EPISODE 59 | COULD YOU BE A CANDIDATE FOR EFFORTLESS IVF? | Drs. Kathy & Kevin Doody

Description:

This week’s episode is all about innovation in IVF. The highly esteemed reproductive endocrinologists, Drs. Kathy and Kevin Doody came on to talk about their process of what they call “effortless IVF” and how it helps couples conceive. The Doodys talk about their clinic in Bedford, TX,  the specifics of their process, and the changes they have witnessed in over 30 years in the field of assisted reproductive medicine. In my opinion, their use of the INVOcell™ helps to make IVF as close to natural as possible. If you are someone that has hit a wall in terms of the all-natural route or is over the age of 35 and looking to check out your options, I highly recommend you have a listen.

To share your own fertility story, please email me at hillary@ladypotions.com. I look forward to connecting with you, as you are what this podcast is all about.

Takeaways:

[2:06] Dr. Kathy is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and subspecialty board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility. She has received multiple recognitions as one of Fort Worth's Top Docs, as well as one of Texas’ Super doctors. Dr. Kevin is is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and sub-specialty board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility. Dr. Kevin has received multiple honors as one of Fort Worth's Top Docs, one of Texas’ Super Doctors and one of the Best Doctors in America for the last several years. In 2017, Dr. Kevin was recognized with the Resolve National Infertility Association’s Hope Award for Achievement in recognition for his contributions. While Dr. Kevin was serving as president of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), he was instrumental in updating the SART National Summary Data to assist patients in making informed decisions about medical care. Dr. Kevin was also recognized as Microsoft Physician of the Year 2004. And they are married! Which is super cool.

[7:04] Their Center for Assisted Reproduction, CARE Fertility, in Bedford, Texas has an outstanding number of firsts in their location: the first ICSI pregnancy in the geographical area, they were first to successfully implement a blastocyst culture system, first in the world to use the INVOcell™ device in a blastocyst embryo transfer, and even trained the doctor in Virginia who helped the first same-sex couple both carry their baby.

[9:22] IVF, or In Vitro Fertilization, means that the egg is fertilized outside the body. ICSI, or Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, is the placement of a single sperm into the egg. It was invented in Brussels, and the Doodys were at the forefront of its discovery and implementation.

[10:36] A personal happy story! The Doodys had a hand in creating their nephew through ICSI.

[11:11] The INVOcell™ is a plastic capsule shaped like a champagne cork. It is an incubator and allows for the woman to provide the right environment and atmosphere for embryo development. It enters the uterus at the blastocyst stage.

[13:41] Dr. Kathy says it’s important for patients to understand why it makes sense to put the embryo into the body because it reflects what happens naturally in the different stages of ovulation.

[15:30] Part of the quality control is being able to make sure that the egg has normally fertilized, and it does take the place of IUI.

[17:47] The Doodys believe it is better to allow the natural competitive process when you can.

[18:20] Effortless IVF decreases the cost by about 50% and the amount of medication and monitoring that usually come with traditional IVF. The two main factors that are taken into account in a woman are her egg count, which is determined by her Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) levels, and her body weight. The appropriate candidates need to have an AMH higher than 0.8, a body weight less than 190 lbs, and a BMI less than 35.

[23:40] There is a 59% success rate with frozen embryo transfers with no monitoring and transferring only one embryo in patients.

[26:41] The approach is closer to mother nature, as they are able to discern which embryo will transfer successfully.

[30:01] Dr. Kevin explains why the process is so streamlined from a laboratory standpoint, and the minimal interventions that take place in the process.

[33:21] Complex organic systems like variance and the human body is certainly an example of that.

[34:54] The INVOcell™ was founded by Dr. Claude Ranoux, a fertility specialist.

[36:47] This discovery has been a huge win for same-sex couples, as it is opening up new avenues and options for fertilization.

[41:02] Dr. Kathy’s advice for couples looking to conceive, is to realize you aren’t alone, and it is important to be proactive and seek out the options in your area. Dr. Kevin reminds us to not get discouraged, and not to let fear of failure hold you back. It is hard to give up control, and effortless IVF makes the appointments more convenient and less daunting.

 

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

@ladypotions4u

Center for Assisted Reproductive Care

American Society of Reproductive Medicine

Ep #30: “Male Infertility with Dr. Paul Turek”

Effortless IVF

“Comparing blastocyst quality and live birth rates of intravaginal culture using INVOcell™ to traditional in vitro incubation in a randomized open-label prospective controlled trial”

INVO Bioscience

@CareFertilityUS

 

Continue Your Journey:

@ladypotions4u on Instagram

 Disclaimer *

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 57 | A CONVERSATION ABOUT CYCLING WITH THE MOON | Sharna Langlais

Cycling With the Moon — What Does That Even Mean?

Description:

In this week’s episode, we welcome back the highly credentialed Reiki master and Meditation Facilitator Sharna Langlais, what moon cycles have to do with fertility, how you can work with the moon when it comes to your emotions and energy levels, and what exactly it means to cycle with the moon. We give you a brief history of how we have connected with La Luna over the years, ways to practice that honor and respect tradition of connecting with the moon’s deep energy, and a view of how to navigate the moon’s cycle with grace and ease.

 

To share your own fertility story, please email me at hillary@ladypotions.com. I look forward to connecting with you, as you are what this podcast is all about.

Takeaways:

[5:51] When Sharna talks about the moon with her clients, she also talks about the larger cycles of nature and the solstice energy that comes with releasing and shedding the old to welcome the new.

[7:15] Mercury Retrograde usually happens 3 times a year and is typically a 3-week cycle where Mercury appears to be going backward in the night sky. From an astrological standpoint, Mercury rules communication, travels and thought, and is thought to affect decisions, conversations, technology, etc. Sharna sees it as an opportunity to slow down and get more intentional to reevaluate and repurpose our life.

[13:54] As we cycle more with the seasons and look for the opportunities to connect to spiritual traditions, it even goes further back to times in history where we experienced cultural appropriation for our beliefs and traditions. Sharna would like to reframe “paganism,” not as a demonic and satanic term, but as a way to show that we are aligning ourselves with the elements of nature.

[19:28] Moving ourselves out of fear and into research is a huge element of growth and reclaiming information that was lost and taken away from women, from the structures of power and control.

[23:45] To Sharna, cycling with the moon is about being connected to nature, physical bodies and everything that feminine is about: mystery, chaos, observation, openness. Hillary thinks of it as a time when we are most fertile.

[26:35] White moon is the idea that you bleed at the new or the waning moon, and the period is a time and rest and recovery. The red moon means your cycle follows the full moon, and you are most fertile during the new or waning moon. In ancient times, the red moon cycle was said to demonstrate their creativeness outward, and they are focused on self-growth, mentorship, and creativity. The feminine energy allows us to observe and accept what our body is doing on any different day.

[33:40] One of the first things Sharna recommends to get aligned with the moon is just to observe what it is that is happening with their body for three cycles.

[36:11] In olden times they used to offer menstrual blood to the land and fertilize their plants with it. Sharna finds that the “messiness” itself is a feminine energy and our creative energy at our core. She also recommends charting our cycle, moon gazing and spending time with nature and trees.

[44:54] Sharna says all releases are good releases, no matter how society has told us to be shameful of them.

[48:89] The new moon symbolizes new beginnings, and it begins to wax or become fuller leading to when it’s at its fullest at the full moon. We are usually intention-setting around a new moon, and looking at what we would like to create over the next period. Traditionally, full moon cycles honor fertility and celebrate releasing what is no longer necessary.

full.png


[56:02] When you start to observe how the moon cycles affect your energy and period, it becomes fascinating to watch and plan life changes and interactions accordingly.

[58:53] The more Sharna does energy work, the less she finds herself affected by her menstrual cycle.

[63:07] Moon energy is feminine, and sun energy is masculine. Sharna compares it to a dance of two lovers.

 

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

@ladypotions4u

Sharna Langlais

Seek Spark Shine

Ep #055: “Could Your Fertility Challenges Be An Unexpected Spiritual Awakening?”

Kissing the Hag, by Emma Restall Orr

Miranda Gray

Ep #035 “Mastering Mindfulness During a High Risk Pregnancy”

Ep #037 “TCM Wants to Help You Conceive”

Sharna’s Full Moon Gathering

Leah Whitehorse

Continue Your Journey:

@ladypotions4u on Twitter

@ladypotions4u on Instagram

Disclaimer * You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.








EPISODE 55 | COULD YOUR FERTILITY CHALLENGES BE AN UNEXPECTED AWAKENING? | Sharna Langlais

Could Your Fertility Challenges Be An Unexpected Spiritual Awakening? guest Sharna Langlais 

Description:

Today we talk with a true master of explaining the mystical in an understandable way. Sharna Langlais is a Reiki Master and also trained in Shamanic Healing and many other healing modalities such as Herbalism and Aromatherapy. She and Hillary talk about her new book, Unexpected Spiritual Awakenings, and how it pertains to fertility. They discuss what exactly an unexpected Spiritual Awakening is, how to spot one and what the stages are, and some tips on how to ease the lonely and discomfort when everything feels like it’s crumbling. Then, they cover what our ethereal body is, how we clean it and how we can use it to protect ourselves.

To share your own fertility story, please email me at hillary@ladypotions.com or comment below. I look forward to connecting with you, as you are what this podcast is all about.


Takeaways:

[1:44] Sharna Langlais is a Reiki Master also certified in Shamanic Healing and 5 Element Theory. She is a certified Herbalist, and Aromatherapist and Meditation Facilitator. Sharna has published work on Elephant Journal and MindBodyGreen and has her new book, Unexpected Spiritual Awakenings.

[4:08] Sharna comes from a Marketing and Executive Management background and was an “accidental techie” in her work with a nonprofit. She shares her journey in balancing the “real world” with her spiritual work starting at around her late 20s.

[7:13] All of the modalities that Sharna uses herself help to clear her own energy so that she can be open and compassionate in her work with clients all over the world to bring them a deeper sense of transformation.

[11:07] Sharna gives an analogy that Reiki is the car that she drives, in the sense that there are so many makes and models of energy work. It is a Japanese tradition in its origin and is about channeling life force energy through the bodies to remove blockages — the building block of life. Energy work can be utilized for any ailment or issue, and can deeply clear energy without having to talk through it too much.

[15:08] If Reiki is the car, acupuncture would be the model of car, and Sharna finds that distance work is more concentrated than physical experience.

[18:04] In a larger context, the unexpected spontaneous spiritual awakening is a personal process that creates extreme transformation inside of the cells and shifts. It can look like a crisis, and can very much feel as though everything is “falling apart.” The purposeful awakening is expected, and the context of the structure around it is usually based on a tradition with others to help guide the experience.

[23:34] One of the big messages in our crisis is to stop and listen to what’s really inside of us, and to tune in to our true calling instead of trying to keep up with a path that isn’t right for us.

[26:16] The biggest place we tend to see the spontaneous awakening is crisis and often emerges in transition that looks like health issues, breakups, and career shifts or changes.

[28:51] Going through an awakening can be daunting or scary at first, so it’s common for us to patch holes and return back to our normal life, but it is a real commitment to change and growth.

[35:40] Sharna put together the stages on her own experience and the experience of many clients she sees, but the experience is yin and nonlinear.

[36:34] Stage One: The Crisis Moment. Something breaks, and we must go in and try and fix it.

Stage Two: Find a New Way to Restructure and Change The “honeymoon” period of the awakening, where someone thought they found the answer.

Stage Three: Liminal Phase/The Awakening Process The true dark night of the soul where things fall apart and we already thought we fixed it in stage two.

Stage Fourth: The True Rebirth and Joy Stage The realization that we are a whole different version of ourselves.

Stage Five: The Awareness That We Are Always Changing and Needing to Pay Attention to Our Whisper We have a perpetual sense of humor and are reminded that everything is an opportunity for us to create and produce shifts.

[48:06] It is deeply healing for someone to connect one-on-one with someone while they are going through the process, as it feels isolating and confusing at times.

[49:11] Usually it is one part of the couple going through the awakening, and the relationship shifts as we change inside.

[52:22] The opportunity springs up during fertility because it tends to pop up in the areas of life that feel the most mysterious. Feminine energy also is the energy of chaos, and chaos energy is what is introduced for a system to change.

[56:44] The most important piece of awakening is surrendering and receiving without attachment.

[61:25] If we have to bring a life inside our body, it helps to be connected to it first.

[65:21] One of the biggest tips is to seek out somebody that can help you, but also to be careful of who you work with and that they are a right fit for you. Having patience with and through this process is also key. Retreats are also helpful to get your bearings with like-minded people by a trustworthy facilitator.

 

Mentioned References & Continuing Your Journey:

Reiki 1 Training with Sharna @ Art of Acupuncture Aug 3-4th 2019

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

@ladypotions4u

Unexpected Spiritual Awakenings: Navigating a Spiritual Awakening, by Sharna Langlais

Seek Spark Shine

Mindbodygreen

Elephant Journal

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression — and the Unexpected Solutions
by Johann Hari

@ladypotions4uon Twitter

@ladypotions4uon Instagram

Disclaimer *

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.



EPISODE 51 | NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCTS THAT WON'T WRECK YOUR FERTILITY PT2

Description:

Hillary first opens the show with an amazing keynote from her mentor, the late Ray Rubio from the Integrative Fertility Symposium last year. Ray shares a story about Dr. Shen, and why often times the simplest answer right under our nose is the one that will give us our answers. Then, she welcomes back her friend Katrina to share Part 2 of their top picks for yummy (and effective!) green and clean beauty products.

 Takeaways:

[4:10] Hillary plays a clip of a Keynote from the Integrative Fertility Symposium where her mentor, Ray Rubio, discusses the beauty of using common sense as a practitioner, and a story regarding his mentor Dr. Shen and the fashion icon Chanel.
[14:53] Hillary and Katrina discuss more of Katrina’s top picks!

Dry Shampoo (Katrina recommends putting it in our hair before bed instead of in the morning)

●      Kaia Naturals

●      Captain Blankenship

Shampoo

●      Innersense

●      Avalon Organics

Conditioner

●      Acure Conditioner

Body Wash

●      Aleavia

●      Saje Soap Bars

●      Meow Meow Tweet

Deodorant

●      Agent Nateur

●      Meow Meow Tweet

●      Kaia Naturals

●      Meow Meow Pit Primer

●      Once a week do an armpit detox with bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar mask to pull out all of the old aluminum. Leave it on for about 10 minutes.

Beauty Boxes

●      Beauty Hero

●      Art of Organics

●      Organic Bunny Box (@organicbunny on Instagram)

 

References:

Fertile Minds on iTunes

@ladypotions4u

Ep #049: “Part 1 of Natural Beauty Products Worth Your Money That Won’t Wreck Your Fertility” 

Integrative Fertility Symposium

Parents on Demand App

Disclaimer * You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 49 | NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCTS THAT WON'T WRECK YOUR FERTILITY PT1

Natural Beauty Products that are Worth Your Hard Earned Pennies & Won’t Interfere with your Fertility

Description:

Today, Hillary and her friend Katrina talk about beauty products and how they could be interfering with your fertility. They list the top ten chemical and ingredient offenders (out of 1,300!) to look out for and avoid, give recommendations on natural beauty product and product lines, and share some practical ways to make small shifts away from slathering ourselves daily in a chemical cocktail. More women are becoming savvy as consumers, and aware of how much of an effect what we put on our body has in with what happens inside of it. 

Takeaways:

[1:37] The United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (abbreviated as FFDCA, FDCA, or FD&C), has not been changed since 1938. Europe and Canada have higher regulatory standards, and hopefully, the United States will catch up in the close future.

[9:30] Top 10 ingredients we don’t want in our personal care products:

  1. Sunscreen Chemicals. Common Names are Benzophenone, PABA, Avobenzone, Homosalate, and Methoxycinnamate.

  2. Parabens. Parabens are widely used preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast in cosmetic products. Read more on parabens.

  3. Synthetic Colors. FD&C or D&C represent artificial colors. F (food) and D&C (drug and cosmetics).  These letters precede a color and number (e.g., D&C Red 27 or FD&C Blue 1).

  4. Synthetic Fragrance.

  5. Phthalates. The main phthalates in cosmetics and personal care products are dibutyl phthalate in nail polish, diethyl phthalate in perfumes and lotions, and dimethyl phthalate in hairspray.

  6. Triclosan. Triclosan is a widely used antimicrobial chemical found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps, and deodorants.

  7. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). This surfactant can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products (think foaming products).

  8. Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth.

  9. Toluene. A petrochemical derived from petroleum or coal tar sources and it can be found in nail polish, nail treatments, and hair color /bleaching products.

  10. Aluminum. Used in antiperspirants. Read more on aluminum.

[18:21] Now on to… what to actually use? Hillary’s friend Katrina Hall shares her evolution into natural beauty, and some of the top natural products she finds to be the ones she can trust the most with great results.

[22:55] Katrina’s gateway product was an oil cleanser from the Crude Personal line, and she still uses it to take off her makeup.

 Cleanser

●      Marie Veronique Gel Cleanser

●      Probiotic Skin Cleanser

Sunscreen

●      HYNT

●      Suntegrity

●      Marie Veronique

Foundation

●      Sappho Essentials Foundation

●      Crunchi

  Setting Powder

●      100% Pure Bamboo Blur Powder

Bronzer/ Contour

●      RMS

●      Lily LoLo

Brows

●      Ecobrow

●      Plume

Eyeshadow

●      Lily LoLo

Mascara

●      Tarte Amazonian Clay

●      Harvest

●      Fitglow Lash Serum

Eyeliner

●      ZuZu Luxe

Lip Gloss

●  Sign up for the newsletter & receive 15% off @    Fitglow Lip Serum

Chapstick

●      Zi Zai

Lip Sticks

●      Axiology

Lip Liners

●      Gabriel Cosmetics

●      ZuZu Luxe

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

@ladypotions4u

Think Dirty

EWG’s Healthy Living App

Parents on Demand App

Crude

 

Continue Your Journey:

@ladypotions4u on Twitter

@ladypotions4u on Instagram

 Disclaimer *

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 47 | BACH FLOWER REMEDIES FOR THE EMOTIONS THAT COME WITH FERTILITY CHALLENGES | Erin Gray, LMT, LMHT

Bach Flower Remedies for the Emotions that Come with Fertility Challenges with Erin Gray.

Description:

Hillary’s esteemed colleague and friend Erin Gray, LCMHC, returns to dive deep into fertility challenges and the emotions that come with them. Erin has used and studied Bach Flower remedies for some time now, and she shares her experience with these super-safe homeopathic beneficial supplements. They also talk about the highlights of the 38 different remedies, the way Bach Remedies bring emotional balance into the situation, specific remedies as they play into detailed emotions, and Erin’s recommendation for bringing them into your life.

 

Takeaways:

[2:10] Bach Flower Remedies work on specific issues, and are unique in the way that they can support emotional balance. This makes them great for most cases of someone going through IVF.

[3:27] Every medical system has its own way of categorizing supplements. In traditional Chinese medicine, we have the Eight Pillars or the Five Elements. Ayurvedic medicine has it’s Dosha’s and the Bach Flowers have their own two categories. One is by the personality type and ongoing characteristics and the other is a certain mood that relates to the moment and the fleeting marker of the experience.

[4:40] There are 38 different tinctured remedies, categorized into 7 different families. They have a subtle taste and usually go in water or under the tongue.

[8:12] Rescue Remedy won’t take away your personality or fix a life situation but it will help to bring a sense of balance and coping into the situation.

[9:21] One of the biggest things Erin sees when working with fertility clients is fear and anxiety. When you have general anxiety or anxiety of an unknown, she suggests using Aspen. If you experiencing a specific fear and are clear about what it’s about, Mimulus is a good one. If you are overly worried about a loved one, Red Chestnut can come to the rescue.

[11:45] Beech can help us open up our minds, and bring in more patience and peace. Rock Water is useful to go easier on yourself and is one of Erin’s most used remedies. The overly controlling personality type could benefit from Vine. When you are having trouble making decisions or confused about your own judgment, go with Cerato. If you are faced with multiple choices and not sure which one you want to choose, Scleranthus can help you figure out which path to go down. Gorse is also a big one for women in the IVF process, as it can help to connect with the true intention, and in turn, restore a sense of hope.

[16:06] Although the remedies are gentle, if not used properly they can neutralize and do nothing or do the complete opposite and cause the emotion to appear even stronger.

[21:03] Of all the Bach Remedies, the one recommended for difficulty in life transition and conceiving is Walnut. Impatiens is a good one to help manage impatience, loneliness, and frustration. This can be very beneficial during the waiting time in IVF and can be cycled in and out to be taken when you are in the throes of the intense emotions.

[26:03] If you find yourself struggling with being present, or in a dissociative state, Clematis is very helpful in getting grounded and back into reality. Honeysuckle is a good one for past regrets, living too much in the past or a sense of nostalgia that interferes with your present moment. White Chestnut can help in getting your mind to settle down and relax, rather than replaying situations over and over and trying to predict every move in the future.

[29:21] Pine is a good one for forgiveness, and letting go of any guilt or shame you may be holding on for yourself. Star of Bethlehem is a beautiful remedy to help with grief, loss, and trauma and Crab Apple can help shift from body shame or a sense of betrayal in your body into a sense of acceptance and peace.

[33:19] If you can’t forgive someone else, and hold resentment and anger towards them, try bringing in some Willow. When you have a burning hatred (think Mean Girl), feel jealousy and mistrust, use Holly.

[35:29] You can look up Bach practitioners in your area that can do assessments and custom blends for you. Oftentimes people need more than one remedy, but just be sure not to mix them all at once.

EPISODE 45 | THE WHAT, WHY, AND HOW TO GO ABOUT DECIDING IF & WHEN YOU NEED A DOULA | Adriana Lozada

Being Born Into Parenthood

This week, we welcome Adriana Lozada, a woman of many accomplishments and talents including the remarkable brand Birthful, and assisting in over 150 births as a doula. Adriana sheds some light on what exactly a doula is, why a couple may want one, the benefits of having a doula, and how to decide which doula is right for your specific needs and desires.

Takeaway:

[1:52] Along with creating and running Birthful, Adriana is a birth doula, a postpartum educator, a sleep consultant, and co-author of Soy de Pura Madre, a half autobiography (written by well-known Venezuela actress and radio host, Ana María Simón), half pregnancy guide (written by Adriana), in Spanish.

[5:14] Adriana has been a doula for 13 years and loves sharing information on what it entails and the possibilities it provides that may help the birth experience.

[5:17] There are many types of doulas (birth, fertility, postpartum — to name a few), and they all have the core value of giving physical, emotional, and informational support. Adriana likes to liven up the definition, and thinks of doulas as “birth fairies that have research to back it up.”

[10:56] Adriana’s goal is to have the woman/couple have the best birth experience depending on their personal vision and foster the feeling of consent and empowerment in their own decisions.

[16:52] Doulas create space for the couple to empower themselves and make their own decisions, as opposed to feeling that things were chosen and done for them.

[19:04] There is a doula out there for everybody, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. The most important thing is how you feel and ‘click’ with the person. In the organization Adriana has her certification under, DONA, speaking and deciding for the woman is out-of-scope.

[23:02] If your medical provider is not recommending you have a doula, dig deeper and find out why they feel that way and what their hesitations are.

[24:46] It’s never too late to get a doula, but the earlier you can do it the more benefits you gain. Adriana prefers contacting your potential doula 12-20 weeks to develop a relationship and discuss fears, hopes, and desires.

[28:36] Adriana describes her philosophy on nonlinear birthing and the physiological stages that come with a safe and protected birthing environment.

[33:36] Adriana assigns “homework” using a four-stage birth model to give women a tangible way to support and trust their body. The four stages of her model are: physical, chemical, mental, and emotional.

[35:46] The skills we value in our professional and everyday life such as being effective, organized, clean, and tidy in our ‘everyday,’ aren’t the top ones that help us for birthing and parenting. Instead, messiness, uncertainty, patience, intuition, and trust in the process are key.

[42:10] Adriana discusses the “pregnancy hangover” in postpartum when we are over-touched, and undervalued. She has created a postpartum vacation plan, where women and couples can focus on getting to know and taking care of their baby.

[55:38] Adriana’s one piece of advice for expecting couples “explore things with curiosity.”

 References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

Adriana Lozada

Birthful Podcast

Birthful Courses

Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery

ACOG

Approaches to Limit Intervention During Labor and Birth

DONA International

Doula Match

Tampa Bay Birth Network

Rethinking the Pushing Stage, with Whapio

Thrive with Your Newborn use the code FERTILITY for 25% discount. Along with creating and running Birthful, Adriana is a birth doula, a postpartum educator, a sleep consultant, and co-author of Soy de Pura Madre, a half autobiography (written by well-known Venezuela actress and radio host, Ana María Simón), half pregnancy guide (written by Adriana), in Spanish.

Disclaimer * You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 44 | MINI MINDFUL MOMENT | Have You Been "Noceboed" ?

How to Recognize and Reverse a Nocebo

Most of us are familiar with a placebo, however, do you know what a nocebo is? A nocebo is a detrimental effect on health produced by psychological or psychosomatic factors such as negative expectations of treatment or prognosis by a health care provider. It happens in the fertility and birth worlds more than you think. Today we will go into detail of signs that it is happening, how to be more aware in the moment during healthcare appointments, and how to undo it if it has happened to you. Cheers to happy beliefs, less stress, and being one breath closer to that baby you are dreaming of! 

[12:39] Visualization Begins

Links Mentioned

Pregnancy Brain

It’s Conceivable

The Three Keys to Conception

http://www.hypnofertility.com/

Parents On Demand Network

We are super excited to now be a part of the POD network, available in any app store for free. You’ll find Fertile Minds Radio as well as other qualified podcasts guaranteed to help you on the road to parenting success.

EPISODE 43 | HOW TO REVERSE PCOS NATURALLY, GET HEALTHY & GET PREGNANT

Description:

September was PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) Awareness Month, so it is only fitting to do an episode centered around this condition. One in 10 American women, which is somewhere around five million women, suffer from symptoms on the PCOS spectrum. Today, we talk about what exactly PCOS is and the root causes, how the diagnosis occurs, the five Categories of Treatment, some myths surrounding it, and how you can go about reversing your PCOS in 9-12 months naturally.

To share your own fertility story, please comment below. I look forward to connecting with you, as you are what this podcast is all about.

Takeaways:

[2:12] Hillary shares her acceptance into the Women’s Functional and Integrative Training Program, offered by Dr. Aviva Romm. This is a huge honor, and Dr. Romm has been one of Hillary’s trusted teachers and an inspiration for shaking things up in the medical world and applying wisdom and evidence-based medicine.

[2:42] Just because something has been traditionally used, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for us. Hillary gives examples of pharmaceutical debacles from the 1950s up until recently.

[6:52] Hillary recounts her experience with Accutane and the severe side effects.

[8:28] It’s important to know what you are taking, the potential side effects, and whether it is traditional or alternative treatment.

[10:46] How we take care of our bodies in the 12 months prior to falling pregnant has a huge impact on the next two generations. For the first time ever in the United States, children are being born with a lower life expectancy than their parents. And if we are sending down copies two generations at a time of our genes and we’re not teaching people how to ensure that these genes don’t trigger or mutate into various health issues, then we’re not actually practicing preventative medicine.

[12:11] In the U.S., one in 10 American women will have a diagnosis of PCOS at some point in their life, which is the equivalent of five million women. There are about 10 different types that can present and are not what a majority of healthcare physicians think of as PCOS. Usually, they consider it to be someone that’s overweight, with high testosterone, and a 2:1 LH: FSH ratio, and having cysts show on an ultrasound around the ovaries. But in reality, there are so many different presentations that it’s more like a spectrum with women being affected to different degrees causing different symptoms and severities.

[13:43] Although 85% of women affected with PCOS can reverse it naturally, a lot of physicians don’t look at it like it’s reversible.

[16:44] Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome was previously considered a gynecological problem, diagnosed on the presence of polycystic ovarian cysts by ultrasound. Now, it’s actually recognized as a complex endocrine disorder with multiple possible causes and clinical manifestations. Only one of those actually yields polycystic ovaries on an ultrasound.

[18:23] When women begin to understand that it was likely a predisposition was from their mother in utero, based on changes in the food supply, they can have a little more grace and compassion with themselves as well as motivation to try and stop it for the next generation.

[19:23] How is it diagnosed and what are the symptoms? PCOS is a clinical diagnosis and it is primarily diagnosed based on having some or all of the classic symptoms and having other medical conditions being ruled out. While testing the blood on day three, looking at the ratio between LH and FSH, estrogen and testosterone, can certainly be one of the ways that we diagnose PCOS.

[20:31] Traditionally, PCOS was thought to cause weight gain and abnormal hair growth from the excess testosterone, which does happen in one phenotype, but not all.

[21:30] Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can include any of the following: infertility, irregular periods, lapses between periods for months at a time without being pregnant or breastfeeding, acne, weight gain, unwanted facial hair, hair thinning or hair loss, which oftentimes looks like male pattern baldness in PCOS, and then less commonly, you can have darkening of the skin in the armpits, the back of the neck or the groin. The other aspect to consider is that women with PCOS are also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, or they have eating disorders, particularly binge eating.

[23:31] You are 20 to 40% more likely to experience a miscarriage due to the insulin resistance and the hormonal problems that it creates. Oftentimes, there is estrogen dominance and there’s not enough progesterone to actually hold a healthy pregnancy. I do see a lot of chemical pregnancies or early stage miscarriages in women that maybe didn't even know that they had PCOS. But then after we do a little bit of deeper digging we find that they have these symptoms, and then it’s really important to control for blood sugar dysregulation as well as the hormones when they’d go to get pregnant again. Diet becomes super important in those women.

[28:00] You have to understand, the key is getting your blood sugar under control first, and the insulin resistance under control, before you start experimenting with the fasting. In terms of the science behind the diet, low inflammatory, low glycemic Mediterranean diet or a modified ancestral diet, meaning Paleo with lots of vegetables in it, not just all meat, has been the one that has been shown in the evidence to have the most dramatic effect on PCOS. And the bottom line is that most patients with PCOS will respond to a diet that is no more than 80 grams of carbohydrates a day and has about 60 to 90 grams of protein, and the rest being good fat.

[29:59] Vitamin D has been associated with insulin resistance in low amounts. Having your vitamin D tested to see where you’re at is super easy and then supplementing depending on how low you are, with 2,000 to 5,000 units a day, and then re-testing again in 30 to 60 days to see if it’s making a difference on the levels themselves can be really helpful. One of the supplements that Hillary uses when encountering a woman with diagnosed or suspected PCOS is inositol. Inositol comes in a couple of different forms and a lot of the studies that have been done actually show that it’s advantageous to have a combination of Myo-inositol with D-chiro-inositol, at a ratio of 40:1 of Myo-inositol to D-chiro-inositol. The reason for that is, it’s naturally occurring in the body in that ratio. With the Myo-inositol you want to take up to 4 grams a day and the D-chiro you can go up to 1,200 milligrams a day.

[33:19] Another herb or supplement that is used in blood sugar regulation is cinnamon and we use this all the time in Chinese medicine. In fact, the main formula by which most others are based on for treating PCOS is derived from is Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan.

pcos insulin & HPA.png

[34:03] The second category to consider when treating PCOS is HPA Axis Dysregulation. Now, HPA Axis Dysregulation is the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal axis. One of the biggest things that you can do for yourself is getting adequate amounts of sleep. The most restful hours of sleep for fertility are actually between 9:00 PM and 11:00 PM.

[40:43] Adaptogens are one of the greatest weapons we have, as they regulate cortisol and change our perception of stress. Adaptogens are ginseng, and things like ginseng, Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, licorice, Dang Shen or known as Codonopsis from Chinese medicine, milky oats, Schisandra, also known as Wu Wei Zi in Chinese medicine. Oftentimes if you pick up an adrenal axis formula or some are even named HPA Axis Formula, you will find that it’s a combination of these herbs.

[42:22] The only adaptogen that has been studied specifically for PCOS is licorice. Licorice tends to raise the blood pressure, so if you already have high blood pressure, this is one that you would want to avoid. And in terms of ginseng, even though it’s a great adaptogen, it’s very hot energetically. If you have a lot of symptoms of heat, you’re sweating at night, maybe you’re having hot flashes with it during the day as well. You’ve got red itchy skin, loose urgent bowls, ginseng is not the one for you, you would want something more cooling like Dang Shen. Dang Shen is often substituted for ginseng or Ren Shen.

[46:04] Not only do adaptogens regulate the cortisol, but they also help to regulate blood sugar and insulin.

[48:59] If you aren’t properly eliminating those toxins in your bowel, they circulate back around to your liver which only lessens your liver’s ability to get rid of excess hormones. Making sure that you’re having daily bowel movements and detoxifying to the best of your ability is super important. On the flipside, if the bowels are too loose and you’re seeing undigested food, you’re not absorbing everything that you should be from your food.

[52:46] The other aspect of gut health is leaky gut and that is caused by all kinds of pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medications, antibiotics, improper gut flora, improper diet, and any major abdominal surgeries, including C-sections. You want to find out if there are any inflammatory food triggers — anything that is causing thinning or permeability of the gut. If you’re intolerant to gluten or dairy and you’re eating it every day, this can build so much inflammation that it eventually thins the lining of the gut, causing toxins to leak into the bloodstream.


pcos gut & toxin.png

[56:41] If you do have histamine intolerance, if you think you’re having an immune response to sperm or you suspect that, that’s part of your infertility, you could include strains in your probiotic that actually help degrade histamine and an overactive immune response, which would be Bifidobacterium infantis (this is found in breast milk), Bifidobacterium longum, and Lactobacillus plantarum. These are helpful as well as soil-based organisms, meaning prebiotics that act as a food source for the good strains of probiotics you are using, as these can help to lower the immune system response.

[58:09] The other category that needs to be considered when you’re cleaning up PCOS and trying to reverse it is environmental toxins and detoxification overload. Oftentimes, this is happening through your skin and beauty products, as well as your foods that are genetically modified and cause what are called xenoestrogens — bad estrogens — to dock in your hormonal receptors. These are huge causes of dysregulation, as are things like BPA, which is found in the lining of cans, so all those cans of tuna and LaCroix that you’ve been consuming thinking that you’re eating healthy, the BPA inside can be detrimental to your estrogen/testosterone balance.

[1:00:57] The last category: Energy production and mitochondrial function. If you are someone that has insomnia and or fatigue, this category is for you. There’s been evidence that’s been accumulating for the role of CoQ10 in the treatment of mitochondrial disorders and infertility for some time now.

References:    Fertile Minds on LibSyn    Fertile Minds on iTunes    Aviva Romm MD    Thalidomide    DES    Accutane    Gaia HPA Axis    Episode 7    Additional Research    Continue Your Journey:    @ladypotions4u on Twitter   @ladypotions4u on Instagram  My Website:  Ladypotions.com    Disclaimer *  You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

Aviva Romm MD

Thalidomide

DES

Accutane

Gaia HPA Axis

Episode 7

Additional Research

Continue Your Journey:

@ladypotions4uon Twitter

@ladypotions4uon Instagram

My Website: Ladypotions.com

Disclaimer * You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 42 | MINI MINDFUL MOMENT | 16 Seconds to Bliss

Mini Mindful Moments

16 Seconds to Bliss

This relaxation response technique is so easy you might forget how to do it.

This episode is brought to you by the online course- How to thrive with Your Newborn presented by the talented doula Adriana Lozada

Getting pregnant can be difficult, staying pregnant can be day to day for some, and bringing your baby home and getting to know what YOUR baby needs can be super trying, but  it doesn’t have to be. If you want to feel confident about your postpartum experience this course is definitely for you and it is super affordable. With over a decade of experience, Adriana teaches you how to understand the baby you were blessed with in a 5 week self paced online experience. You can find it at birthfulcourses.com or in today’s show notes. 

EPISODE 41 | WHAT TCM HAS TO SAY ABOUT YOUR CYCLE | PT 2 Your Period & Aging

 

Description:

Our periods are signs of how we are interacting with our environment, both internally and externally, and a way for us to use certain signals for fertility. Today, Hillary talks about what to stop and consider about your own period, how to change the quality and quantity of your uterine lining, decreasing inflammation to help clotting and cramping, certain foods to build up the blood, and how to turn back the clock in aging. 

Takeaway:

[1:45] The symptoms of your period are not something to be flushed and forgotten. They are your body’s way of telling you that something is out of balance.

[2:36] The amount that you bleed is important and should be a steady flow with 1 or 2 days that are heavier, for a total of about 4 to 5 days. In order for the embryo to be nourished and grow, the lining has to be thick and well-vascularized. One important thing that often gets missed is the shedding of the lining every single month, so you don’t have old blood sitting on top of the lining. If you are a scanty bleeder, it is a good indication that your uterine lining is insufficient.

[5:26] Foods that help build up the blood include eggs with the yolk, clean sources of red meat, full-fat dairy and healthy fats such as seeds and avocado. It is also advised to not over-exercise during this time and resort to light stretching, walking, and gentle movement.

[6:53] The clot that you see in your menstrual blood has been forming way before you have your period. So what’s the problem? Implantation depends on establishing a healthy, thriving blood supply. But the whole job of a clot is to stop the flow of blood! A clotted uterine lining is one that is stale and stagnant. It doesn't have the fresh surface it needs to allow implantation to succeed at a high rate. It is important to stay away from inflammatory foods, and employ abdominal massage, and possibly employ a vaginal steam bath.

[9:29] When you feel cramping, it really is your uterine wall spasming. Severe cramping — also called dysmenorrhea — isn’t just a drag, it’s counter-productive for conception.

[11:07] It is common to have one day of heavy bleeding, but the other days should be more even with bright red blood rather than just one day of intense bleeding then right to spotting. Heavy bleeding can indicate an issue with spleen chi deficiency, where your body doesn’t have enough energy to open and shut the uterus and control the blood flow, leading to a feeling of strong fatigue.

[12:02] Red raspberry leaf may be used to tone your uterus, and then Cramp Bark when you are having your period. Some traditional Chinese formulas that include herbs from blood building and breaking categories.

[13:33] Many factors including diet, stress, environment, and even things we were exposed to while in utero can affect our eggs. Even more so for the eggs in our 120-day queue, for what’s called a germ cell to become a ripe and fertile egg.

Does age really matter when it comes to conceiving?

[15:13] You can turn back the clock. The Chinese had the idea of two ages which we can scientifically prove now using telomeres or a structure at the end of a chromosome. If you are interested in seeing what age you are according to this science, you can order a telomere test.

[16:28] The Chinese had a different take on the Western idea of the advanced maternal age of 35. They say men and women mature differently, and every 7 years for a female and 8 years for a male was a huge transition. Age 27 is when we see the first decline in FSH and AMH, two hormones that collectively approximate what a woman’s ovarian reserve is. There is an even more steep decline at 35, especially in egg quality increasing the risk for miscarriage or birth defect There is hope if you have waited! Egg quality can be positively affected by things like acupuncture, herbs, meditation, proper nutrition, and other various stress reduction techniques.

[18:31] Paternal age matters as well. You can reference a previous episode with Dr. Zev Williams from Columbia for more information on how much paternal age matters when it comes to single gene mutations that can cause things like autism, bipolar disorder, and other mental/emotional disruptions.

[19:02] There are categories of herbs that are said to have been taken by royalty because they were said to help them live forever. Zinc has been shown to help sperm fragmentation, and alpha lipoic acid has been touted to help egg quality in a woman of advanced maternal age when taken 3-6 months. DHEA is a precursor for the other steroids in our body, and studies have shown it helps the quality of the eggs. It is recommended to get your levels tested before taking this, and talk to your provider to see if it’s something to consider.

  

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

Ep #37 — Part 1

Ep #27 with Dr. Zev Williams

Art of Acupuncture  

 

Continue Your Journey:

@ladypotions4u on Instagram

 Disclaimer *

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 39 | CAN BLOOD SUGARS AFFECT YOUR FERTILITY & PREGNANCY w/ Lily Nichols RDN, CDE

This week, we are joined again by the very knowledgeable (and one of our most popular Fertile Minds podcast guests) Lily Nichols. Not only is Lily a devoted mom, but she is a stellar author and a registered dietitian/nutritionist with a flair for interpreting scientific data and applying it to the modern-day woman. She speaks with Hillary today on her work helping women learn how to prevent or manage their Gestational Diabetes. She also discusses how we test for it, what makes someone more susceptible to acquiring it, and what the long-term complications are for both mama and baby once they are diagnosed with it.

Lily presents a unique approach in helping women manage their diet and lifestyle in her bestselling books, Real Food for Gestational Diabetesand Real Food for Pregnancy.

Takeaway:

[2:13] Lily describes what Gestational Diabetes is and is not. It is a type of Diabetes that develops or is diagnosed during pregnancy. Typically, your body is having trouble processing carbohydrates, causing high blood sugar.

[4:06] Lily uses a hybrid approach when screening for Gestational Diabetes, mixing traditional glucose tolerance tests with discussing their diet and lifestyle choices.

[7:08] Diet and lifestyle are two factors we can be proactive about in pregnancy, as well as in pre-conception.

[8:26] We are seeing that even mildly elevated is an issue, so it’s important women find out early. 49 to 52 percent have either diabetes or pre-diabetes, and most of them have yet to be diagnosed.

[8:50] We want to use A1C readings in pre-conception and in the first trimester and after that look at blood sugars. If A1C has not gone down later in pregnancy, that is a warning sign that something is going on. We recommend getting an over-the-counter glucometer and monitoring your blood sugar at home first thing in the morning and one to two hours after meals to get an idea of how your body responds to specific foods.

DOWNLOAD BLOOD GLUCOSE TRACKER

[12:58] Lily discusses the acceptable levels of fasting and non-fasting blood sugars in pregnant women. We naturally see lower blood sugar levels in a typical pregnancy, along with changes in the significant thyroid and the burning of more fat to send fatty acids to the baby.

[17:32] During pregnancy, if your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, there is a direct line from you to your baby to via umbilical cord. There’s also a physiological reason that women may not feel like eating during pregnancy, to try and push towards ketosis. This makes sense as to why breastfeeding is the best diet ever, as it pulls all the fat to give to the baby.

[22:19] When we have been on a sugar binge and try to come off of sugar, that is happening to the baby the first couple days, so you can imagine how jarring that is until they re-regulate.

[23:34] Even with a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes, the recommendation of allowable daily carbs is still very high. Lily observed her clients blood sugar getting worse when they followed the protocol and found that a lower level of carbohydrates is ideal.

[27:34] The second part of Lily’s research was looking at ketones and the different part of ketosis. The benefit of the ketogenic diet becoming popular is now there is more discussion on what it means to be in ketosis and what types of ketosis are safe to be in.

[33:39] Lily observes that most women gain their weight in the second and early third trimester and tend to level out unless there is fluid retention.

[36:06] The pancreas is not accustomed to pumping out a large amount of insulin consistently.

[39:11] While it may be annoying and tedious, testing your blood sugar levels daily is well worth it for acquiring interesting data.

[40:41] We discuss the risk factors of how blood sugar issues may affect our children’s fertility and generations down the line. What we may be seeing now may be the epigenetic effect from our low-fat diet from the 1980’s.

[45:21] As you tend to get beyond the 35 and 40 BMI, you do see more pregnancy complications and macrosomia with an epigenetic carryover effect through generations and beyond.

[48:59] People feel like they have acquired a disease, but really your body is adapting to the environment in which it is currently in.

[49:18] Plan of action:

●     Start monitoring A1C & post-meal blood sugars pre-conception, if possible.

●     Pull an A1C in the first trimester and if it’s suspect get in touch with someone like Lily to get it under control. Check out Lily’s books AND video course, or join her Facebook group.

●     Eat real food throughout your pregnancy and a reasonable amount of carbs that works for you.

●     Continue to eat the same way, maybe even more good fats while you are breastfeeding to enhance your breast milk.

●     Bring up your children on the same diet they were exposed to in utero and educate them about blood sugars and food in general so they can affect the next two generations in a healthy way.

 

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

Pilatesnutritionist.com

http://pilatesnutritionist.com/why-i-drank-the-glucola/
http://pilatesnutritionist.com/i-failed-the-glucola/

Gestational Diabetes Course

California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program

Real Food for Gestational Diabetes: An Effective Alternative to the Conventional Nutrition Approach,
by Lily Nichols

Does Gestational Diabetes Occur in Pregnant Mares?  

Twitter.com/LilyNicholsRDN

Lily’s Instagram

 

Continue Your Journey:

Link to sign up for free 29-day meditation challenge

@ladypotions4uon Twitter

@ladypotions4uon Instagram

Disclaimer * 

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 38 | MINI MINDFUL MOMENT | Verbal Suggestions So You Can Calm the Frick Down

Todays relaxation response technique is technically called Autogenic Training. It’s a technique that is credited to Dr. Johannes Schultz and was popularized in the 90’s by Dr. Herbert Benson’s book - The Relaxation Response and has to do with the power of verbal suggestion. Now these verbal suggestions called orientations, can be thought of as a type of self hypnosis. This is different than an affirmation because we are going to take the verbal suggestions into the body to help it relax, not just repeat something in our minds. Once you’ve used this phrase though and effectively calmed your body down, you should be able to pull it out in a pinch and repeat it silently to yourself and have some of the same effect. It's perfect to use when your heart is racing before a doctors appointment or during the two week wait when you find yourself extra anxious. When you use autogenic training, you are essentially bypassing your conscious mind in order to instruct your body to relax via your subconscious mind. Autogenic Training sounds so formal and stuffy though- so I decided to rename it today to verbal suggestions so you can calm the frick down.

Today's episode is brought to you by, Pregnancy Brain, by Parijat Deshpande. You can find it anywhere books are sold or at pregnancybrainbook.com.

EPISODE 37 | WHAT TCM HAS TO SAY ABOUT YOUR CYCLE | PT 1 Timing, Length & Temperatures

I was listening to other podcasts as I often do, and one happened to be about the basics of TCM diagnosis. It dawned on me that I have yet to demystify this system of medicine that I love so much.  Today’s podcast is my attempt to explain some basic diagnostic terms in TCM, especially how they relate to your menstrual cycle and your fertility.

I believe that symptoms are God’s gift when it comes to figuring out what exactly is going on in your body. This reigns especially true when it comes to trying to figure out what exactly is happening internally when it comes to your fertility. If you’ve noticed subtle changes in your menstrual cycle in regards to timing, length or amount of bleeding and have wondered if this effects your fertility or how to rebalance it, this episode is for you. If you’ve ever had acupuncture and wondered what the heck your practitioner was referring to when they mentioned you had Kidney Yin Deficiency or Liver Qi stagnation, this episode is also for you. If you have considered getting acupuncture, but never really understood how it could help your fertility, this episode is for you. If you just want to know what your BBT or AVA charts mean through a lease of TCM and what to do about it, this episode is definitely for you. 

 

The Eight Principles (辩证) are:

1. Yin: Yin, along with Yang, is the most general classification for pattern diagnosis and it describes the relationship between the other three pairs of the Principles. Generally speaking, Yin is Cold and the fluids of the body.

2. Yang: Yang, along with Yin is used to describe the relationship between the other three pairs of the Principles. For example, Heat is Yang or the energy / Qi of the body. 

3. Interior: Interior describes diseases that manifest themselves in the Zang-fu organs or deep inside the body, such as Qi, blood, and bone marrow. In menstrual terms, this may mean scanty menses,  late menarche, or erratic cycles in general. 

4. Exterior: Exterior describes diseases that manifest themselves on surface of the body, such hair, skin, nails, and meridians. In menstrual terms, this may mean the symptoms of external pathogen that has invaded the body, like an STD that presents with a rash.

5. Heat: Heat describes the absence of an aversion to Cold. In menstrual terms, it can mean BBTs above 98.2, high temps above 97.2 in the follicular phase that provoke early ovulation, or cramps that do not respond to a heating pad. 

6. Cold: Cold describes an aversion to Cold. In menstrual terms, we see it as low BBT temps, dark blood with pain, or menstrual cramping that responds to a heating pad.

7. Deficiency: Deficiency is used to describe a vacuity in Qi, blood (Xue) or body fluids (Jinye).  In menstrual health we see it as cramping that gets worse as the period goes on, low temps on a BBT, short luteal cycles meaning Kidney Yang Deficiency or short follicular cycles meaning Kidney Yin Deficiency.

8. Excess: Excess is generally classified as any disease that can't be identified as a Deficiency pattern. Usually, it means that one of the Six Excesses is present. In menstrual health we may see it is as STD, yeast infections, bacterial infections,  growths (like fibroids), certain types of PCOS that involve the concept of phlegm and dampness, or even in certain presentations of endometriosis. 

It’s important to decipher if an imbalance is truly excess or deficiency because it will often mean completely different herbal preparations to balance the body. 

 

After a basic diagnosis of the diseases is given via the Eight Principles, the diagnostic continues and focuses on more specific conditions. After evaluating the present symptoms, a person’s condition is further evaluated as to how the specific entities (Qi, meridians, Zang-fu, etc.) are affected. This where we start to get into concepts like stagnation. You may hear about blood stasis or Liver Qi stagnation, where flow is disrupted. We still have to use the above pillars to decide if it stagnated due to deficiency or excess, but knowing what organ it is affecting by asking questions helps us to target the herbal formula to a greater degree and ensure the system is balanced. 

Causes of Imbalances

Traditional Chinese Medicine does not strongly differentiate between the cause and effect of a disease. However, there are three major categories that are considered to give rise to disease. The three major categories of disease causes are:

1. External: Disease caused by the Six Excesses. These have to do with the environment in which we live,  too much cold, too hot of environment, too damp of an environment, too dry of environment. For example; I reside in South Florida and it’s currently August at the time of this taping. It isn’t just hot out, it’s downright slimy. For a male that has worked outside all day, he might be exposing himself to super high temperatures all day long and  that could drastically affect his quality and count of sperm. 

2. Internal: Disease caused the by Seven Emotions or Seven Affects: Anger, Fear, Anxiety, Fright, Grief, Pensiveness, and Joy. These are said to affect the Zang-fuorgans. Constant high stress without a constant relaxation response have been shown to negatively impact sperm and egg health as well as ovulation.

3. Other Irregularities: Disease caused by something that is neither external nor internal, such as having unbalanced diet, damage done by parasites or in this day & age- toxins. In modern day you could think of this as the quality of the food we eat, and what toxins we are exposed to including those we slather on our skin in our beauty products. This is often the one cause of imbalance that we have the most control over. 

Timing Matters and How Do You Time a Cycle Anyways?

Ideally a menstrual cycle (from the start of one period to the next) is 28 days, the same as a lunar cycle. It's not uncommon for cycles to shift in accordance to new moons, full moons, changing time zones with travel, or with extreme stress or changes in diet, but when it comes to your fertility, the length can have a huge impact, in some cases it can decrease your chances of conceiving by up to 50%. 

Length Matters

Length of your cycle as well as how long you bleed for equally matter but for different reasons.  

Three main consequences of shorter cycles include lower egg quality, inability to sustain a pregnancy, and early ovulation.

Temperature matters

Most couples are shocked when they have a miscarriage. They are often even more shocked when they find out the chances of having one for any healthy couple is 30%. The good news is, that by simply tracking your basal body temperatures and waiting to conceive the following cycle after a "healthy" one is detected you can drop your chances of miscarriage to less than 5%.

* healthy cycle means having an average of 97.2 BBT in the follicular stage of the cycle and an average of 98.2 BBT in the luteal cycle, with a mid-cycle ovulation and a luteal phase lasting at least 10 days.

Did you know that you could get the same custom herbal formulas I use with my acupuncture
clients, shipped right to your door? When you sign up for a 3 Month
Subscription, your evaluation is free, a $100 value, and you receive email access to ask me
any questions you have pertaining to your fertility.

Links to take you further

Episode about Cervical Mucus

LadyPotions.com/episode27

Artofacu-stpete.com

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16357595

Disclaimer :

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 36 | MINI MINDFUL MOMENT | Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Mini Mindful Moments- Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Have you ever had the experience where you go to get a massage or acupuncture or maybe even a pedicure, and you have no idea that you are holding stress in your body until the practitioner starts working on you, and it hurts sooo good and you are suddenly aware of 

A. how stressed you are

B. that something hurts that you didn’t even realize 

C. how disconnected you are from your body

I have, guilty as charged. It happens, I get caught up in my to do lists or the occasional over extension of myself and I show up at one of my bi- monthly scheduled self care appointments and I’m suddenly aware that I am way more stressed than I thought. I see this happen all the time in my clinic with my fertility patients. I ask them if they have any pain or discomfort and they reply, I’m fine. Often times I will start with a technique of cupping to help relieve tension in the neck and back and as soon as I lay my hands on them, I can feel the knots. Sometimes I can see the tension in their necks, just by how they are holding themselves. So if this sounds like you, today’s exercise is going to help you get out of your head and into your body. It’s call PMR or progressive muscle relaxation. It’s great for people that live in their heads. It distracts them just long enough to reconnect with their precious body. Now if you have an acute or chronic pain you may want to skip that body or go lightly with it when we get there, as this technique involves tensing the muscle first and then relaxation. It’s kind of like tricking your muscles into relaxing, especially when you feel like you no longer know how to. So even if you’ve done this one before, do it with me. Sometimes its super nice to just let someone else guide you and really get you out of your head. 



EPISODE 34 | MINI MINDFUL MOMENT | Mindfulness 101

How do you set the tone for mindfulness & actually practice it?

Whether you are doing something prolific like making love, or something mundane like the dishes get in the habit of asking yourself these questions and then observing the answer you come up with, without judgment. 

What do I hear?

What do I feel?

What do I smell?

What do I see?

What do I taste?

Try it with me, wherever you are, whatever you are doing ask yourself these simple questions. Drop into the present moment and quit entertaining your past or your worries about the future. 

By taking the time to ask yourself these questions and thoughtfully responding, you allow yourself to me more fully engaged in the activity and deepen your experience.

Even though it is a practice that is seemingly more mental than following the breath because we are entertaining your mind, it really allows you to drop out of your head and into your body. 

It allows you take a break from what’s going on in your head, which chances are is the same conversation with yourself on repeat, and I’m willing to bet it’s probably not saying anything you would repeat to someone outloud. 

So if you want to change the way you feel, you have to start paying attention to what is really happening in the moment and not what your repetitious thoughts would like you to believe. 

It's so simple. 

You just have to commit to doing it! 

Let's get mindful together. 

Join me in the 29 Day Fertility Meditation Challenge- Begins August 26th


EPISODE 31 | REAL FOOD FOR REAL PREGNANCY w/ Lily Nichols RDN, CDE

How to Feel Good, Build a Healthy Baby and Avoid Gestational Diabetes

Description: Today we welcome Lily Nichols, Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator,  researcher and an author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Lily draws from the current scientific literature and blends it with the wisdom of traditional culture and nature. We talk about the Western expectation of women managing it all directly after pregnancy and giving birth, and Lily’s prescription for healing and self-care. She shares how she began backing philosophy with results and clinical data to author two of her groundbreaking books, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes and Real Food for Pregnancy. She also gives some of her top picks for pregnancy food, embracing mindfulness, and how she feeds her family for months at a time using only two animals. Let your intuition guide you, and then use Lily’s book to prove these decisions with scientifically proven data.

Get the first chapter of Real Food for Pregnancy Free

To share your own fertility story, please email me at hillary@ladypotions.com. I look forward to connecting with you, as you are what this podcast is all about.

 

Takeaway:

[2:26] Lily wrote Real Food for Pregnancy when her son was 10 months old, and she herself was healing from pregnancy and birth.

[3:48] Lily encourages prioritizing food and self-care at all stages of pregnancy, including the preventative stage prior, and the fourth trimester, the postpartum months.

[7:38] It was almost by accident that Lily got into the nutrition field. She was looking for a part-time role in the nutrition field that did not include a hospital, saw an opening for California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program and starting working clinically in Gestational Diabetes. As she implemented the nutrition element of the protocol in the clinic, she noticed a lack of improvement. The common sense side of her observed the current guidelines didn’t emphasize real foods, and were pretty high-carb.

[8:47] Women with Gestational Diabetes are often not able to tolerate large amounts of carbs without elevated blood sugar. These findings led Lily down the path of researching a low carb and nutrient dense diet from real foods. She started using it clinically and knew she was on to something with excellent results. This led her to author her first book, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes. This changed the course of how many viewed their philosophy in the nutrition and pregnancy field.

[14:38] Lily comes at the information from a proactive and informed outcome, not a fear-based one.

[18:12] Lily shares some sample meal plans compared to the current recommended ones, and the breakdown of the ratio between protein, carb, etc.

[21:20] Carbohydrates are in many vegetables and fruits.

[22:07] There is very little nutrition education for MD’s, and much of what they are learning is outdated. One example is the hesitancy for the low carb diet due to ketones in the urine.

[24:27] Organ meats and liver are the most nutrient dense parts of an animal. Supplying a high amount of iron, choline and B12, Lily supplies recipe ideas in her books on incorporating it dishes, so you aren’t eating a whole plate of just liver.

[35:07] When choosing animal products, Lily is a proponent of choosing the highest quality and best sourced meat. Nothing goes to waste and she encourages families to purchase from a farmer and utilize the whole animal.

[38:57] Even the most culinary-challenged person can develop basic skills to make a flavorful and nutritious meal.

[45:14] Lily gives us some good news — her opinion is that small amounts of caffeine are okay. A lot of the foods that are mentioned to avoid due to food borne illness are also ones that provide critical nutrients. She suggests eating foods sourced from high quality places, and the risk is extremely low. 

[52:58] Eating well is one of the ways we can be mindful in pregnancy. Mindful moments, spiritual self-care and moving our body are also key elements to keep our body aligned through the process. It’s not about pushing and resisting, it’s about being mindful and going with the flow in a gentle. guided way.

 

Continuing your journey:

Lily Nichols Blog

Real Food for Pregnancy- amazon

Real Food for Pregnancy — Get the First Chapter Free 

Gestational Diabetes info and course by Lily Nichols

Real Food for Gestational Diabetes

California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program

@lilynicholsrdn on Instagram

@ladypotions4u on Twitter

@ladypotions4u on Instagram

American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine

Disclaimer * 

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 14 | PLACENTAS, PUSHING & THE 4TH TRIMESTER | PT2 w/ Dawn Herring

Why we use our placenta, how to get labor going, and understanding when an intervention is medically necessary.

Description: We are thrilled to have the awesome Dawn Herring of Empowered Birth Series back as our guest today. Like myself, Dawn wants to change the conversation in labor to where it can unfold throughout the process and the woman finds it easier to trust her body through grounded knowledge and preparation. Every woman is different, every birth is different, and we are here to share our full-circle journeys to help empower and free us from an exact perception of what birth should look like. I talk with Dawn about the Bishop Score, placentas, and the importance of taking labels off any judgment of looking at any and all options during childbirth and conception. We hope our talk inspires you to allow what is and listen to your own body as a guide.


Takeaways

[7:16] Dawn shares how some of the complications of her own birth experience helped to heal her own judgment and expectations on how birth should be. Now she can provide information neutral and evidence-based.

[18:26] When discussing an intervention, it’s important to first check upon the health of mother and baby.

[19:10] Dawn discusses what a Bishop Score is, and how women can use it to their advantage as a powerful tool and dialogue to determine what type of intervention, if any, is appropriate.

[28:01] Dawn shares the tricks of encouraging labor to begin that she teaches in her Class 4. She is a huge fan of acupressure, herbs, a chiropractor trained in the Webster Technique, and nipple stimulation. It is very important to be in touch with your practitioner and/or midwife regarding these plans so everyone can be on board with the plan.

[35:44] Most women’s water breaks while they are in labor. If the water does break before labor, Dawn likes the use the COAT method to know what to look for: Color, Odor, Amount, and Time.

[46:53] Dawn and I both have seen a lot of information on the placenta, and discuss the possibility of eating your placenta. There have been thousands of years with research to back up that for the right situation it can be beneficial and healthy.

[57:30] Dawn’s last class talks about the 4th trimester which I think is so crucial. This is where every new mom really starts to doubt herself and I’ve seen education and grandmothers and friends make a huge difference at this stage in a woman’s life so I love that she broached this subject.

 

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

 

Continue Your Journey:

Bishop Score Research

Debra Betts — Acupuncture and Acupressure for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Placenta- buddha belly doula & placenta services

Acupressure App on google Play

More Placenta! Research

Episode 7 | Is Adrenal Fatigue Behind Your Infertility?

Treating Adrenal Fatigue Naturally to Restore Your Fertility for Both Males & Females

Description: In today’s episode we are talking all about burnout — how it happens, how to recover naturally, which herbs to take and why meditation helps. I will also cover how long it takes to fully recover, and why so many of us in our culture experience a higher level of stress than ever before. As we mentioned in previous episodes, our society puts an emphasis on “doing” rather than “being” and accomplishment rather than relaxation and rejuvenation. While both are necessary for a balanced and successful life, we’ve seen more cases of burnout and adrenal fatigue than ever before, and I wanted to tackle the subject of which herbs could help those of you who are just plain burned out. Today, I'll be going through the main adaptogens and highlighting their functions when it comes to treating fertility in both men and women, along with their general functions, so you can make an informed choice for your situation.

Takeaways

[:59] We have seen more cases of burnout and adrenal fatigue recently in my clinic due to the effects of Hurricane Irma.

[1:49] Burnout happens when you’ve pushed your stress response system past its limit of nightly repair. You’ve been ‘stretched’ for so long that you’ve actually started to put a strain on your body rather than simply being mentally fatigued. It begins to take a toll on your physicality and your reproductive hormones take a nosedive,  along with your immune system, energy, and cognitive repair mechanisms. Your brain starts saying, “I can’t let you keep pushing yourself like this anymore, so I’m going to basically send you into exhaustion and breakdown so you have no choice but to hit the brakes and pull over to the side of the road.”

[2:25] Dr. Hammer, my mentor, used to describe adrenal fatigue like this as a type of protective depression that comes over the body in order to force you to rest.

[3:32] Here are just some of the many common symptoms and health problems caused by adrenal burnout:

  • Blood sugar problems and insulin resistance, which is both prediabetes and hypoglycemia

  • Brain fog, concentration problems

  • Difficulty falling asleep (you feel “tired and wired”) or restless sleep

  • Digestive symptoms

  • Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Feeling stuck in the “on” position – overwhelmed and overdrive

  • Food cravings, especially for sugar, carbs, or fatty foods, and afternoon sugar or caffeine cravings

  • Frequent colds, infections

  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes

  • Hormonal imbalances, PMS, fertility problems, menopause symptoms

  • Inflammation, joint pain, fibromyalgia

  • Irritability, anxiety, or depression

  • Waking up tired in the morning

  • Weight gain (especially that “spare tire” or those “muffin tops”) due to cortisol being released

[5:49] Today I'll be talking exclusively about my favorite category of herbs called adaptogens to help you heal your adrenal fatigue and burnout. Adaptogens are a group of herbs that were first categorized with that name around the 1940s, though they’ve been used in traditional herbalism for thousands of years for their ability to improve stamina, fertility, and immunity, and as general tonics to promote longevity and well-being. Adaptogens help to regulate the hypothalamus and adrenal glands (your HPA axis), which are in charge of your stress response and cortisol production. In a stressful situation, adaptogenic herbs maintain and restore balance, normalizing your physiological response to prevent your body and mind from jumping into overdrive and becoming exhausted at every stressor. This protects your skin and body from the toll of stress and the damage of hormones like cortisol that stress releases.

[7:32] The herbs that I am discussing in this series all fall into the “generally regarded as safe” category, but that does not mean they are safe for everyone. There aren't many studies done with these herbs during pregnancy, and not all herbs are suitable for all people, so just something to keep in mind along your journey.

[8:28] Many herbs work synergistically with other herbs, so even though I am going to outline individual herbs in this series, keep in mind that most of them, if not all, are going to work best when they are combined with other compatible herbs. This is also an area where an herbalist's training and skill can take healing to a whole new level. That said, there is also value in the practice of “simpling,” where you focus on using just one single herb so you can intimately connect with its effects before using in a more powerful combination.

[9:06] While you'll start to feel improvements in as little as a week, I tell most patients to stay on them for 3-6 months and then come off and see how you feel. It all depends on how depleted you are and it takes some time to reverse damage from prolonged stress.

[10:45] Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is one of the most clinically researched adaptogens with widespread traditional uses. With the ability to aid in regulating the production of cortisol, it manifests anti-fatigue, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant benefits. Rhodiola has been studied for the ability to reduce stress in night duty physicians and fight off the fatigue of students caused by stress during exams. Strong scientific evidence for Rhodiola Rosea SHR-5 extract exists in improving attention, cognitive function, and mental performance in fatigue and in chronic fatigue syndrome. Rhodiola extract helps promote a calm emotional state and supports strong mental performance, optimal immune function, and hormonal balance. If you've ever seen it in its raw form you immediately notice its light pink color and sweet rose scent. Its cooling nature helps to avoid jitteriness that can sometimes be a side effect of other adaptogens like ginseng. This is why I reach for Rhodiola when I'm trying to reduce anxiety in a patient. It also improves mental and physical stamina, improves sleep, and reduces, “burn out,” and irritability. It boosts the immune system, decreases the frequency of colds and infections, and reduces inflammation. It is used in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome as well as fibromyalgia. It can be beneficial for poor appetite and as part of a treatment plan for chronic stress headaches. It's helpful in the treatment of ADHD, especially when coupled with high doses of essential fatty acids like fish oil. Personally I have used it multiple times while climbing the Pyrenees to avoid altitude sickness. It works exceptionally well for this when combined with cordyceps, reishi mushroom, and holy basil. In Tibet, it's been used for eons before ascending Everest. If you are interested in coming to the Pyrenees with me next year, check out our retreats page for more info.

[14:02] This herb has been coveted and used as medicine by many over thousands of years.The ancient Chinese had such regard for this herb that they sent expeditions into Siberia to obtain it. Siberians also secretly transported it down to the Caucasian mountains where it was traded for wines, honey, and garlic. And newly married Siberian couples routinely receive bouquets of Rhodiola as a sentiment towards increasing fertility. In men it improves erectile dysfunction, low libido. In women it relieves amenorrhea and infertility caused by minor hormonal imbalances or stress. And because of its additional ability to control blood sugars, it can be useful in the treatment of Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).  

Dose: 200-400 mg in capsules or tablets daily OR 2-3 mL (40-60 drops) of tincture, in water, 2-3 times daily. As a decoration simmer 1-2 tsp with 8-10 oz water for 15 min covered for then steep for an additional 45 minutes. Strain and consume 1-3 cups per day as needed. Use products standardized to 2-3% rosavin and 0.8-1% salidroside and of the Rosea variety.

Cautions: Avoid if you have bipolar depression with manic behavior. Rarely it can cause insomnia in very sensitive people.

Adrenal Response by Innate 

Adrenal Response CC by Innate 

HPA Axis by Gaia

Cortisol Calm — paired with the next herb Ashwagandha

[15:42]  Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, sometimes known as Indian ginseng, is one of the most commonly used adaptogen herbs in Ayurvedic healing to help balance and restore the body. Ashwagandha is a powerful calming agent, naturally lowering cortisol, reducing fatigue, balancing thyroid hormones and regulating immune function.

Ashwagandha has over 4,000 years of traditional use in India. It is considered both a food and a tonic medicine for improving energy, memory and learning, promoting libido, and preventing premature aging. Ashwagandha is calming and anti-inflammatory. It is used to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, improve memory, and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress (damage from inflammation). It boosts the immune system, is included in the treatment of arthritis, and can be beneficial in the treatment of fertility challenges.

It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine mixed with ghee and honey to treat low sperm count and sexual debility. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that investigated a group of 46 male patients between 26 and 40 years of age who had low sperm count, between 5-20 million/ml. The group receiving the treatment were given 225 mg per day of a full spectrum root extract of ashwagandha. Ashwagandha root has also been used traditionally as an aphrodisiac and has been found in numerous studies to increase the secretion of testosterone in humans and animals.

Surprisingly, after just 90 days of therapy, the study found that the Ashwagandha group experienced a whopping 167% increase in the amount of sperm when compared to the control group. It was also found that the Ashwagandha group experienced a 57% increase in sperm motility. Serum testosterone also increased in this study by 17%, and LH (luteinizing hormone) by 54%. It is quite clear that ashwagandha is a tonic to the male reproductive system when the information from this study and previous studies are combined. It is for this reason that I recommend that women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome do NOT use Ashwagandha for stress, fertility or adrenal health (even though it is present in many fertility formulas for women). Women with PCOS already have high levels of male hormones and in theory, Ashwagandha could take the hormones the wrong way. It is thought that ashwagandha works not only through improving male hormone parameters but also by reducing stress. it is known that stress increases the amount of radical oxygen species that can damage the sperm. It can be helpful for a woman that is experiencing weakness from repeated heavy menstrual bleeding or recurrent miscarriage. I like it mixed with holy basil and nettles for this indication.

[19:27] Aviva Romm suggests It’s suited for when you might say:

  • I’m tired and wired.

  • I struggle to fall asleep.

  • I have chronically achy and painful joints or arthritis.

  • I deal with memory and brain fog.

  • I’m nervous or anxious.

  • I have chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or chronic muscle tension.

Dose: 3 to 6 grams of the dried herb in capsule form daily OR 1 to 4 mL (20-80 drops) of tincture, in water, 3 times per day. Decoction: take 1/2 tsp dried root in 8 oz of water, simmer for 10 minutes, steep for an additional 30 min. Consume 4 oz 2-3 times a day as needed.

Cautions: Not for use in pregnancy; though not likely to be a problem, use cautiously if you are sensitive to plants in the nightshade family; avoid with pharmaceutical sedatives and pain medications. Avoid if you have hemochromatosis (excess iron). Avoid using if you have hyperthyroid.

[20:04] Holy Basil: The Vitalizer

Holy or “sacred” basil has been revered in India for over 5,000 years as an herb that calms the mind and spirit and promotes longevity. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is called Tulsi, which means “incomparable one.” It is used to improve energy and relieve fatigue, for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions, and to lower blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Holy basil may also protect the liver, helps with nicotine withdrawal, and elevates the mood, especially providing relief from mild depression. While this herb is related to common basil, it is a different species and common basil is not a substitute. Not only is it used as a medicinal, it is sacred to the Hindu religion and is used in the morning prayers to ensure personal health, spiritual purity, and familial well-being. Strings of beads from the plant's stems are used in meditation to give clarity and protection, hence its name. Daily use of this herb is believed to help maintain the balance of the chakras of the body. It is acclaimed as possessing sattva (energy or purity) and as being capable of bringing on goodness, virtue, and joy.

Properties: adaptogens, antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant, antiviral, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue (promotes the flow of breast milk), and immunomodulator.

Dose: 2-3 mL (40–60 drops) of tincture, in water, three times daily

Cautions: None known.

[22:32] Shatavari: The Hormonal Harmonizer, Queen of Women’s Adaptogens                            

Shatavari is considered the “Queen of Herbs” in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is beloved as one of the most powerful rejuvenating tonics for women. It is nourishing and calming, as well as hormonally balancing; it is used for irritability and many hormonal imbalances affecting the mood, for example, emotional symptoms of PMS and menopause. It is also used as a fertility tonic and may be used for vaginal dryness, low libido, and sleep problems and perimenopause. In addition, research suggests benefits for improving immunity, antioxidant activity, improved insulin secretion, reduction in gastric acidity, and the prevention of stress ulcers. It has mild estrogenic and cholesterol-lowering effects.

Dose: 2-4 mL (40-80 drops) of tincture, in water, 2-3 times daily

Cautions: Avoid if you have a history of estrogen-receptor positive cancer.

“Due to lack of safety data, I do not recommend adaptogens for use during pregnancy, however, they are considered safe for use while breastfeeding, and can help new moms to cope with the stress and demands of sleepless nights! I also do not recommend adaptogens if you are taking any medications that suppress the immune system, unless your doctor also approves, as there can be herb-drug interactions in this case.”

— Hillary Talbott

 

Continue Your Journey- Links, References & Citations:

Herbal Consult

You wouldn't take your car to the plumber to get it fixed so why wouldn't you consult an herbalist when looking for the safest natural fertility solution when you are trying to conceive? Customizing herbal blends and sourcing them from safe and reputable suppliers is what I do all day long every day and I want to help you and your partner feel better and conceive faster. With this option you will undergo the same evaluation I put my acupuncture patients through before prescribing anything. We will go over your history & your partner's history, current medications, past bbt's, and any past labs so you know you are receiving a custom herbal solution unique to you.