While there are many studies that prove that acupuncture and herbal medicine do indeed promote fertility, many women still questions how and why they work. I've created this four-part post to familiarize you with each phase of your menstrual cycle. You will learn how acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can help to increase fertility during each phase, as well as gain tips and pointers that you can implement yourself to help to increase your own fertility.
While I do recommend some common herbal formulas for each phase, please note that each woman has very specific needs. I highly recommend that you see a Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist to give you personalized recommendations based on your specific diagnosis.
This is the phase in our cycle during which ovulation should occur, usually between days 12-16. It's considered a time when we need an abundance of qi, or energy, as ovulation requires a burst of energy to release the egg from the follicle. Our body also requires enough qi to encourage the egg to travel from the ovary through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. Without adequate qi, the egg might instead implant in the fallopian tube wall. On our basal body chart, we're looking for a spike in temperature, remaining elevated for at least 2 days. This is a good indicator that we have, indeed, ovulated, as ovulation allows for a release of progesterone, which is warmer than estrogen in temperature. If you see a slow to rise temperature on your BBT chart, this is a good indication that acupuncture and herbal medicine can help you. Ovulation might be occurring, but it might not be reaching the uterus in time for fertilization to take place.
How Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Improve Fertility:
Increase the body's qi to allow for ovulation.
Remove stagnation that could impede or delay stagnation.
Increase production of fertile cervical (egg-white) fluid.
Mid-cycle is a great time to come in for acupuncture, to encourage ovulation. A formula that I recommend often is Jade Moon Phase 3, which helps promote ovulation.
Phase 3 Tips:
Move your Body
While running or intense aerobic activity is usually not recommended when fertility is an issue, Phase 3 is a good time to get moving. A brisk walk is the perfect exercise for this time.
If ovulation tends to be an issue, consider eliminating dairy, ideally for the entire cycle. If you are sensitive to dairy, it can create mucus (we see it as dampness, in TCM) that can stagnate your energy. It's like your body trying to function in pea soup. Sugar and refined flour can also increase dampness in the body. Instead, consume foods that encourage the movement of qi, like garlic, scallions and chives and leafy green vegetables.
3. Get Busy!
I would think it's fairly obvious, but you'd be surprised how many women only have sex with their partner once ovulation has already occurred and they see a smiley face on their ovulation test. I like to think of the egg as a major diva. Waiting until after you ovulate would be like Mariah Carey getting onstage to an empty auditorium, with people filing in through the doors only after she's begun performing. Fill that house with sperm, ladies! The egg wants to arrive to be greeted by those little guys! If you tend to ovulate on Day 14, start having sex every other day beginning on Day 8 through day 16.
While these posts are mainly focused on helping women to improve their fertility, it is important for our partners to be tested too if you have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for a while. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can improve sperm quality, count and morphology. During this time in our cycle, it could be helpful to do a post-coital semen analysis. That means going in to remove the sperm from your body to see how the sperm fares in your cervical mucus. It sounds a little invasive, but it's a really simple test that can tell us a lot.
Learn more about Increasing Fertility with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs.