Falling pregnant isn’t always easy for some women. It’s a journey that often begins with excitement and can turn into an ongoing challenge fraught with stress and feelings of guilt or blame.
Fertility challenges can seem unfair and you may question why you were dealt a bad hand. When assessing these types of problems, it’s important to have a good understanding of the factors that may be impacting your ability to conceive. Understanding the reasons behind it can give you some comfort and control.
The process of falling pregnant can be greatly influenced by lifestyle changes and healthcare intervention. Unfortunately, infertility can affect one in six couples and presents when one or both partners contribute to an unsuccessful conception after 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse.¹
Factors contributing to infertility
Understanding Female Infertility
Numerous factors affect the probability of conception for both males and females: age, hormonal imbalances, internal disorders, gynaecological issues, deficiencies, and environmental influences, to name a few.¹
Female fertility is closely correlated with menstrual health as the same hormones set the tone for both conception and menstruation. As women reach 25-30 years of age, their fertility begins to decline. And over time, the number of ovarian cells available for conception decreases, while the number of genetic chromosomal abnormalities in the eggs increases.
There are also external factors at play. Emotions and stress also cause hormone imbalances and impact organ function. In particular, physical and dietary stress can disrupt hormonal metabolism and delay or halt ovulation. ¹ ⁴
Understanding Male Infertility
Watch Dr Scott Ling address male fertility factors here
Male infertility is becoming more common in infertility cases. It can arise from testicular deficiencies, systemic disorders, infections, toxin exposure, genetics, and stress. The number, shape, and movement of sperm have declined and altered exponentially over the past decades.
Chemicals such as the phthalates and BPA in processed foods and their food packaging play a role in disrupting the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing hormones necessary for conception. Smoking, alcohol and anabolic steroid use and obesity can also increase the likelihood of infertility in both men and women. The presence of sub- or infertility in a couple can cause greater strain, inducing more internal stress in both partners.
It is important to acknowledge that fertility can be enhanced through lifestyle changes and healthcare intervention.²
How Chinese Medicine Assists with Natural Conception
First, let’s explore how Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture works
Traditional Chinese Medicine (or commonly abbreviated as TCM) is based on the concepts of Yin and Yang. Yin correlates to the structures of the internal body and the various fluids it holds while Yang corresponds to the functions of these structures and the energy that drives bodily functions.
Stemming from Yin is Blood and from Yang is Qi.
Certain organs store or help move Blood through the channels via Qi to foster a healthy body. Chinese Medicine works to harmonise any imbalances in the body’s Yin, Yang, Qi, and Blood.
Acupuncture manipulates the flow of Qi in cases of deficiency and built-up stagnation of Qi and/or Blood. In other words, it sends chemical signals along neurohormonal pathways to create a desired effect in the body.⁷
Chinese Medicine and Fertility
For fertility, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can assist with⁶:
- Unblocking Tubal obstructions
- Regulating menstrual cycles
- Improving uterine blood flow
- Boosting the immune function
- Managing anxiety, depression and stress
In Chinese Medicine, fertility relies on functioning organs and channels. The health of organs are affected by emotions, lifestyle habits, and genetics. It is important to prepare the uterus and menstrual cycle for a pregnancy. Preparation should start as soon as the body is ready for reproduction, however, intervention up to 6-12 months before conception will also highly benefit the process. In the menstrual and immediate post-menstrual period, Qi, Blood, and Yin are nourished.
In the ovulatory phase, we move Qi and Blood.
Post-ovulatory, Qi and Yang are tonified (which refers to increasing available energy). In the premenstrual phase, the Liver is soothed and softened. This also regulates the menstrual cycle, leading to a PMS-free, pain-free, clot-free menses.⁷
A long-term healthy lifestyle is significant in powering the process of conception and pregnancy. A deficiency in Blood or Yin will leave the organs and channels weak and empty, preventing pregnancy. Chronic pent-up emotions can stagnate the free-flow of Qi and cause disharmony between the organs and channels. A poor diet will further obstruct the Qi flow. If Blood cannot flow freely to and from the uterus, conception may not occur.
Chinese Medicine and acupuncture aim to strengthen the organs and channels necessary for a smooth pregnancy and balance any Yin/Yang/Qi/Blood pathologies in the body. Each individual presents with a different pattern, so your treatment in Chinese Medicine will be personalised depending on your presentation.⁴ ⁷
Natural Conception with Chinese Medicine at Sustain Health
A comprehensive analysis in managing natural conception is the reason why our treatments can be effective. If you are experiencing challenges in conceiving or would like additional support in creating a healthy pregnancy, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Sustain Health.
We will provide you with professional advice and create a customised Chinese medicine treatment that supports you throughout every stage of your pregnancy.
You might also find these articles helpful:
- Early Pregnancy Care with Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
- Preventing Miscarriages with Chinese Medicine
- Borght, M. V., & Wyns, C. (2018). Fertility and infertility: Definition and epidemiology. Clinical Biochemistry, 62, 2–10. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2018.03.012
- Kumar, N., & Singh, A. K. (2015). Trends of male factor infertility, an important cause of infertility: A review of literature. Journal of human reproductive sciences, 8(4), 191–196. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-1208.170370
- Thurston, L., Abbara, A., & Dhillo, W. S. (2019). Investigation and management of subfertility. Journal of Clinical Pathology, 72(9), 579–587. doi: 10.1136/jclinpath-2018-205579
- Marchment, R. (2007). Gynaecology revisited: obstetrics and gynaecology for practitioners of Chinese medicine. New York: Churchill Livingstone
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). Australia’s mothers and babies data visualisations. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mothers-babies/australias-mothers-babies-data-visualisations
- Xi, J., Chen, H., Peng, Z. H., Tang, Z. X., Song, X., & Xia, Y. B. (2018). Effects of Acupuncture on the Outcomes of Assisted Reproductive Technology: An Overview of Systematic Reviews. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 7352735. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/7352735
- Maciocia, G. (2015). The foundations of Chinese medicine: a comprehensive text. Edinburgh: Elsevier.