutes a day to relax is a key part of supporting your fertility.  Use the time to practice breathing, or enjoy a guided meditation.  

     

     

    Ready to give it a try?  The Abdominal Wrap for Fertility can be purchased for $34 or as part of Pulling Down the Moon’s comprehensive DIY Essential Fertility Kit.  

  • Fish Oil Supplementation to Improve Male Fertility

    By Robin Miller RDN

    Studies suggest that infertility affects approximately 15% of all couples, and although conventional wisdom suggests that infertility is a female issue, the reality is approximately 40% to 50% of fertility issues are due to male factors.  Much research suggests that a healthy diet rich in certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, other vitamins, specifically, vitamin D and folate, and low in saturated fat and trans–fat is associated with good semen quality. Fish, shellfish, other seafood, poultry, cereals, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, and skim milk have been found to be positively associated with several semen parameters as well. Fish and fish liver oil in particular also contain other essential nutrients, that have been associated with better semen quality. With that said, there is now new research and data focused on the intake of fish oil supplements and testicular function as measured by semen quality and reproductive hormone levels. 


    After examining data from nearly 1,700 young men, researchers determined that fish oil supplementation was associated with a higher sperm count and improved levels of hormones, specifically lower FSH and LH levels; higher free testosterone to LH ratio that contribute to male fertility, according to the report published in JAMA Network Open. 

    However, the amount of fish oil the men in the study took was wide-ranging, so there is no specific quantity that can be suggested from this study. Furthermore, because it’s an observational study, we can’t assume a causal or contributing relationship between fish oil supplements and positive outcomes; a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study is the preferred method of research to support a positive correlation. 

    In the meantime, most everyone can benefit from more fish in our diets! Incorporate wild, organic, preferably low-mercury fish, such as wild salmon, shrimp, tilapia and whitefish to name a few, into your diet 1-2 a week. Try swapping out a deli meat sandwich with a tuna sandwich or a steak for a piece of wild salmon during the week and you will be naturally getting in some healthy fish oil along with tons of other nutrients, like vitamin D, iron, zinc and magnesium that support fertility. If fish is not your jam, try supplementing a high-quality fish oil supplement to achieve optimal benefits. 

    To learn more about ways to increase fish in your diet as well as find a fish oil supplement right for you, schedule a nutrition consult  today  and work with one of our Registered Dietitians!

    Reference: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2758861

     

  • Setting Goals vs. Resolutions

    By Robin Miller, RDN

    The beginning of a New Year is often synonymous for many with starting fresh, creating new goals and resolutions. In talking with family members, friends and clients it seems there is a common theme around goals and resolutions revolving around health and fitness whether it be healthy eating, cooking more and eating out less, exercising, and the list goes on.  Is it just me or does it seem that January and February are always the busiest time of year in gyms and fitness centers, as well as, well the produce aisle, where did all the kale go?! However, come the middle of February to beginning of March the gym rush seems to die down and the produce section seems much more bountiful. Why is this and how can we maintain those healthy habits year-round?

    Personally, I’ve never been one to make a year-long resolution or goal, the thought of promising to do something for an entire year is just daunting. I don’t want to promise myself “I won’t eat sweets for a year,” I am surely setting myself up for failure and overlooking the happy medium in achieving healthy habits. This is where weekly and/or monthly goal setting comes into play.

    Creating weekly or monthly goals can be much less daunting and actually seem doable. I encourage clients to have a few overall goals, but then create small goals every week or month to ultimately make progress towards hitting those goals. The small goals may change depending on what is going on in your life on a weekly or monthly basis, by making these modifications you are still able to make forward progress towards the ultimate goal(s). 

    For example, you may have a goal around cooking more and eating out less. A weekly goal one week may be to cook four meals and then the following week this may change to cooking two meals vs. four because of work commitments, etc. Allowing for these modifications to goals not only sets you up for greater success, but also helps to create a long-term habit. 

    If you haven’t had success in achieving your year-long, New Year’s resolution, perhaps the idea of weekly or monthly goals will resonate with you.  I challenge you to start by picking three, doable goals for the week! Try a yoga class, schedule a massage for yourself, go to a free informational event to support your journey!  If your goals revolve around nutrition, schedule a nutrition consult  today and work with one of our Registered Dietitian to develop an individualized plan to help you achieve your fertility, prenatal, postpartum, condition-specific, and/or health goals! 

     

  • 90-Day Prep? Start Here!

    by Cathy McCauley, LMT

    Whether getting pregnant naturally or using some form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) like IVF, fertility clients come to Pulling Down the Moon because they want to increase their chances of fertility success. I often see clients have better success after a 90-day prep. 

    Because the cycle of an egg is about 90 days, it’s helpful for you to prepare and optimize the health of your ovaries, uterus and your whole body at least three months before trying to conceive. In that time, you can monitor your nutrition, increase your vitamin intake, become intentional about improving blood flow and lowering stress levels. All of this can help enhance fertility and create a healthy environment for a pregnancy.

    Want to create a 90-day prep plan for enhanced fertility? Start here!

    Nutrition

    Preconception nutrition research shows that what you eat can impact the health of your ovaries and eggs either negatively or positively. Yet trying to navigate all the information out there can be overwhelming. The ART Prep/Recovery Program is unique to Pulling Down the Moon and exactly what it says: A science-based nutrition program (with some teachings and techniques from Traditional Chinese Medicine and yoga added) especially created to help you prep for your upcoming treatments. 

    With this program, our nutritionists will help you set goals, regulate blood sugar levels, support the liver, assist in getting your gut and thyroid to function properly, discuss sensitivities, look at possible food eliminations, decrease inflammation and safely cleanse. Your nutritionist will also be an accountability partner and will provide support, encouragement, ideas, and recipes to help you meet your goals while simultaneously working to improve your egg quality.

    Vitamins and Supplements

    Pulling Down the Moon has been working with medical doctors for over more than a decade, as well as, keeping up with the latest research and literature in the emerging field of supplements. We can provide recommendations on specific supplements for your unique situation and also help you streamline an overwhelming supplement regimen to include the supplements with the most research behind them for fertility. From finding the right prenatal vitamin to taking a probiotic to getting on a supplement of CoQ10, we can help you make the right choices as you work on enhancing your fertility during your prep.

    Blood Flow and Stress Reduction

    Increasing blood flow and reducing stress go hand-in-hand when optimizing your body for conception. Acupuncture, yoga, and massage can all help you achieve healthier circulation and reduce stress.

    Studies show that embryos with the highest implantation potential are from follicles that have sufficient blood and oxygen. If you want optimum egg health, promoting oxygen-rich blood flow to the ovaries is essential. 

    No doubt, stress influences your body in many ways and your fertility is not spared. High levels of stress can create an abundance of hormones, which in turn, can disrupt ovulation. By reducing your stress levels, you can have a positive affect on your fertility and your overall well-being. 

     

    Here are some approaches:

    Acupuncture

    In very simple terms, acupuncture is believed to clear blockages in the body in order to allow energy, greater health, and the feeling of emotional well-being to flow freely within the body. And more and more, acupuncture is becoming a widely accepted and sought after natural treatment for restoring fertility.  

    Some research shows acupuncture may improve ovarian functioning, balance the endocrine system and hormones, increase circulation to the uterus and improve egg quality. 

    Additionally, the treatments are balancing, relaxing and offer clients an opportunity to unplug and feel grounded. Many clients fall asleep during their sessions.

    Pulling Down the Moon acupuncturists are well-trained in working specifically with fertility clients. They are knowledgeable in treating your whole body and can provide you up-to-date information on fertility health and wellness.

     

    Yoga

    Pulling Down the Moon’s Yoga for Fertility (YFF) offers you another way to prep for enhanced fertility.

    At each class, you will learn a series of yoga postures designed to improve fertility by increasing blood flow into the pelvis, releasing stress and anxiety and balancing life energy flow in the body. 

    In addition to this physical practice we explore concepts from yoga philosophy that frame the fertility journey in a way that reveals our personal strengths, reinforces the joy of everyday life and empowers us to create the family we are meant to have. Through this class you will also join the wonderful, positive healing community of Pulling Down the Moon and enjoy the energy of all the amazing women who have shared their journey with us.

     

    Massage

    The last treatment service we offer is dear to my heart. I’ve been a massage therapist at Pulling Down the Moon for several years and have seen women experience much success after receiving massage as part of a fertility prep plan.

    What we offer is unique. Our FEM Protocol™ is a five-part series using massage and related techniques to enhance the health and functioning of the pelvic and abdominal organs, and to promote the client’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being.The five parts of the protocol focus on cleansing and detoxification, enhancing reproductive circulation, oxygenating the pelvic organs, and combating stress. Benefits may include:

    • promoting egg quality by improving the follicular environment and increasing its supply of oxygen-rich blood
    • lowering hormone disruption through stress management and clearing lymphatic congestion (a common storehouse for excess hormones and toxins)
    • supporting uterine lining and alignment through melting abdominal scar tissue, clearing circulatory pathways, and releasing structural tension patterns
    • encouraging relaxation and an overall sense of well-being during your fertility journey

    We offer a massage treatment schedule to keep you on track during your 90-day prep. And once you’ve actively started trying to conceive, whether naturally or through ART, we encourage you to continue to receive the FEM Protocol. It is safe any time in a cycle and we are trained in helping you determine what will be the best treatment for you no matter where you are on your fertility journey. 

    Get started with a 90 day prep and save with one of our New Year, New You Passports to Wellness!  Have questions about how Pulling Down the Moon’s unique services can support your journey?  Call us at: 312-321-0004 for us personalized support today!

     

  • Choline: An Update on a Vital Fertility and Pregnancy Nutrient

    By Margaret Eich, MS, RDN

    Choline is little talked about essential nutrient for fertility and pregnancy. It is not technically considered a vitamin, as our bodies can synthesize choline though not enough to meet our daily needs.  Choline is a major component of all cell membranes and is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in muscle control and memory. Choline is also converted to betaine, which prevents homocysteine levels from becoming elevated. Elevated homocysteine has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease and miscarriage. Choline deficiency may also play a role in the development of fatty liver, as choline is necessary to transport fat from the liver to other tissues in the body.

    Choline also has important functions during pregnancy. Choline is essential for baby’s brain development and for DNA methylation, meaning that choline deficiency can have epigenetic effects on the developing baby. There is also evidence that adequate choline intake helps prevent neural tube defects like spinal bifida, which most people associate only with folate/folic acid intake. 

    Several studies have compared intakes of 480 mg choline daily to 930 mg choline daily at varying times during pregnancy and found a variety of outcomes. For example, supplementation with 930 mg choline compared to 480 mg throughout the 3rd trimester resulted in faster information processing in 4-13 month old infants. In a similar study, children whose mothers took in 930 mg choline daily performed better with a color location memory task compared to children whose mothers who had only taken in 480 mg choline daily. Another study reported reduced attention and behavior problems and social withdrawal in children at 40 months of age in the group of mothers supplemented with 900 mg choline from the 2nd trimester through delivery in addition to baby being supplemented with 100 mg choline daily through 3 months of age compared to controls.

    The daily requirement for choline for non-pregnant women of childbearing age is 425 mg. This goes up 450 mg during pregnancy and further increases to 550 mg during breastfeeding. Less than 10% of pregnant women are meeting their daily requirement for choline, underscoring the importance of focusing on this nutrient.

    The impact of choline during pregnancy is an emerging area of research, and currently it seems that 450 mg choline at a minimum is needed to support a healthy pregnancy, but up 900-930 mg is safe and may have long-term benefits to the baby. Animal products are better sources of choline than plant foods–with liver and egg yolks being the best sources–followed by meat and fish and cruciferous vegetables.

    Because so few women are meeting even basic daily choline needs during pregnancy, taking a prenatal vitamin that contains choline is a good idea, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Pulling Down the Moon carries two prenatal vitamins, both of which contain choline. TheraNatal OvaVite contains 100 mg choline, and PlusOne contains 450 mg choline. Do you have more questions about optimal choline intake prior to and during a pregnancy? Book a nutrition appointment today!

     

      

     

  • Yoga for Holiday Stress

    by Christina Thompson Olson RYT RPYT

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? But if the onslaught of holiday parties, shopping, and family gatherings has you feeling a bit stressed out, you’re not alone. How many more times is Aunt Ginny going to ask when you’ll be having a baby? Before you snap or find yourself making up stories to distract from your fertility situation, try these simple yoga techniques to stay grounded and let all that chatter melt away.

    Get into your breath

    Before reacting to someone or something, check in with your breathing and see if you can allow it to slow down. Try Samavritti pranayama, or equal breath to help calm your mind and relax your body. Start by bringing your attention to the tip of your nose, inhaling and exhaling through your nose if comfortable. Notice the length of your inhale and exhale, and work towards equal breathing by silently counting to four on your inhale and exhale: “In-2-3-4, Out-2-3-4”. Let your breath move deeply through your abdomen, expanding your diaphragm as you inhale and gently drawing in as you exhale, working towards twelve rounds of breath.

    Gently move your body

    Try some easy yoga poses to relieve stress, even if you’re in the restroom at a holiday party! One of my favorite moves to ease tension in the mind and body is the forward fold, which can be done in a variety of ways. Try a halfway forward fold or L-shape, walking your hands down a wall (or on a countertop) as you take your feet hip-width distance and create an L-shape with your body. Take 4-5 deep breaths to relax your shoulders, lengthen your spine, and send your sitting bones back evenly behind you. Then take your feet wider and find a dynamic squat-forward fold by bending your knees as you exhale and returning to the forward fold with an inhale for another five rounds of breath. 

    From this wide leg forward fold, with hands either supported by a wall or on blocks, take a gentle open twist by bringing your left hand under your face and lifting your right hand up towards the sky, or to your right hip. Breathe deeply for several rounds of breath to gently massage your digestive organs in this twist, and then repeat on your left side. Take one more symmetrical forward fold of your choice, coming up slowly when you’re finished, and hopefully you’ll return to your holiday season feeling a bit more at ease in your body.

    Beat the Winter Blues in the New Year with a FREE Yoga for Fertility Community Class (with me!) in Chicago or in Highland Park with Cassie on January 11th at noon!

    Did you know Yoga for Fertility can reduce anxiety by 20% or more in just six weeks? Join my next series in the New Year to support your journey starting on Saturday, January 25th at noon!

  • Simplifying the Best Diet for Fertility

    By Robin Miller RDN

    There seems to be so much information out there about diets and foods to consume and not consume while trying to conceive and during pregnancy. But what really is the best diet when it comes to fertility? 

     

    We know that food likely plays a role in fertility and our ability to conceive, but is there a specific diet per se, that will lead to pregnancy? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, however the research does suggest that including specific food groups and foods, while eliminating others can increase chances of pregnancy.

    One recent study* showed that couples undergoing IVF, in vitro fertilization, had almost three times the chance of a successful pregnancy when they closely adhered to the Mediterranean Diet, which is consists on a high intake of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables and a low intake of red meat. Let’s dig deeper and look at specific foods to include in our daily diets to help improve overall fertility.

    1. Berries:  strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are filled with antioxidants that limit inflammation in the body as well as protect our cells from aging and environmental damage.  
    2. Cruciferous Vegetables:  broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, turnip greens, turnips and rutabaga.  These vegetables contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol that regulates estrogen metabolism and helps convert “bad estrogens” into good ones.
    3. Healthy Fats:  The fats we eat play a very important role in fertility.  They are incorporated into our cell membranes (think egg and sperm) and make up the backbone of many important molecules in our body.   Monounsaturated fats help to lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and are found in olive oil, avocado and most nuts.  Omega-3 fats are key to lowering the level of inflammation in our body and are found in fatty fish, dark leafy vegetables, walnuts, chia and flax seeds.  
    4. Beans/Lentils:  Besides being a good source of protein, beans and lentils contain soluble fiber, which helps bind excess hormones and remove them from the body.
    5. Whole Grains:  Whole grains are a rich source of fiber and B-vitamins.  B-vitamins are crucial for optimal egg development and ovulation. 
    6. Lean Protein:  Choose lean proteins like organic chicken, turkey, grass-fed red meats, and organically raised eggs.  

    To learn more about specific foods and food groups to include in a fertility-friendly diet and improve your overall nutrition; schedule a nutrition consult online here or call us to learn more at: 312-321-0004 today!

    *https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29390148

  • My Journey to The Moon

    Hello beautiful readers!  My name is Christie Frisch and I’m delighted to introduce myself, having recently joined the team at Pulling Down the Moon, River North.  As a postpartum doula and licensed massage therapist specializing in fertility, prenatal and postpartum care, I am a passionate advocate for women and the women-identifying, especially when it comes to supporting new, expecting and trying-to-conceive mamas in experiencing each unique journey into parenthood to its fullest.  I feel incredibly fortunate to get to do what I love every day.

    My own entry into motherhood was a crucial turning point for me in so many ways, inspiring me eventually to redirect my professional focus into holistic wellness.  In those richly transformative early weeks following my daughter’s birth I recall feeling that no one around me seemed to “get it,” despite my having numerous family and friends nearby.  An internet search led me to a new moms group, where the universal complexity of our experiences impressed upon me deeply.  What other dimension of the human condition could offer the potential for such beauty, and also such rawness?  I was fascinated.  And I wanted to help support women in tapping into as much of the beauty as possible, despite the natural stress and challenge each journey brings.

    I’ve lovingly refined my signature treatment, energy balancing massage, which I tailor to each client’s needs over the expansive course of the childbearing journey.  From fertility enhancement all the way through the “fourth trimester” I seek to lift up and understand each client’s evolving needs, listening actively throughout consultation and each treatment as I integrate sound, reiki energy work, aromatherapy and guided meditation to create the ultimate massage experience (I like to think of it as a “massage plus”). My approach is inclusive and empowering, and we are all about incorporating time-honored healing arts from around the world to enhance our clients’ experience at each juncture.

    2019 has been an exciting year for me for a host of reasons, not least of which has been joining the fabulous community of wellness professionals at the Moon.  It is with much gratitude that I am now offering the five-part Fertility Enhancing Massage protocol to Pulling Down the Moon clients on Tuesdays and every other Friday at the River North location.  I received extensive training in the FEM protocol under Meredith Nathan, which I found to be both complementary and enriching to the modalities I’ve previously employed.

    It’s already been abundantly rewarding to work with Meredith and the massage therapy team at the Moon, where I’ve found so much like-mindedness among us.  My approach has always been grounded in the view that at its best, massage therapy has the potential to activate and enhance the body’s self-healing ability, producing real results that can positively impact our clients’ lives.  I view my work as nothing short of guiding my clients toward realizing this potential for themselves.  There’s no greater privilege than working with others who share such belief in the value of our work and I greatly look forward to the chapter here ahead.  I look forward to taking care of you when you schedule your massage therapy appointment!  Take time for your this season and let us support your journey at each stage!  Book Now

  • Magnesium: An Essential Mineral for Fertility and Pregnancy

    By Margaret Eich, MS, RDN

    Magnesium is an essential mineral in hundreds of reactions in the body involved in a variety of processes including deriving energy from food, DNA synthesis, and blood sugar regulation. In addition, magnesium is a mineral component of bone along with calcium and phosphorus. Along with these important functions, did you know that magnesium may play a role in fertility and pregnancy as well?

    Magnesium’s Role in Fertility and Pregnancy

    In a study of 33 women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), 23% of women did not meet their daily magnesium needs. (1) In another study comparing women with and without PCOS, women with PCOS consumed less magnesium than women without PCOS. In women with PCOS, lower magnesium intake was correlated with higher risk for insulin resistance and elevated testosterone, key hallmarks of PCOS. (2) There have been many studies investigating the impact of magnesium levels and magnesium supplementation on insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. These studies point to a significant role for magnesium for blood sugar regulation. (3)

    Magnesium supplementation may also help prevent muscle cramps in pregnancy, and may also be helpful for headache prevention. Research is ongoing around magnesium and its impact on risk for gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension.

    How much Magnesium do we need?

    According to NHANES data, the majority of Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diet. The daily requirement for magnesium is 310-320 mg for non-pregnant women. During pregnancy, magnesium requirements increase to 350-360 mg daily. 

    Food sources of Magnesium

    The best food sources of magnesium include: nuts and seeds especially Brazil nuts, cashews, and almonds; seaweed, leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, and dairy products.

    Magnesium Supplements

    Adding a magnesium supplement can be a helpful way to ensure you’re getting enough magnesium on a daily basis. Magnesium glycinate is the preferred form of magnesium, as it’s very well-absorbed and unlikely to cause digestive issues or loose stools like other forms of magnesium that are less well-absorbed like magnesium oxide.

    Unsure if you’re meeting your daily magnesium needs? Schedule a nutrition consultation for a comprehensive review of your diet and supplement regimen.  Supplements are available in Chicago, Highland Park, and via our online shop for your convenience!

    References

    1. Szczuko M, et al. Quantitative assessment of nutrition in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2016;67(4):419-426.
    2. Cutler DA, et al. Low intakes of dietary fiber and magnesium are associated with insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism in polycystic ovarian syndrome: a cohort study. Food Sci Nutr. 2019;7(4):1426-1437.
    3. Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Magnesium