Categories > Nutrition

Canadian Infertility Awareness: FREE ONLINE EVENT

SATURDAY, APRIL 30
2 – 4PM MDT

FREE ONLINE EVENT:

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PCRM

Are you Trying To Conceive?

#1in6 people struggle with fertility in Canada.

April 24 – 30 is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week – an opportunity to honour and empower those struggling with infertility.

Join us for this free online event to de-stigmatize infertility and to support you as you navigate your fertility journey.

Join the Whole Family Health Fertility Wellness Specialist Team, in collaboration with Dr. Caitlin Dunne from Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine (PCRM) for this informative and empowering online event.

This event is open to anyone who would like to attend.

Saturday, April 30th
2 – 4pm MDT

To Register:
info@wholefamilyhealth.ca
780-756-7736

EVENT PRESENTERS:

NAVIGATING INFERTILITY TREATMENTS & BUSTING COMMON MYTHS ABOUT IVF

Dr. Caitlin Dunne
Co-Clinical Director of PCRM, Reproductive Endocrinologist

Dr. Dunne will speak to fertility treatment options and help to debunk common myths about IVF. She will also be available for a Q&A to answer your questions about fertility treatment.

INFERTILITY & STRESS

Dr. Alda Ngo
WFH Co-owner, Registered Dr of TCM & Acupuncturist, Fellow of the ABORMCo-Director of MindfulnessForFertility.com

Dr. Alda will discuss infertility stress and share some accessible tools and resources that will help to decrease stress and cortisol to increase resilience on your fertility journey.

NATURAL LIFESTYLE FACTORS

Christina Pistotnik
WFH Co-owner, Registered Acupuncturist, Fellow of the ABORM

Christina will share some natural and simple lifestyle factors that you can incorporate to support your overall wellness and fertility health.

ACUPRESSURE FOR FERTILITY

Catherine Woodlock
WFH Registered Acupuncturist

Catherine will share some acupressure points you can use at home to help improve circulation, manage hormonal symptoms and support your fertility.

MASSAGE FOR REPRODUCTIVE WELLNESS

Candice Cole
WFH Registered Massage Therapist

Candice will share self-massage techniques you can use at home to help you relax and alleviate tension build-up.

FERTILE FOODS – 5 NUTRITIONAL TIPS FOR FERTILITY

Kathryn Simmons Flynn
WFH Certified Nutrition Consultant, Founder of FertileFoods.com, Author of Cooking For Fertility and Co-author of The Fertile Secret

Kathryn will share her 5 top nutritional tips for nourishing fertility.

To Register:
info@wholefamilyhealth.ca
780-756-7736

Support for Lining Thickness

I have been seeing a number of patients in the clinic recently that have had issues in the past with their Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) because their uterine (endometrial) lining has not been thick enough for embryo implantation. The optimal uterine lining is at least 8 mm in thickness and has a three-layer (trilaminar) appearance. 

To help support the growth of your endometrial lining, I tend to advise on supplements, diet, acupuncture treatments, and of course following the advice of your Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). Your RE follows a protocol that they deem will yield the highest success and therefore it is important to trust and follow their advice. 

Supplements and Medication 

When it comes to medications and supplements to help support the growth of the endometrium, I tend to site a pilot study that was published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility (1). This study compares Vitamin E, L-Arginine, and Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) in 61 women with thin endometrial lining (less than 8mm) and a high radial artery-resistance index (RA-RI) . Radial artery-resistance is associated with lower pregnancy outcomes. 

The study found that vitamin E improved endometrial thickness in 52% and RA-RI in 72% of participants. L-arginine improved endometrial thickness in 67% and RA-RI in 89% of participants. Sildenafil citrate (Viagra) improved thickness and RA-RI in 92% of participants. The control group (no medication) improved in both parameters in 10% of participants.  

It is important to speak to a practitioner about dosages of Vitamin E and L-arginine. If Sildenafil citrate is something that you wanted to explore you would have to talk to your RE about this, because they would need to write a prescription. 

Diet

I know it might seem like a no-brainer to eat a healthy and balanced diet to help with good blood flow and overall health, but did you know that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) also places importance on eating warm foods?

This includes eating foods that are cooked and not raw. The thought behind this is that a warming diet builds the body’s energy and blood to have the strength to conceive and carry a pregnancy full term. It also helps focus energy and blood circulation on the lower abdomen where reproductive organs reside.

With this in mind, I suggest making a big batch of bone broth and drinking 1 cup of this warm liquid every day for 2-4 weeks leading up to your transfer. Bone broth is high in nutrients, minerals, and collagen that can support the body on a blood level.

Another suggestion that is completely anecdotal but also yummy is drinking 1 cup of pure pomegranate juice per day for 2-4 weeks.  

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has the potential to support the uterine lining because it increases blood flow to the reproductive organs, and it can help to reduce central sympathetic tone and this may lower uterine contractions at the time of embryo transfer. When the uterus is calmer at the time of embryo transfer this has the possibility of a better embryo placement. 

A small study done on central sympathetic tone showed that electroacupuncture did reduce the pulsatility index of those who had greater than 3 (2). Having a pulsatility index of 3 or higher at the time of transfer tends to have a less likely chance of a live birth (3). 

Another small pilot study published in Fertility and Sterility evaluating combining electro acupuncture and Sildenafil on the endometrial lining thickness showed positive results (4). This study provided evidence that combining these two treatments resulted in endometrial lining thickness of greater than 9 mm in all participants who could not reach greater than 8 mm in previous cycles and these positive results included one patient whose lining did not exceed 5 mm previously.

Contact us to find out more about how we can support you with acupuncture and lifestyle support for uterine lining assistance and/or to book an appointment with our wonderful practitioners!

Image http://basiabanda.pl/

References

  1. PMID: 19200982
  2. PMID: 8671446
  3. PMID: 9363232
  4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.01.203

WFH on Real Talk with Ryan Jespersen!

Dr. Alda Ngo had the pleasure of joining a roundtable on Real Talk With Ryan Jespersen, one of Canada’s most popular live talk show/ podcasts.

Dr. Alda was joined by 3 other people intimate with the infertility journey, Ryan Jespersen himself sharing about his own experience.

A wonderful and meaningful conversation on infertility from the inside, the thoughts, emotions, the logistics, finances and a little bit of science.

Here’s the write-up:

It’s Canadian Infertility Awareness Week, so we check in with Dr. Alda Ngo, Kristina Melia, and Linda Hoang. What new options exist for Canadians hoping to start a family, what are some of the most significant barriers they’ll face, and what proactive steps can people take to improve their chances?

Join us for our free virtual CIAW event: Infertility During A Pandemic. Sunday, April 25th 2-330pm MT as we team up with Dr. Caitlin Dunne from PCRM and 3 courageous fertility patients who share their stories. Contact us for more info and to register.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can support you on your fertility journey, book a Free 15-minute Phone Consultation with one of our fertility specialists.

Fertility: Nourishing the Soil & Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds

I am so excited to be getting a head start on my garden this year. I’ve started planting my seedlings indoors. Am I the only one who gets extremely excited seeing tiny little leaves poking through the soil?! When I look at the steps I’ve taken to help nurture and grow these seeds into healthy plants, it reminds me of our own fertility.

I wanted to be sure that the seeds had the proper environment to start their growth and thrive by using nutrient rich soil, plenty of sunlight, fresh water, and even little good music. Maybe I am the crazy plant lady after all… But these basic needs do affect how well and healthy these seedlings will grow. So how can we set the stage for our own seeds. Where do we begin?

Nourishing The Soil

In our busy schedules it’s so very easy to neglect our diets. You may find yourself rushing through your day to find it’s already dinner time, you haven’t had a chance to even plan a healthy meal and you turn to a quick option such a take out. 

To help avoid us getting caught in this cycle, I recommend starting your Sunday off by making it a family affair. Get your household involved and plan your meals for the week. Bonus points if you can meal prep! This will help take the stress out of what you are making for the week and allow you to choose healthy nutrient-dense meals. 

This will help you limit the consumption of refined sugar, carbs, dairy, which all can negatively affect our reproductive systems. Why should we do this? Because it affects how your cells function!

As seen in data collected from the Nurses Health Study II, the following were associated with enhanced fertility:

·         Higher intake of dietary sources of non-heme iron (green leafy vegetables and other plant foods relatively high in iron)

·         Higher intake of high-fiber, low glycemic carbohydrates.

·         Lower intake of animal protein and greater intake of Vegetable Protein

·         Lower intake of trans-fatty acids and greater intake of monounsaturated fats

·         Higher frequency of multivitamin use

·         Not smoking

·         Being physically active (30 minutes of more of vigorous activity per day)

·         BMI between 20 and 25

·         (This wasn’t in the study) but being kind to ourselves, having grace with ourselves. Fertility journeys can be full of ups and downs. We often are so hard on ourselves, but just as you love and nurture others, give the same to your own garden.

So, bring out your old school hard copy calendars and start prepping some healthy fertile foods. If this still feels overwhelming to you, we have an amazing nutritionist on our team, Kathryn Flynn, author of Cooking for Fertility and co-author of The Fertile Secret. She is located in the US, but offers online nutritional consultations and programs for fertility. She applies Eastern food cure principals, which are in alignment with our treatment plan. Here is a link to her website: https://fertilefoods.com.

Not only is it important to make healthy food choices, mealtimes also impact your overall health. In Chinese medicine the peak time for our stomach to digest is 7-9am. This is an important time to try to have your breakfast, to allow our bodies the optimal energy they require for processing our food properly. The same applies with dinnertime, we should be trying to get dinners in earlier than 7-9pm as this is the stomach’s rest period.

These are some lifestyle changes that you do have control over. Oftentimes with fertility, it can feel as though you don’t have control over anything. But you do! So whether you are preparing your body for TTC or have been on your fertility journey, I hope you are able to implement some of these suggestions. It’s good to reflect and ask yourself, have you been fuelling your body and cells with the proper nutrients? Have you been hydrating yourself? Have you taken the time to be present and fill up your own cup?

Ask yourself, what does your garden need today?

PMID: 17978119

Image: Rosegrown.com @rosegrown

Canadian Infertility Awareness: Infertility During A Pandemic

April 18 – 24 is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week.

Roughly 1 in 6 who are trying to conceive in Canada experience infertility & this number has doubled since the 1980’s.

Research shows that the psychological symptoms associated with infertility are similar to those associated with other serious medical conditions like heart disease, cancer and HIV.

Infertility is already unpredictable, but with the added stresses of the pandemic, fertility patients are having to not only grapple with economic and societal uncertainty, but also disruption to fertility treatments related to fertility clinic closures and limited elective in-office services.

Many patients who are already on tight biological timelines are finding themselves under even more pressure.

Surveys conducted since the onset of the pandemic have revealed that infertility remains a top stressor, despite the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

The stress of infertility remains significant & is comparable to the pandemic itself.

For fertility patients, when, why, how & where become whether, if, what if or even oh no.

There are already so many loaded decisions to be made in the face of uncertainty when dealing with infertility, and all of these are made extra difficult with hormonally influenced emotions. The pandemic only complicates the process.

Additional common questions that fertility patients are having to deal with are:

“ Is it safe for me to get bloodwork & ultrasound while exposing myself to potential COVID-19 in the office?”

“ I don’t want to wait any longer, but what are the implications of starting a potentially high risk pregnancy during a pandemic?”

“How will I grieve failed treatments or delays if I can’t even get together with my community.”

“ Will my partner be able to join me for this appointment or will I have to face it alone?”

“ What if I start a treatment cycle & we have to cancel midway through because there’s a lock down again? “

Infertility is Isolating

Infertility is already an isolating experience, which is also exacerbated by the isolation of the pandemic. As fertility specialists, and in honour of CIAW, we’d like to recognize those who are currently struggling to grow your families and the hardships that you endure, often alone and in silence.

That’s why we are teaming up with Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine (PCRM) & 3 courageous women who have struggled with infertility, to offer a free virtual event on Sunday, April 25th from 2 – 3:30pm.

Together, we are taking the opportunity to educate, openly share stories, empower and change the conversation around infertility. We want you to know that you are not alone and offer you some hope and inspiration.

Join us online:

Infertility During a Pandemic

Sunday, April 25th from 2 – 3:30pm MDT

Three courageous women will share their personal fertility journeys & what has helped them most along the way.

Dr. Caitlin Dunne, Co-director of PCRM will speak to infertility & treatment options, as well as the impacts of COVID-19 on fertility & treatments.

With the increased stressors of dealing with infertility during the pandemic, WFH’s Dr. Alda Ngo will be offering some free evidence-based mindfulness tools to help you deal with fertility stress.

WFH natural fertility specialist, Christina Pistotnik will share some accessible lifestyle advice to empower you to support and optimize your fertility during this time.

Click here for more information

Or

Register:

Info@wholefamilyhealth.ca

780.756.7736

Stay tuned for more blogs throughout the month for more tips on how to support yourself on your fertility journey!

To find out more about how we can support you with your fertility, book a free 15-minute phone consultation with one our fertility specialists.

Top 5 Supplements for Endometriosis Symptom Relief

March is Endometriosis awareness month and I get a lot of questions about what supplements can help to relieve Endometriosis symptoms.  

The following are some of the symptoms and their causes that are often experienced by people who suffer from endometriosis: 

Symptom Cause 
Heavy periods Excess estrogen 
Ovarian cysts

Inflammation
Excess estrogen
Endometrial cells outside of the uterus 

Inter-menstrual pain (usually mid-month)


Inflammation due to presence of excess endometrial tissue

Menstrual cramps that increase in severity
Inflammation due to presence of excess endometrial tissue

Painful bowel movements and urination

Endometrial tissue adhering to bowel/uterine tissue (excess estrogen and inflammation) 

Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)

Endometrial tissue adhering to vaginal / cervical tissue

Pelvic pain that is all-encompassing
Increased inflammation 

Spotting between periods 
Excess estrogen / hormone imbalance


Supplements that could help with these symptoms and causes include:

1. DIM (diindolylmethane)

DIM is found in cruciferous vegetables (ie. cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, etc). DIM is anti-inflammatory in nature and is metabolized similarly to estrogen. This helps promote healthy estrogen breakdown and removal from the body. Women with endometriosis are estrogen dominant (meaning high levels of estrogen are present) and that is why proper estrogen metabolism is important. 

A 2018 study looked at the clinical effects of DIM supplementation, DNG (Dienegist-*a prescribed medication) alone, and a combination of DNG and DIM in women with endometriosis (1).

DNG and DIM both inhibited the growth of endometrial cells. Endometrial tissues from women with and without endometriosis were exposed to DIM, DNG, or both. Endometrial cell life was decreased with DIM supplementation alone (25%) significantly more than with DNG alone (9%) and had a more improved effect when used in combination (40%) (1). 

** NOTE: People who are trying to conceive should not use DNG because it inhibits ovulation. However, DIM on its own can be taken by people trying to conceive.

2. Curcumin (Turmeric)  

Curcumin is an active component in turmeric and has proven anti-inflammatory properties as well as other potentially health-promoting characteristics, such as hormone-regulating abilities.

Research on curcumin for the treatment of endometriosis is limited, however, a 2013 study found that it can help reduce endometriosis epithelial cells (these are the cells that adhere to parts of the body outside of the uterus) by reducing excess estrogen production (2)

A 2020 review published by the Journal of Molecular Science suggests that curcumin may provide relief from endometriosis-related inflammation and directly act on decreasing adhesion and invasion of new lesions, shrinking existing lesions and stimulating angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation) to healthy cells (3). The authors do suggest that further research is needed to strengthen these findings.

3. Milk thistle

Milk thistle is a plant that contains silymarin, which decreases inflammation and supports healthy liver function.

The liver is important to help manage endometriosis, it’s responsible for filtering out toxins in the body, including excess hormones such as estrogen. As stated previously, endometriosis is an estrogen-dominant condition and endometrial lesions depend on estrogen for development and growth. 

** NOTE: Milk thistle should not be taken if you are on certain medications for depression, diabetes, blood clotting disorders or to help lower cholesterol. Please speak to a qualified practitioner before taking milk thistle. 

4. NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) 

NAC is an amino acid derivative. It is a precursor to glutathione production in the liver, which is one of the body’s most important antioxidants.

NAC restores cellular ability to fight damage from oxidative stress, reduces inflammation, improves cellular detox, and helps regulate the gene that produces pro-inflammatory prostaglandins.

In a 2013 study of 92 women in Italy, 47 took NAC and 45 took a placebo. The study showed that NAC decreased abnormal cell growth, decreased inflammation and reduced inflammatory genes. Also, 24 patients in the NAC group cancelled their scheduled laparoscopies, due to a decrease or disappearance of endometriosis, improved pain reduction or because they had become pregnant! In the other group, only one patient cancelled surgery (4). 

5. Omega-3 

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil contain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). This combination can reduce the production of molecules and substances linked to inflammation, such as inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines

A 2010 study published in Human Reproduction that took place over 12 years, showed that women who consume the highest amounts of omega -3 fatty acids were 22% less likely to be diagnosed with laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis when compared with women who had the lowest intake of Omega 3 fatty acids. Conversely, those that consumed high amounts of trans-unsaturated fat intake were 48% more likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis (5) 

Furthermore, some small European studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids reduce the symptoms of dysmenorrhea (painful periods). Researchers believe that prostaglandins (PGs) play a pathogenic part in both endometriosis and dysmenorrhea. Omega 3-fatty acids from fish act as anti-inflammatories in endometriosis and dysmenorrhea by reducing the pro-inflammatory PGs derived from omega-6 fatty acids (processed meat and red meat), and the associated symptoms of endometriosis and dysmenorrhea (6) 

In Summary

I know this list seems like a lot of pills to swallow (pardon my pun)!

Fortunately the first three supplements (DIM, Curcumin, and Milk Thistle) can be found in a single formulation. I recommend Estrovantage by BioClinic or EstroSmart by Lorna Vanderhaeghe.

NAC and Omega 3’s need to be taken separately. 

I do want to stress that supplement intake should not replace the care of a medical doctor and the importance of consulting with a qualified health practitioner before taking any dietary supplements. Not all supplements are safe to take and there is no one-size-fits-all plan. Practitioners at Whole Family Health look at everyone individually and make decisions based on each person’s needs. 

If you would like to find out how we can help you, please feel free to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.

References 

  1. PMID: 30001982
  2. PMID: 24639774
  3. PMID: 32244563
  4. PMID: 23737821
  5. PMID: 20332166
  6. PMID: 23642910

Image: IG@theurbanharvest

How to Supplement Nutrient Depletion From Oral Contraceptives

What Are Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives (OC). The pill. Birth control. A method of contraception that has been available in Canada since the 1960’s and according to Stats Canada it is one of the most frequently used medications by Canadian women. These pills can contain a combination of both estrogen and progestin, as well as progestin only packs. 

The pill can be used to prevent pregnancy by stopping the body from ovulating. It is also used to manage side effects of the menstrual cycle like heavy, painful periods, irregular and unpredictable cycles, and skin concerns like acne that are menstrual cycle and hormone related. 

Oral Contraceptives & Micronutrients

But did you know that these hormonal contraceptives can also alter the metabolism of vitamins and micronutrients in your body and may leave some of these stores depleted or deficient in your body with long term use?

A 2012 study compared the blood serum levels of vitamin B12 in oral contraceptive (OC) users versus those without OC and noted a significant decrease in serum B12 levels during the first 6 months of OC use. Long term use without proper supplementation or dietary supply, as you could imagine, could result in a deficiency over time.

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that is used for DNA synthesis and supports the function of nerve cells. It is readily available in animal products, fortified or added to some foods.

A review of the literature found that OC tend to depress levels of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folacin (folic acid), vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc and elevate levels of vitamin K, copper, and iron.

How to Supplement

Riboflavin and pyridoxine can both be obtained from animal products like meat and eggs.

Folacin or folic acid can be found in leafy green vegetables – think spinach, brussel sprouts, and asparagus.

Vitamin B12 is obtained through animal products like eggs, meat and dairy, as well as fortified cereals. Just be sure to check the labels of your food, especially if animal products are not a part of your diet. 

Food sources of zinc include meat, shellfish, seeds like hemp hearts or nuts, such as cashews and almonds.

Sources rich in vitamin C of course include oranges and surprisingly broccoli and brussel sprouts as well. 

It is important to discuss these effects of OC with your healthcare provider and ensure that you are able to maintain proper vitamin and mineral intake either through diet or the appropriate supplementation to maintain optimum health. 

For more information, contact us for a free 15-minute phone consultation.

References

  1. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2015010/article/14222-eng.htm
  2. PMID: 22464408
  3. PMID: 7001015

Image: IG via @dearklaude

Chinese Medicine Postnatal Care

The postnatal period is considered the first six weeks after childbirth. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the postnatal period is a very vulnerable time for the mother. 

The First Hundred Days

The first three days after birth are seen as a time of elimination, then followed by 30-100 days of rest in order to replenish blood and Qi energy that is lost through pregnancy and childbirth.

At this time, physical rest should be taken at any opportunity possible. Exercise can be appropriate (once given the okay by your doctor or Midwife) and a diet tailored to a woman’s constitutional needs should be followed.

Acupuncture and TCM as part of postnatal care can significantly reduce and prevent disharmonies from developing, such as depression/anxiety, persistent uterine bleeding, after-pains, night sweating, perineal discomfort, insufficient lactation, mastitis and breast abscesses.

Here Are Some Guiding Principals:

Avoid Cold and Stay Warm

When compared to previous Chinese times, nowadays it is much easier to keep ourselves warm with internal heating, hot baths and showers.

However, it is still important to avoid being exposed to extremely cold temperatures and wind. Do not go outside with wet hair, avoid sleeping or breastfeeding by open windows or fans, and avoid getting chilled from leaving swimming pools, hot showers and baths.

A diet of cold, and raw foods should also be avoided. Although foods such as yogurt, iced water/juice, raw salads, vegetables and sandwiches are usually quick and easy for a brand new post-natal mom, these foods can be detrimental to postnatal recovery, and can exacerbate certain conditions.

Postnatal Diet According to Chinese Medicine

This advice can be some of the most important when it comes to aiding in postnatal recovery. A woman’s underlying constitution needs to be considered when using diet therapy and should be prescribed by a trained Acupuncturist or Nutritionist.

Below are some basic guidelines for all new mothers to help build Qi energy and Blood.

Foods to Fortify Qi Energy

Oats, rice, potato, sweet potato, mushroom (button & shitake), yam, basil, cinnamon, clove, dill, fennel, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary, thyme and jasmine tea.

Foods to Build Blood

Corn, sweet rice, beetroot, all dark leafy greens, apricot, avocado, date, kidney bean, sesame seeds, egg and soya milk as well as iron rich foods like red meat and spinach.

Cooking Methods

Not only do the foods we eat matter when it comes to postnatal care, but so does how we prepare them. Cooked foods are easier on our digestive system, and allows the nutrients to be more readily absorbed. Warm soups are considered particularly nourishing for women in the initial postnatal weeks.

Mother Warming

“Mother Warming” is a useful one-time treatment given to women four to five days post birth. It is used to aid in recovery and energize the woman after childbirth by replenishing Qi energy and Blood lost during childbirth.

Moxa or Mugwort, a Chinese herb, is burned and used to heat the woman’s abdomen from the pubic bone to the belly button for 5-10 minutes or until the woman feels pleasantly warm.

If possible, this technique is also recommended on the lower back area as well, along the midline from the second lumbar vertebra to the sacrum for 5-10 minutes or until the woman feels pleasantly warm.

Caution:

It is important to note that this treatment should not be done if the woman is experiencing night sweating, has a raised temperature or if there are signs of retained placental products, as the use of moxa could cause further problems.

Please avoid moxa over a cesarean scar that appears to be infected, have redness or a pus-like discharge.

It’s best to consult with a trained Acupuncturist to ensure that there are no heat signs or other contraindications for the application of Mother Warming.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a great way to treat, and prevent postnatal disharmonies from arising after childbirth. 

Following Mother Warming, acupuncture and further moxa treatments 10 -14 days post birth can be administered to further assist the body in building good quality Qi energy and Blood to help with recovery.

Treatments once a week for two to three weeks is optimal.

To find out more about how we can help you with postpartum support, book a free 15-minute phone consult.

Source:

Debra Betts: The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth

Image:

Alina Gross IG @alina.gross

Pregnancy Nutrition: Foods To Build A Healthy Baby

Many people understand the importance of eating healthy during pregnancy because food plays a huge role in a baby’s development. Many cultures around the world have famous foods that are prized for nourishing people before, during and after pregnancy.

Your body will do everything in its power to reproduce successfully, however it’s up to you to provide it with the necessary nutrients to build the healthiest baby possible.

The Plate Method

A good place to start is by having a good balance of macro and micro-nutrients at each meal (vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins and fats).

The plate method is an excellent guideline to use when planning meals and measuring proportions. Aim for half of your plate being composed of non-starchy vegetables, one quarter composed of protein and fats, and the remaining quarter composed of fruits or vegetables.

For example:

  • 2 or more cups of vegetables with some healthy fat, like a good quality oil or avocado.
  • 3-4 oz of protein, either plant-based or animal-based
  • 1/2 cup of starchy or root vegetables 

If you feel better on a low carb diet, aim for less starch and more greens, healthy fat and protein.

The Plate Method Components:

1. Protein

Strive to have a variety of protein sources in your diet to ensure you get a good balance of amino acids and other key vitamins and minerals. Try not to get caught in eating the same thing again and again.

For example:

  • Organic beef, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey
  • Seafood (wild caught)
  • Organ meats such as liver, heart, kidney
  • Eggs (pasture raised, organic)
  • Almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seats, chia seeds
  • Beans, peas, lentils, brown rice

2. Fat

Your body’s need for fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K)  increases during pregnancy. A baby’s brain is made up of 60% fat and depends on omega fatty acids, choline, and fat soluble vitamins for development. The key is to prioritize high quality/healthy fats and avoid trans and saturated fats.

For example:

  • Fish
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Olives, coconuts, avocados
  • Organic butter or ghee

Avoid processed vegetable oils such as corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, peanut oil or margarine. Try to stay away from anything deep fried or processed, as they are usually cooked in these low quality oils.

3. Vegetables

Vegetables are little powerhouses packed with vitamins and minerals necessary for building baby’s bones, blood, joints and much more. Aim to fill half your plate with an assortment of vegetables. And just like protein, don’t get caught up in only eating the same few vegetables again and again. Choose from a wide variety of vegetables.

For example:

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Bells pepper
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels Sprout
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Greens: spinach, kale, collards, watercress, bok choy, arugula, dandelion
  • Tomato
  • Leek
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Radish
  • Zucchini
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Snap pea
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Sweet potato
  • Beet

4. Fruit

Fruit is an excellent source of hydration, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. These are all required for collagen/skin formation, immune development, iron absorption, wound healing and much more.

When craving something sweet, try fruit such as baked apples & cinnamon, peaches & yogurt or a berry smoothie. Try to satisfy your sweet tooth with whole foods.

For example:

  • Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Bananas
  • Mangoes
  • Melons

5. Fluids

When you’re pregnant, your fluid intake needs to increase. Your baby is swimming in amniotic fluid and your blood volume increases significantly. Water plays a huge role in nutrient absorption, digestion, transporting oxygen, and more.

Try to drink good filtered & mineralized water. Chlorine in tap water disrupts the gut flora for both the pregnant parent and the baby. Aim for about 10 cups of water a day.

In Summary

Make it a priority to add more real foods and minimize processed foods.

Think variety! Try to avoid eating the same dishes over and over again, incorporate new proteins, new vegetables, and new fruits.

Eat healthy omega-rich fats and avoid trans or saturated fats.

Stay hydrated!

For more information on how we can help you optimize your Pregnancy Nutrition, book a free 15-minute online consultation today!

Sperm: Canary In The Coalmine

It is Movember again, and we want to honour the health struggles that men come up against. Research shows there is a worldwide gender health gap. Men tend to be in worse health than women. Education and prevention strategies are vital in tackling men’s health issues including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health/suicide prevention.  

Sperm Are A Biomarker For Overall Wellness

Because we specialize in reproductive health, we come across all kinds of interesting data. A widely cited meta-analysis published in the Journal of Human Reproduction in 2017 tells us that out of 43,000 men from North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia – sperm counts per millilitre of semen declined more than 50% between 1973 and 2011.

Total sperm counts decreased by almost 60%. So men are producing less semen and that semen has fewer sperm cells in it and the rate of decline is steady.

Research also tells us that sperm are a biomarker for overall health, so this is kind of a wake up call, canary in the coal mine situation.

There’s all kinds of debate as to what the cause is. Surely the cause is multi-factorial: more toxins in the environment, poor diet, lack of exercise, etc…  

The good news is, studies also tell us that there are things men can do to be proactive and improve their overall health and reproductive health.

3 Ways to Improve Sperm Health And Longevity:

1. Nourishment

Eat mindfully. It’s not just about what you eat, but how you eat. Be aware of what you are eating and where it comes from. Slow down and enjoy it.

Studies show that when you slow down and pay attention to the flavours and textures of your food and take the time to chew, you will enjoy your meals more, feel more satiated and be more in touch with when you are full, which prevents over-eating.

Your body will be able to digest and assimilate nutrients more efficiently and you will cultivate a healthy positive relationship with food, based on enjoyment rather than restriction.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture increases blood flow, decreases inflammation and stress and regulates hormones. It has been shown to effectively treat depression, anxiety,  and improve sperm health.

3. Mindful Meditation

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to down-regulate pro-inflammatory genes. It decreases stress and cortisol and even boosts immunity. It has also been shown to help couples going through fertility treatments.

These are just a few things you can do to support sperm health and overall health. Book in for a free 15 minute phone consult if you have any questions about how we can help you!

Visit our Events Page to learn about our upcoming Mindfulness Programs.

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