EPISODE 27 | ADVANCEMENTS IN TREATING RECURRENT PREGNANCY LOSS | Dr. Zev Williams, M.D, PhD

Today’s episode features Zev Williams, M.D., Ph.D. He is the Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center and is a nationally-recognized clinician and researcher in the area of recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility. Not only is he one of the most brilliant minds I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing, he is incredibly humble, gracious, and passionate about his work. His intentions to help couples overcome recurrent pregnancy loss by building healthy happy families came through so clearly during this chat.

We touched on why miscarriage rates are so high and why the public has false perceptions about it being a rare event. He spoke about how his research has even uncovered a way to find out if the cause of a miscarriage was chromosomal even years after the fact in some cases. He explained the differences in PGD and PGS testing when using IVF and when and for whom it might be highly beneficial. We also spoke about MTHFR gene mutation, and what it really means in regards to treatment strategy and further testing. We even touched on his work with stem cells and the potential they have for one day helping women who experience premature ovarian failure to overcome this devastating diagnosis. He explained new ways to treat endometriosis and preserve fertility and new ways to diagnose PCOS. 

Takeaway:

[1:15] Dr. Williams completed his M.D. and Ph.D. training in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine before continuing to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital for his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. After completing his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Weill Cornell, Dr. Williams then did a post-doctoral fellowship in RNA biology in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Tuschl at Rockefeller University.

[1:45] Dr. Williams has also achieved success in federally-funded research projects in several different areas of study, having received numerous NIH grants to support his work. Currently, as part of an NIH R01 grant, Dr. Williams is engaged with a research project intended to use placental RNA as a screening tool for diseases and complications of pregnancy, to enable early intervention, and to provide insights into disease pathogenesis for things like pre-eclampsia.

[4:35] Dr. Williams works with couples and doctors all over the world, and the research that he and his colleagues find benefits those all over looking for answers on fertility.

[5:16] The PEARL Program that Dr. Williams started stands for Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. It is one of the only centers in the world that is both clinically focused, and a basic/translational research program dedicated trying to understand what causes unexplained miscarriages and trying to find ways methods to prevent them in the future.

[12:22] One of the realities of human reproduction is that is a very inefficient process. Of the eggs that get fertilized, very few result in a live birth.

[19:22] Dr. Williams explains the difference between PGD and PGS testing when using IVF, and who may benefit from these tests.

[26:54] We cover the MTHFR gene mutation and antiphospholipids, and what it really means in regards to treatment, strategy, and further testing.

[32:45] Dr. Williams explains the work on helping the brain to produce its own FSH (follicle stimulating hormones) which is the bodies own version of that hormone compared to traditional injections with his CORAL IVF which is an oral IVF requiring only one shot instead of 30.

[41:23] Dr. Williams shares the new ways to treat endometriosis and preserve fertility and new ways to diagnose PCOS.

[45:27] Diet is, of course, important to overall health, but also very important to pregnancy success. There are some factors that lead to Dr. Williams’ recommending a diet low in carbs and sugar.

[46:12] Egg freezing has become successful, but the challenge is that often women are thinking about freezing their eggs in their 20’s when the eggs have already lowered in quality. And fertilized eggs freeze better than eggs which require a partner.

[49:58] Once you are trying to conceive (and of course through all of the process), make sure to support each other. It’s a tough journey and you want to be going through it together.

Take the Fertile Minds Meditation challenge and see what a fertile mind feels like. Each day you’ll receive access to a 15 minute guided meditation designed to yield more clarity and calm no matter where you are on your path to building a family.

If you are feeling frustrated and wish you could experience feeling more patient this challenge is for you.

If you are finding yourself resentful and want to feel empowered instead this challenge is for you.

If you are feeling lost and overwhelmed with all things fertility and long to be more centered during the process of striving for a family this challenge is for you.

If you’ve wanted to add meditation to your self care routine but had no idea where to start this challenge is for you.

You'll learn how to shift your attention from the future to the present moment helping you to feel more fulfilled and patient with the process, your life, your partner and maybe even God.

You won't know though until you commit to the challenge. I'll be there with you every step of the way, one complete menstrual cycle, until it becomes your new favorite habit. Meditate, Listen, Trust, Repeat

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine

Dr. Zev Williams 

Dr. Zev Williams Bio 

Columbia University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology  

Efficient Differentiation of Steroidogenic and Germ-Like Cells from Epigenetically Related iPSCs Derived from Ovarian Granulosa Cells

FMR1 targets distinct mRNA sequence elements to regulate protein expression 

Nytimes.com/2015/11/26/health/progesterone-may-not-help-women-with-history-of-miscarriages-study-finds

Huffingtonpost.com/science-of-us/miscarriage_b_8000760.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

Wsj.com/articles/solving-the-mystery-of-miscarriages-1434389396

Columbiaobgyn.org/profile/s-zev-williams-md

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26000502

Nyp.org/enewsletters/advances/2018/gynecology/2018-Advances-Gynecology-Issue1.html

Continue Your Journey:

Link to sign up for free 29-day meditation challenge

@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 13 | VAGINAL STEAMS & THE ARVIGO TECHNIQUE | Jen Poll, LMT

Why You Might Want a Steam Bath for your Lady Parts and How Self Abdominal Massage May Help Your Fertility

 

Description: Our guest today is my dear friend, Jen Poll. Jen is a Licensed Massage Therapist in St. Petersburg, Florida. We have a great talk with Jen on the techniques of vaginal steams, abdominal massage, and her inspiration from teachings of Don Elijio Panti and Rosita Arvigo. Steaming and Abdominal Massage can be a great way for women to maintain and achieve uterine health, to reconnect with their own body and reclaim any power they may have previously surrendered. We cover what a vaginal steam is, and why a woman may want to steam her lady parts. The massage and steam can be as ritualized as you want or can be a scheduled simple self-care technique. We also cover what to expect during the process and situations where you may want to wait before jumping in.

Takeaways

[:49] Jen is a Licensed massage therapist in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 2008, Jen traveled to the Pacific Northwest to train as a practitioner of The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy. Having personally benefited from the techniques, Jen was eager to learn the work and share this ancient healing with others. I had the pleasure of working with Jen in a previous practice so I know first hand the transformative work she provides as I’ve referred countless patients and even been a client myself.

[3:22] Jen was having bad cramps and was working with a skilled midwife Anne Hirsch, who suggested the Arvigo massage to help alleviate some of her symptoms. She felt great relief and wanted to learn more so she could help women in all phases of life, from preconception to menopause; her passion is empowering women through transformative bodywork.

[6:41] They do a lot of work structurally and work with nerves to make sure all the ligaments are open and free so the body can do its job of maintaining balance and homeostasis within.

[12:21] Men can benefit as well, and it helps with prostate health to release congestion and blockages.

[16:03] One of the reasons we know about this work is based off the work of Don Elijio Panti and Rosita Arvigo. Jen explains how each of them carved a path for healing and didn’t give up despite many challenges and setbacks.

[21:35] The massage can be a great complement to other elements, including herbs and IVF. It can help women reconnect with themselves and partners.

[23:25] All about vaginal steams! Vaginal steam is used commonly in places like Korea and Central America. Please DO NOT use essential oils as they can burn the delicate skin of the vagina. The idea is to extract the oils safely out of the dried or fresh herbs during the steam.

[26:35] Jen explains why she uses a unit now with her clients, and during what time of the cycle it’s best to steam.

[28:56] There are many amazing herbs that can be put together for the steam, and it is important to go over each option with a trusted professional.

[29:40] Do NOT do the vaginal steam if there is a chance you are pregnant, during menstruation or an excessively heavy period.

[32:08] Focusing on the woman’s health is the safety net and most important investment.

[36:59] Post birth, it is a great practice for toning the pelvic floor and Jen recommends waiting at least 6-8 weeks.

[44:07] The uterus may retreat and hide due to stress, trauma, and age. In Chinese medicine, they call the uterus one of the “curious organs.” They can empty and fill at will and can be an outside indicator of what’s going on inside the body.

[47:48] One of the most important things we can do is love, trust, and support our own bodies.

How to Perform a DIY Vaginal Steam from the Maya Tradition or ATMAT

About five years ago a group of my friends facebook messaged me dying with laughter over an article they had found on vaginal steams asking me if this was legit? I had a chuckle because it was rather common place to me and I had forgotten about the shock value at first blush with it because I prescribed it so often in my fertility practice AND because I had such high regard for the Mayan Tradition. Long story short- I educated them all with some jokes here and there and I believe most of them have tried it by now with glowing comments like,

"It's actually quite nice."

"Who knew my lady parts deserved a facial."

and, "Why have I never heard of this?"

Recently, I sat down with Jen Poll LMT and registered Arvigo practitioner and we did an hour long podcast on all things in the Maya Tradition taught by Rosita Arvigo. Listen here to hear more about Vaginal Steaming, the difference between Maya Abdominal Massage and Fertility Massage and other techniques this heritage incorporates like castor oil packs and dietary therapy. Here are the basics on a  long overdue instructional blog post on how to DIY a vaginal steam.

Why To Do a V- Steam

  • To potentially increase your fertility both naturally or with IVF (consult an Arvigo practitioner for best times during an IVF cycle)

  • Increase cervical fluids and eliminate dryness

  • To nourish and tonify the uterine lining

  • To potentially regulate an erratic cycle

  • To release any energetic attachments to past lovers or hurts that may be a blockage in your womb

  • As a natural way to assist the body in naturally dissolving ovarian cysts or small fibroids

When To V-Steam

  • For preventative care – 1 week before the 1st day of bleeding.

  • For cysts, prolapse, pelvic pain, fibroids, endometriosis– 2 – 4 x a week

  • After a DNC or miscarriage – wait 3 weeks; make sure there is no infection prior to steaming.

  • Post delivery, wait 6-8 weeks, making sure you are not bleeding and there is no infection

  • If trying to conceive TTC, perform after period ends or before fertile window starts

  • At end of your period as a way to ritualize this monthly flow and make friends with your body

When Not To V-Steam

  • If there is any chance you are pregnant; if trying to conceive TTC, perform after period ends or before fertile window starts

  • When infection is present

  • If there are symptoms of damp heat in the pelvis, vagina or colon i.e. vaginal infection, candida, yeast infection, bacterial infection, active herpes outbreak

  • IUD- most are metal and could conduct heat and burn you

  • During menstruation- We want everything to come out, not in

  • If your periods are excessively heavy- having to change a pad, tampon or cup more than every two hours

Herbs to Consider Using For Vaginal Steam

  • Herbs that have an affinity for the urinary and reproductive organs; Red Raspberry Leaf, Juniper, Motherwort, Peony and Dong Quai/Tang Kuei, and Mugwort leaf

  • Herbs that move blood like  rosemary or Hong Hua for cramping, endometriosis or fibroids

  • Herbs that clear dampness like Pau’darco, Sarsparilla, or dandelion root for chronic conditions like cysts, non pathological cervical discharge

  • Herbs that contain volatile oils; Basil, Oregano, Lavender, Rosemary, Marigold, Garden Sage, Peppermint and Lemon Balm.

  • Herbs that are astringent or tonifying for conditions like hemmroids or prolapse; Witch Hazel, Yarrow, Cedar Berries, Rose and Juniper.

  • Traditional herbs the Maya use are dried basil, Calendula, Oregano, Yarrow and Lemon Balm. 

  • Herbs to avoid if you have sensitivity to Estrogen are Red clover, Dong Quai also known as Tang Kuei

  • Available for purchase here  https://www.arvigotherapy.com/rainforest/products3?tid=24

  • Individual herbs available for purchase at www.starwest-botanicals.com

  • If you are a patient for Hillary Talbott Roland DOM, FABORM at Art of Acupuncture or Virtually consult her for the best herbs and times related to your specific situation.

How To Steam Without a Special Chair (using your toilet or slatted chair)

  • Things you will need- toilet or slatted chair, 1-2 blankets made from natural fibers if possibly, socks or slippers, a stainless steel pot, a large ceramic or pyrex bowl to but the herbs into, your choice of herbal blend, and preferably an hour of alone time or quiet

  1. In a medium to large pot place chosen herbs (about 0.5-1 cup of dried herbs) and approximately 8 cups of preferably purified water into a vessel

  2. While putting herbs into pot, if you feel called to- clearly state your intentions for these healing herbs, say a prayer, or enter a state of pure mindfulness. This was a very ritualized practice in the Maya tradition where this was normal place, however, it is not a must for it to work so go with your instincts and what feels right for you.

  3. Bring water and herbs to a slow boil for about a 5 minutes, place lid on pot and bring down to a low simmer and allow herbs to steep for another 5-10 minutes with the lid on to contain most of the essential oils. 

  4. Place a ceramic or stainless steel bowl under a slatted chair or snuggly under the toilet seat

  5. Pour half of the water/herb mixture into the bowl. Replace lid on remaining mixture in pan and leave on stove top on low simmer.

  6. Wave your forearm above the herbal water and make sure the steam isn't too hot so you do not burn your lady parts. Do not sit down until the steam is comfortable for you. There is no prize for who can sit on the hottest pot!

  7. Remove your underwear and sit on the seat above the steaming water. 

  8. Cover your entire lower half to the ground with a blanket, sort of making a tent to keep the steam in.

  9. Make sure you are warm, socks, blanket around upper half of you if you aren't in a tropical climate

  10. You should feel warm, rolling heat for about 10 min. Try and be mindful during this time, simply observing how it feels to give yourself the gift of self care and quiet reflection without judgement.

  11. When the steam dies down dump the water mixture into the toilet or sink and repeat with the rest of the mixture starting at step 5. Don't forget to retest the heat before you sit!

If you can continue the gift of self care after this age old tradition, maybe give yourself permission to take a nap, read a yummy book or do something outside helping you to stay grounded while enjoying more of mother nature's special gifts. 

 

Continue Your Journey:

Dr. Rosita Arvigo

Jennifer Poll Website

Arvigo Therapy

Star West Botanicals

ThankYou-Mama.com