I often hear my clients say – how will I know my fertility is improving, how will I know if I’m on the right track?
Blood tests are a great way to check improvements in hormone levels, but how you feel in yourself and your general health are key markers when it comes to fertility potential.
Fertility Acupuncture can help optimise your fertility potential and in clinic we look at the following areas as ways to assess if things are heading in the right direction:
You have more energy, that does not come from caffeine. If you are fuelling your body with the right nutrition and balancing your blood sugars you should see a consistent flow to your energy with no afternoon slumps.
You’re sleeping better – sleep is crucial to hormone health and fertility. If you’re getting to sleep easier, waking less throughout the night and waking up feeling more refreshed, we know this is going to have a positive impact on your fertility.
Your Menstrual health is improving; this means your cycle is regular, your are not experiencing severe period or ovulation pain, PMS is minimal, your period flow is not clotty and there is no spotting before your period starts. Good menstrual health is one of the foundation of good fertility.
Digestive issues resolve. Digestive issues can cause wider inflammation in the body which can affect your fertility. If you notice your digestion improving, you have less bloating and your bowels are regular (i.e. no constipation), this is a sure sign that your hormone health will be much improved and thus your fertility.
By listening to your body and the subtle changes, you can see your fertility improving. Good general health reflects good fertility, the better you feel physically and emotionally the more chance you are giving your body to conceive.
Fertility Acupuncture is not just about acupuncture, it encompasses holistic fertility, which includes looking at a person as a whole, making sure that your nutrition, exercise, supplements, sleep, lifestyle is all working with you not against you to help you conceive.
You can book a discovery call or consultation with At Source Acupuncture here.
Preparing your body for conception and pregnancy is an essential step in ensuring you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. We highly recommend Fertility Acupuncture as part of your preparation but also suggest the following too:
1. Before starting to conceive there are some blood tests that can help you understand your current fertility status these are:
FSH ( follicle stimulating hormone) – which simply tells us how hard your body is working to stimulate and grow your eggs each month.
LH ( lutinising hormone) – a higher reading, can indicate underlying health issues.
Oestrogen levels – this can help us understand how your body is processing oestrogen, which can affect your fertility.
Progesterone levels – levels needs to be checked 6-7 days after your ovulate (not just on day 21 unless you have ovulated on day 14). This tells us if you have ovulated and if your progesterone levels are high enough to sustain a pregnancy.
2. Maintain a healthy diet: A Mediterranean diet is considered the most fertility friendly. This includes a well-balanced diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats which are crucial for both you and your future baby. Folic acid is particularly important in early pregnancy to help prevent birth defects, so consider taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid before conception.
3. Stay physically active: Regular exercise can help improve your overall health, boost your mood, and prepare your body for pregnancy. Try and work out with, not against your menstrual cycle. This means doing higher strain exercise around ovulation when your oestrogen and testosterone levels are higher, as your will recover quicker, and doing more restorative exercise like yoga or walking, on and around your period.
4. Manage your weight: Aim for a healthy weight before conceiving, as being either underweight or overweight can affect fertility and pregnancy outcomes.
5. Quit smoking and avoid alcohol and drugs: Smoking, alcohol, and recreational drugs can harm both fertility and the developing foetus. It’s best to stop using them well before conception.
6. Manage stress: High levels of stress can affect fertility and make it harder to conceive. Find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as exercise, meditation, Fertility Acupuncture or engaging in activities you enjoy.
7. Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is crucial for your overall health and well-being, and it plays a role in fertility as well.
8. Know your menstrual cycle: Tracking your Menstrual cycle for example using a BBT (Basal Body temperature chart) can help you to identify for most fertile days to make the most out of each fertile window. It can also give insight into how your hormones working and can highlohht some underlying health conditions for example thyroid function.
9. Discuss medications: If you’re taking any prescription medications, talk to your healthcare provider about their safety during pregnancy. Some medications may need to be adjusted or changed before conception.
10. Check for infections: Screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as some infections can affect fertility and pregnancy. Here at our Fertility Acupuncture clinic, we recommend that you test your Vaginal Microbiome too, we can recommend a test provider for this and then help you to interpret your results. This is especially important if you have unexplained infertility and/or suffer recurrent UTI’s, thrush or any other vaginal health issues.
11. Limit exposure to harmful substances: Minimise exposure to environmental toxins, such as plastics, hazardous chemicals, and certain cleaning agents that may be harmful to pregnancy.
12. Discuss family medical history: Talk to your healthcare provider about any family medical history that may impact your pregnancy or the baby’s health.
Remember that each person’s health and body are unique – if you would like further advise on the above and how Fertility Acupuncture can support you in preparing for conception and/or pregnancy then please book a discovery call here.
If you’re dreaming of starting a family, the emotional rollercoaster of trying to conceive can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve been trying for a while. When all medical tests come back normal, and the cause of fertility struggles remains elusive, it can be even more frustrating and disheartening.
Unexplained infertility accounts for 1 in 4 cases of infertility. Dealing with infertility can take an enormous toll on one’s emotional well-being, and unexplained infertility adds an extra layer of complexity. While the term “unexplained” implies a lack of known causes, there are several factors that may contribute to unexplained fertility. It is important to remember that if you’ve been given this diagnosis, there is always a reason, yours just hasn’t been found yet.
These reasons could include:
Vaginal Health: The vaginal microbiome refers to the community of microorganisms, living in the vagina, these fluctuate throughout your cycle. Research has shown that the dominance of Lactobacillus in the vaginal microbiome plays a vital role in fertility outcomes. Women with a dominant Lactobacillus vaginal microbiota (≥ 90%) have a higher success rate in both term pregnancy and live birth rate.
Women that are low in lactobacillus have more chance of picking up a vaginal infection, as there is not enough of the good bacteria to fend off the bad. If there is an overload of pathogenic bacteria in the vagina we can only assume it must exist in the uterus, this can have a negative impact on fertility. Often there can be no signs or symptoms that this pathogenic bacteria is present. A vaginal microbiome test can be carried out to assess the different levels of bacteria present.
Undiagnosed Conditions: Endometriosis is a condition where cells that make up the endometrial lining are found outside of the uterus, these bleed during a period just like the endometrial lining, this can cause severe pain. In the bodies attempt to get rid of these cells the immune system is called in releasing cytokines which are the bodies way of reacting to a perceived threat, this can be harmful for fertility. Endometriosis can cause wide spread inflammation harmful to our developing eggs. It is thought that undiagnosed endometriosis is responsible for up to 25% of unexplained infertility cases. Ways to diagnose endometriosis are through a laparoscopy or an MRI scan.
Undiagnosed Thyroid Conditions: The thyroid play a large role in our fertility hormones and left untreated can cause fertility issues and raise the risk of miscarriage. Having a full thyroid test means not just testing your TSh levesl but also your T3, T4 and antibodies.
Immunological Factors: it is possible that the immune system, specifically the immune response to sperm or embryos, may play a role in unexplained infertility.
Hidden Male Factor Infertility: While the male partner’s semen analysis might appear normal, there could be undetected issues with sperm function, such as reduced sperm DNA integrity or impaired ability to fertilise an egg. It is important to fully investigate male fertility by having a DNA fragmentation test and a semen culture to rule out an infection that could be impacting fertility.
If you’ve been diagnosed with unexplained infertility then keep pushing for answers. Often couples are told IVF is the only option, but without understanding and getting to the bottom of what is causing their fertility struggles, IVF is often unsuccessful.
Other methods such as fertility acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and mind-body techniques (meditation, yoga or mindfulness) can be really helpful for individuals or couples going through this process, and supporting you to find the answers you need.
If you would like to find out more about fertility acupuncture and the services I can offer, then please book into a complimentary 15-minute consultation here.
Our Menstrual cycle is a reflection of health, by becoming aware of our own cycle and how our hormones are interacting we can not only increase our chances of conceiving but it can also increase our energy, improve sleep, decrease stress/anxiety and make you the best version of you!
We’re all unique and so our menstrual cycles will vary slightly, but here are the foundations of a healthy Menstrual cycle:
1. Regular menstrual cycle: A regular menstrual cycle typically lasts between 21 and 35 days, with consistent cycle lengths and predictable bleeding patterns. This indicates that the hormonal processes involved in menstruation are functioning normally.
2. Normal duration and flow: A typical period should last approximately 3-5 days, with moderate flow. If you need to change your period product within 2 hours then your period is classed as heavy. There can often be an underlying cause to heavy periods, for example issues with thyroid function. A short bleed can mean that the endometrium lining has not been sufficiently shed.
3. Minimal pain and discomfort: While some mild cramping and discomfort during menstruation is common, severe pain, debilitating cramps, or other intense symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or dizziness may suggest an underlying issue and can be indicators of poor menstrual health.
4. Balanced hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle are normal, but extreme mood swings, severe depression, or intense irritability that significantly impacts daily life might suggest hormonal imbalances or other health concerns.
5. Absence of excessive clotting: Some clotting during menstruation is normal, but if you frequently pass large blood clots or experience heavy, prolonged bleeding, it could indicate an underlying issue that should be addressed.
6. No disruptive symptoms: Good menstrual health means that menstruation does not significantly disrupt your daily life. While some changes in energy levels and mood are expected, extreme fatigue, excessive bloating, or other symptoms that interfere with your daily activities might indicate a problem.
It’s important to note that menstrual health can vary among individuals, and what is considered normal can differ from person to person. If you have concerns about your menstrual health, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance and address any specific questions or issues you may have.
You can also contact At Source Acupuncture for more support through our Acupuncture services.
You can also read more about the menstrual cycle and acupuncture here.
If you’re struggling with menstrual health issues, PMS or heavy painful periods and would like a consultation to explore how Acupuncture can help, then Anna would be more than happy to help you. Anna has more than 12 years of experience in Women’s health, and has helped many couples on their fertility journey through acupuncture. If you’d like to find out more about how Anna can help, please book a free 15 minute discovery call where you can discuss your treatment needs.
Every month your body recruits hundreds of dormant follicles and starts the process of growing and maturing them. Over the course of 3-4 months these follicles will become more complex and will nurture the egg inside, ensuring they have all the nutrients needed to develop and reach maturation. Many of these dormant follicles won’t make it to be fully matured, they will stop developing due to being either structurally faulty or lacking the right nutrients or environment to thrive, this results in less follicles making it to the stage where they secrete Anti Mullerian hormone, known as AMH. Although we can’t roll back the years in terms of genetics, by improving the ovarian environment in which the eggs are grown, there is a potential for more follicles to make it to be fully matured which means an increase in AMH levels. AMH levels show how many follicles are currently reaching the developed stage, and not how many dormant follicles your body has, this means AMH levels can’t tell you exactly how many eggs you have left.
Having low AMH levels does not automatically mean your eggs are of poor quality. If you have been told your AMH levels are low for your age, then it’s worth investigating whether the environment your eggs are developing in are causing your AMH levels to drop prematurely.
– Vitamin D deficiency
– Issues with the vaginal microbiome for example an infection
– Chronic Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Recent infection or illness
– Smoking and vaping
– Poor gut health
– Poor sleep
– Poor regulation of blood sugar
If you’d like more information on how your AMH levels could be affecting your fertility, Anna would be more than happy to help. Anna has more than 12 years of experience in Women’s health, and has helped many couples on their fertility journey through acupuncture. If you’d like to find out more about how Anna can help, please book a free 15 minute discovery call where you can discuss your treatment needs.
The thyroid gland is a small gland which is located in the neck. It plays an important role in the production of two crucial hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine which help to regulate the speed in which your body cells work. Imbalances in these hormones can cause irregular cycles or no periods at all and impaired ovulation, which both affect your fertility. With 60% of women being unaware of their thyroid condition, we discuss some of the things to look out for. Having a detailed blood panel to check for thyroid issues, including the levels of TSH, T3, T4 and antibodies, is the only way to determine how well your thyroid is functioning. There can often be a wide reference range when it comes to what constitutes a normal TSH level. The optimal range is under 2.5 ideally below 2 mIU/L.
An overactive thyroid is called Hyperthyroidism, which is where your thyroid produces too many hormones. Symptoms may include:
– Trouble sleeping
– Unexplained weight loss
– Increase in appetite
– Light periods
– Excessive sweating
An overactive thyroid can affect your fertility as the excessive production of hormones can confuse your cycle. For example, in a healthy female, hormones will peak mid-cycle causing the body to ovulate. With an overactive thyroid, hormones are constantly peaked so the body doesn’t know when to ovulate, which can result in irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
An underactive thyroid is called Hypothyroidism which is seen more commonly, however some thyroid conditions can cause the body to fluctuate between under and over active. In Hypothyroidism the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. Symptoms may include:
– Weight gain
– Thinning of the hair
– Pale skin
– Heavy periods
With lower levels of hormones, this can inhibit the surge of hormones that’s needed for ovulation. As a result, your ovaries will not receive the signal that it’s time to release the egg, meaning ovulation will not happen regularly and in some cases, you may not ovulate at all, making conception very difficult.
Known as hashimotos or autoimmune thyroiditis. This is where the body attacks the healthy tissue of the thyroid causing the function to become impaired. This can cause issues with fertility and raises the risk of a miscarriage.
If you’d like some more information on how a thyroid disorder could be affecting your fertility, Anna would be more than happy to help. Anna has over 12 years of experience working in Women’s health, and has helped many couples with successful pregnancies through fertility acupuncture. To start your fertility journey today, please click here to book in a free 15 minute consultation with Anna. Alternatively, you can give Anna a call today on 07540 353137.
Male infertility is more common than people think. Often men have only had a basic semen analysis and unless the results are extremely poor, no further action is taken. Frequently men are told poor sperm can be fixed through IVF, this is often misleading. Poor sperm can have implications on implantation and maintaining a pregnancy and so it’s important to get to the root of what could be driving unhealthy sperm. This can be done by investigations for hormone issues, ultrasound for a varicocele, cysts and prostate issues and DNA fragmentation test. A referral to a specialist urologist who specialises male infertility is often needed. If nothing structural is found then acupuncture can lifestyle changes are very effective at improving sperm quality. In this blog post, we take a look at some of the benefits that fertility acupuncture can have in males, in addition to external factors that you can implement into your daily routine to increase the chances of a successful conception.
Fertility acupuncture treatment for males can greatly improve sperm production, motility and quality. It achieves this by increasing blood flow and nerve conductions to the gonads, which improves the production of sperm, hormone signalling and temperature regulation. It’s recommended to receive acupuncture regularly for at least 2-3 months in order to see a significant change in sperm count, as this is the same time period as spermatogenesis (the body’s process of producing sperm).
Low testosterone will occur when a male has less than 300 nanograms per deciliter. Research suggests that having low testosterone levels correlates to struggling to conceive naturally. For example, sperm count, a reduction in sex drive, and erectile dysfunction can be caused by low levels of testosterone which all affect a successful pregnancy. Fertility acupuncture is one of the best methods to support your testosterone hormones.
Besides regular acupuncture treatment, there are specific lifestyle choices that can greatly improve the chances of a natural conception.
Firstly, diet is a huge factor in regards to healthy sperm development. Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet and remove processed foods. Increase the intake of fruit and vegetables, healthy fats and water. The Mediterranean diet is very beneficial for sperm quality. Taking a high-quality multi-vitamin also aids sperm production. Look out for vitamins such as Zinc, Selenium, Folic acid and vitamins C and D.
It’s important to maintain a healthy body weight and exercise regularly. Try to avoid exercises that increase testicular temperature and facilities such as a sauna and hot tub as heat can damage sperm. For more information on external factors, take a look at our male fertility guide.
If you’d like to find out more about male fertility acupuncture, Anna would be more than happy to help. Anna has over 12 years of experience working with couples to achieve a successful pregnancy, in addition to completing advanced fertility training. To book in for a free 15 minute consultation, please click here. Alternatively, you can give Anna a call on 07540 353137 where Anna will be in touch as soon as possible.
With the gut commonly referred to as our ‘second brain’, it does far more than just break down the foods that we eat. The gut also plays a huge role in the functions of your immune system, your mood, hormones and fertility. When your gut isn’t working properly, other body systems will suffer immensely. We take a look at how your gut health is connected to fertility, and ways to aid your gut functions.
Poor gut health can cause an estrogen imbalance, which may lead to infertility issues including endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. This imbalance can also cause leaky gut syndrome and immune system failure which are linked to infertility and miscarriages.
Additionally, as mentioned before, a healthy gut microbiome includes an extensive range of different beneficial bacteria and is vital for a healthy immune system. When our gut is unhappy it can lead to problems with our immune function causing chronic inflammation, which in turn can result in recurrent pregnancy loss. Chronic inflammation may also cause decreased progesterone levels leading to implantation failure.
It’s essential to live a healthy lifestyle in order to heal the gut, with diet and exercise playing a huge role. For your diet, it’s recommended to remove inflammatory foods such as refined grains, sugar, dairy products and processed foods. Replace these foods with gut friendly ones, such as probiotics, broth, fermented foods, fruit and vegetables. You can even undergo a test which finds out specific foods your gut may be sensitive to.
Moderate exercise also helps to enhance gut function as it improves blood flow and intestinal motility. Incorporate activities into your life such as yoga, walking and meditation. Moreover, fertility acupuncture helps to reduce stress, which in turn improves digestive functions.
If you suffer with any of the following then it’s time to fix your gut health and optimise your fertility. Anna has over 12 years of experience working in Women’s health, and has helped many couples with successful pregnancies through fertility acupuncture. If you’d like some more information about fertility acupuncture, Anna offers a free 15 minute consultation where you can discuss any issues you may be experiencing. Give Anna a call today on 07540 353137. Moreover, you can fill out an online enquiry form where Anna will be in touch shortly.
While it is true that a female’s egg quality is heavily weighted by genetics, for example, some women might carry genetic mutations that lead to defects in the maturation of human oocytes (eggs). Some women may have poorer egg quality at a younger age, however oocytes are cells just like other cells in our body and through lifestyle, nutrition and acupuncture you can enhance what you are born with.
A healthy diet contributes to your overall health, as well as improving egg quality, and boosting overall fertility. Start to incorporate a Mediterranean diet into your life, which consists of a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables, omega 3 fats and protein and try to limit the amount of sugar and alcohol consumed.
Stress levels can play a huge role in unsuccessful conceptions. Whether it’s from work or other stressful environments, stress is known to produce hormones such as cortisol which can result in late ovulation, long term chronic stress can impact your fertility. Starting Well being activities such as meditation, yoga, light exercise and fertility acupuncture can all help to reduce stress. Click through to our latest blog post to find out more.
Smoking is known to significantly reduce the quality of a woman’s eggs. This is due to cigarettes being made up of chemicals that can mutate the DNA in your egg cells, which results in eggs becoming inadequate for conception and the probability of birth defects may increase. It’s also important to add that the number of eggs will reduce with age, so it’s advised to keep eggs healthy and free of unnecessary chemicals when trying to conceive.
If you’re struggling to conceive naturally and have additional questions about improving the quality of your eggs, give Anna a call on 07540 353137 to start your fertility acupuncture journey. Moreover, you can drop Anna an email where she’ll be in touch shortly.
For some couples, after trying to conceive naturally for some time, they embark on IVF treatment. Research suggests that acupuncture treatment alongside IVF can decrease miscarriage rates by 50%. Additionally, fertility acupuncture can also be beneficial in cases of threatened miscarriage due to its positive effects on serum cortisol and prolactin levels. In this blog post, we take a look at how fertility acupuncture can optimise your chances of a successful IVF cycle.
The immune system plays a very important role when it comes to fertility. An overactive immune system can lead to pregnancy loss when antibodies in a woman’s system can fail to recognise a pregnancy, or there may be an abnormal immune response to the pregnancy. An overactive immune system can also prevent an embryo implanting. Fertility acupuncture can help regulate the immune system, increasing the chances of conception.
Infertility can put a huge strain on couples. Acupuncture can ease the tension carried in the body when it’s under emotional stress. By inserting fine needles into specific acupuncture points our bodies feel good chemicals such as endorphins are released, these chemicals relax the body and mind and can aid a successful pregnancy. Additionally, fertility acupuncture can help support women during the roller coaster of emotions that are often experienced during an IVF cycle.
It’s recommended to undergo fertility acupuncture at least three months before you begin IVF treatment, as this is the cycle of egg development. Moreover, research shows that additional acupuncture performed before and after the embryo transfer can increase chances of pregnancy, as this is when your body will benefit most from the effects of acupuncture.
Anna has over 12 years of experience working in Women’s health and has helped many couples on their IVF journey. If you’re interested in fertility acupuncture and want to find out more information about how it can benefit your IVF treatment, just give Anna a call on 07540 353137 where you can arrange a free 15 minute consultation. Additionally, you can fill out an online enquiry form where Anna will be in touch shortly.