Months and months of negative pregnancy tests are disappointing and frustrating. Wondering why nothing is working can cause an otherwise rational person to become obsessed. Extreme curiosity and possibly even desperation lead many to seek alternative forms of treatment.
When I experienced setback after setback during my own fertility journey, I questioned if I was doing everything possible to become pregnant. I couldn’t quiet the voice in the back of my head encouraging me to supplement Western techniques with Eastern philosophies.
Alternative methods used to be considered “out there” and possibly even a “fad.” Today many swear that one method or the other was the reason they achieved a successful pregnancy, and subsequent delivery. There is unfortunately no way to know for certain what method did or did not work.
However, the following is a list of methods that I used to enhance my own conception efforts. It is by no means comprehensive, and what worked for me might not work for the next person. It is simply a list to get the curiosity juices flowing. Be certain to check with your primary care doctor or gynecologist before moving forward with any of the treatments listed below.
Acupuncture for fertility
This method of treatment has gained immense popularity in recent years. Acupuncture involves the inserting of ultra-thin needles into specific points on the body to help regulate the way the body functions. Acupuncture can treat fertility related issues such as an over or under active thyroid, as well as enhance fertility by improving ovarian and follicular function. A thick endometrial lining is ideal for achieving pregnancy, and acupuncture is known to improve this as well.
I did acupuncture treatments leading up to, and immediately before and after my first Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET). It resulted in a chemical pregnancy. I did treatments leading up to, and a few hours before my second FET, but not afterwards. I became pregnant and had a successful delivery.
Hypnotherapy for Fertility
Hypnosis addresses the unconscious mind, and aims to reduce stress levels and unfavorable hormone levels. It explores the feelings, emotions, and beliefs that might be impeding conception. Trained clinicians walk clients through visualizations that are relaxing in nature, and that help bring about positive associations to achieving and sustaining pregnancy.
I had 5 hypnotherapy sessions prior to my first FET, which as noted above, resulted in a chemical pregnancy. I did hypnotherapy on my own prior to my second FET, which was successful.
Meditation for Fertility
There are many different ways to meditate, and it could take some time before figuring out which method resonates. However, any way that the mind can be slowed down and brought into a calm state is beneficial to not only conception, but the mind body connection as well. When we slow down and focus, we are more at peace and able to make rational rather than emotional decisions. Meditation can involve simply breathing in and out for seconds at a time, listening to recordings, or hearing music.
I have been meditating for many years. It helps keep my anxiety at a normal level. However, I increased my daily meditation sessions from 20 to 45 minutes leading up to the second successful FET.
Nutrition for Fertility
It is common knowledge that eating a well-balanced diet with an abundance of fruits and vegetables has many health advantages. When trying to conceive, it can only be beneficial. But what about this Gluten Free craze? I was never tested for Celiac Disease, but I wondered if going Gluten Free would increase my chances of getting pregnant. When we did our first FET, I was not Gluten Free. Leading up to the second successful FET, I went mostly gluten free.
Chinese Herbs for Fertility
Chinese herbs are a foreign concept to many in the Western world. They are often perceived as dangerous while trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners consider these herbs to be safe. They use a combination of more than 150 herbs, in complex formulas of 15 plus ingredients to correct a functional or organic problem causing infertility. These herbs have been known to correct and regulate the menstrual cycle.
I did not use Chinese Herbs until after I completed my family. I used them to regulate my abnormal menstrual cycle, which was an average of 37-48 days in length. The herbs reduced my cycle length to an average of 26-33 days. If I had known these herbs could correct my ovulation dysfunction, I would have used them prior to attempting any treatments.
I am unsure if I would have gotten pregnant without utilizing any of the methods above. It is and will always be a mystery.
A passionate primary and secondary infertility advocate, Jen Noonan is a freelance writer and counselor in the greater Metro Denver area. She attempts to destigmatize the shame and guilt surrounding infertility and miscarriage. Jen blogs at www.induetimebook.com. In Due Time is her first book.