Studies have shown a delay from 3 to 11 years between the onset of symptoms and the final diagnosis of endometriosis, with an average of 9.28 years before receiving a proper diagnosis! A key contributor to this delay are not only those mentioned above, but the fact that symptoms of endometriosis overlap with other conditions leading to misdiagnosis. Women with endometriosis are 3.5 times more likely to receive a diagnosis of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Women are also 6x more likely to have diagnosed with PID (pelvic inflammatory disease).Read More
How soon should I come in for treatment?
The sooner the better. This doesn’t mean we can’t help you if you are late in your journey. We’ve seen it all from, “I’m trying to decide if I want to have a baby,” all the way to, "I’m having an IVF procedure in two weeks and I heard acupuncture can help.” After 10 years of doing this, my personal preference is to come 3 months prior to IVF if possible and as soon as you have made the decision to start trying to conceive.
With natural conception the sooner we can regulate a menstrual cycle, educate and correct any timing issues, do diagnostic tests, and introduce the concept of becoming more Yin in order to receive life, the sooner we usually have success.
With IVF we want to build the foundation to its peak level BEFORE going into a cycle. This is even more important when you consider the fact you will potentially harvesting eggs that will ultimately turn into more than one child. The length of follicular genesis of an egg ready to ovulate from the germ cell that it originated from deep within the ovary is 90-120 days. By treating the woman during this portion of the growth you can potentially have an outcome on its genetic expression that is positive while circulating as much nourishing blood to the ovaries and regulating the cycle to create an optimum uterine lining.Read More
To ICSI or not to ICSI? When it comes to IVF, there is an often overlooked variable at play, possibly affecting the health of your soon to be child known as ICSI (pronounced ICK-SEE) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. I feel like any couple considering IVF needs to understand what ICSI is, it’s history, and it’s potential health and reproductive implications in their unborn children before they can make an educated decision of whether or not it should be included in their protocol, i.e. Is it really necessary in your case?
History of ICSI
ICSI was invented in 1992, seemingly by chance, and realized with the birth of 4 children from four different women who had failed to conceive with other existing ART (Assisted Reproductive Techniques) procedures. As of 2011 it was used in 64% of the IVF cases in the US.  In regard to the popularity of ICSI, a cross-sectional survey of ART procedures performed in 60 countries during 2010 by the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART), reported that 63.0% (455,845 of 723,855) of all cycles utilized ICSI ranging from a prevalence of 58.4% in Asia to a virtual totality of 98.4% in the Middle East . Another recent publication, which analyzed ART trends in the United States between 1996 and 2012, reported an increase in the use of ICSI from 36.4% in 1996 to 76.2% in 2012 . I know what you are thinking right now. How could anything with such popularity in the medical field potentially be harming us? I think the answer is we don’t fully understand yet what its implications are when used without absolute necessity. I do think it is worth having a conversation about it with your partner and your REI when considering IVF and shopping costs, success rates and potential long term effects.
What is ICSI?
ICSI involves the in vitro injection of preselected spermatozoa into the cytoplasm of a mature oocyte after ovarian superovulation and oocyte retrieval. In a nut-shell for people like you and me…..The sperm is picked by the embryologist and injected into the egg after harvesting as many eggs as possible with ovarian stimulation meds. This seems like a brilliant idea for many couples with male factor issue like low sperm count and poor swimmers (motility), and those that only have sperm living in the testes and need it to be aspirated out, however, there are some questions that have come up since its use turned into somewhat of a frenzy in ART clinics shortly after its inception.
Are there serious genetic implications in the health or reproductive capabilities of those offspring created from the ICSI procedure because we have taken natural selection out of the process? If so, wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the offspring to first try and correct any underlying health issues in the father therefor lowering the potential of passing on any congenital issues? For the record, I know lots of walking, talking, smart, adorable kids that are a result of ICSI (though they haven’t reached a reproductive age yet so the verdict may still be out on their “health”) and while I am all for couples having a chance at conception, I do think it’s always import to ponder the following….
Just because we could doesn’t mean we should. Is it really necessary in your case based on the evidence and ethics committees suggestions. I.e. Is it untreatable male infertility or are we simply trying to bump up success rates of a successful IVF procedure (which btw in most clinics this is measured by 6 weeks pregnancy)?
ICSI may yield a higher success rate in IVF, therefore potentially lowering our financial obligation for ART treatment, but are we risking paying on the back end with a potential for higher risk risks of congenital malformations, epigenetic disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, subfertility (especially in males of fathers with male infertility), cancer, delayed psychological and neurological development, and impaired cardiometabolic profile? According to a 2018 study, the aforementioned conditions have been observed to be greater in infants born as a result of ICSI than in naturally conceived children? 
How can we go about getting our male partners as healthy as possible preconception to lower the above mentioned risks? For instance Ashwagandha was found to help regulate male hormones and oxidative stress and correct fertility semen analysis at a dosage og 5gm/ day for 3 months, especially when the infertility was thought to be stress related. [4}, 
I’ve written this not as a dig for those of you that are parents to ICSI children or to worry those couples that are considering it in their ART protocols, but as a way to spur a healthy conversation with your partner about potential downfalls, risks, wins, and ethical concerns. I hope it sparks a healthy debate and a thirst for more information on the subject so you can make an informed decision that fits your situation. All too often I think this aspect of IVF is glossed over for couples. I’m hoping to change those potential risks mentioned by taking a risk here talking about hot button topic because the future of human genetics and your child’s own fertility could certainly be affected by it.
References for further reading
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 2009 Success Rates Assisted Reproductive Technologies. American Society for Reproductive Medicine & Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology [Internet] 2011.
It has been said that your birth story dictates how you will parent. It is the essentially the fractal that plants the seed for how you will FEEL about mothering. At first blush it can seem like an overwhelming concept, but if you think about it in generalities it’s simplicity shines through. For most of us, our thoughts dictate our feelings which dictate our actions and actions give rise to our results or circumstance.Read More
Sometimes our breastmilk needs a helping hand. if you were what TCM refers to as blood deficient or yin deficient, this can be especially true. Other times, stress and the fight of flight response can hinder our milk supply. I find that if a woman has had a particularly traumatic first time birth, there is a tongue tie that makes it difficult for the baby to get a good latch or if nutrition has not been a priority milk production can be low right out of the gates leading to more frustration for mama and baby. Another time when the milk supply can take a dent is when mom returns to work or experiences a particularly stressful event (breastfeeding in and of itself can be this event for some). Today I’m going to share with you my tried and true breast milk tea recipe. It’s strong, but when done right it, you usually only have to make this batch once and drink it for 2 days to bolster the supply back, twice tops. You can purchase all fo these herbs at Star West Botanicals or Mountain Rose Herbs which are two of my favorite suppliers of organic and ethically sourced herbs. Or you can DM us to send you a batch or two to have on hand.
Fennel- Foeniculum vulgare- 10 gm - a lactogogue and spasmolytic known to increase milk supply
Alfalfa- Medicago Sativa- 15gm A nutritive herb indicated for Iron deficiency that moistens dryness in the lady parts
Milky Oats- Avena Sativa- 10 gm-A nerving shown to help with nervous exhaustion and to increase milk supply
Blessed Thistle- Cnicus Benedictus- 10 gm - Both an appetite stimulant and lactagogue known to increase breast milk
Red Raspberry Leaf- Rubus idaeus- 10gm- a nutritive and astringing herb that is a known uterine tonic
Lavender- lavendula officinalis- 5gm- a mild antidepressant with mild sedative properties to help you both stay calm and nurse on
Chamomile- Matricaria recutita- 5gm- an anti-inflammatory, nerving and spasmolytic used to decrease pelvic pain, decrease insomnia and soothe the nerves.
Please use a pot that does NOT have a non stick coating if possible. Add above herbs with 2 liters of clean filtered water. Bring to a boil, place lid on pot and reduce to a simmer for 20 min. Strain tea and compost or toss the herbs. Save tea in glass jars if possible (mason jars work great). Consume the tea over the next 48 hours either hot or cold. Refrigerate after cooking. Keeps 4 days in fridge max. Again, 1-2 batches
As always with any “natural” solutions, this is not a substitute for medical care. I encourage you to run it by your medical practitioner, especially if you have a complicated medical history including estrogenic fed cancers. If you were lucky enough to have had a midwife or doula they may have already suggested something similar. And if nursing is not all that you had hoped for, please contact a postpartum doula or lactation consultant to come to your home and help. You can find one at DONA.org or if you are in the tampa bay area reach out to @buddhabellybirth for some stellar postpartum care. You and baby deserve the best during this time and sometimes we all need a little help.
Acupressure for starting labor.Read More
Why should you meditate when trying to conceive? Here is the simple easy to digest answer. When you are stressed, even in low grade fight or flight, our sex hormones drop. Our brain tells our body that our surroundings are not safe enough to create and sustain life so it short circuits our hormones before we can even try. When you meditate 15-30 minutes a day, you actually move your nervous system from fight or flight into a state known as rest and digest or breed and feed sending the message to your body that all is well and normal programming can begin again. Your body wants to create life, just not in the face of stress. The problem is, the reptilian part of our brain that sounds the stress alarm bells and ceases hormonal production hasn’t caught up with modern day society. It thinks your email dinger or that doctors appointment you have scheduled is the equivalent to a saber tooth tiger waiting to make you lunch. After 8 weeks of meditation your brain actually starts to reshape itself, specifically in the hippocampus and the amygdala, the areas that help with our resolve to keep trying and proper emotional responses.
Nod with me if you could stand to be a little less emotionally reactive and strengthen your resolve to keep trying to having a healthy happy baby.
Thirty minutes of meditation has even been shown to be more powerful than REM sleep. How can this be? Well, after the sun has risen and we are still trying to sleep, our pineal gland stops making melatonin and serotonin (feel good calming hormones). Our skin actually relays the message to our pineal gland via mitochondria that the sun is up and it’s time to stop making those hormones.
When we meditate during the day, it by passes this message affecting the pineal gland directly turning on our ability to continue to make these super calming hormones enabling us to sleep better and fight the, “Where’s my baby blues?”
I often describe fertility struggles as a path of spiritual endurance, because no matter whether you practice religion or not, your resolve and faith is tested over and over. Meditation can help you dig deep and find your resolve and confidence.
This is exactly why I created the first ever Fertility Meditation challenge.
This is something that has been on my mind and in my heart for years now and it’s really cool seeing it all finally piece together in this work of art really. It’s been huge for me to be able to creative express myself and teach a population that deserves as much help as they can get. And it’s allowing me to affect the lives of as many people as possible. If I can teach people how to know themselves better faults and all, how to love a little deeper, how to stay cool and calm under stress, and how communicate in a more conscious manner BEFORE they become parents, I actually get to help shape the trajectory of lives before they are created and to me that’s just so cool. Men and Women spend so much money on anything that will help them try to conceive, and I wanted to create a free place of sanctuary for them.
These practices will help you to ease suffering, break through limiting beliefs, regain touch with yourself and your partner, and increase your resolve to keep trying and your enhance your faith in your body.
My beloved teacher, davidji pioneered this path by creating the first ever meditation challenge when he was Deepak Chopra's right hand man for a decade. All of those Deepak & Oprah challenges are a result of his day dream and I now I have followed his path crafting a challenge that is truly unique to the needs of a couple trying to conceive.
Because Meditation has its roots in other cultures I thought I would go over a couple basic terms so you feel confident along the way. You'll also get a feel for the types of meditations you will be doing during the challenge.
You’ll hear me say Mantra a lot. The word mantra means Mind Vehicle or Mind Tool. It is the tool we will use as a point of light focus. Learning to direct your attention where you want it rather than being reactively tossed around like a ping pong ball certainly has its benefits when you think about doctors appointments, procedures, giving blood, awaiting test results or even the two week wait. You’ll learn how to redirect yourself from that recording in your mind to a happier calmer place. I don’t know about you, but the recording that replays in my mind can say some pretty harsh stuff when it gets going. The mantra meditation will help you to understand that you have thoughts, but you aren’t your thoughts and that you have the ability to place your awareness anywhere you want, even when that recording is really really loud.
The other term you will hear a ton is chakra. Chakra means wheel. I like to think of it as an energetic gear with a certain job. Sometimes that gear is well oiled and moving nicely, other times it gets clogged and rusty. Being that all 7 gears or chakras interlock with one another like the insides of a watch, if one is stuck it can throw the entire system off. Chakras are energetic centers that have the ability to house our emotions and beliefs. And because energy precedes matter, energetic accumulations or depletion in these areas starts to affect our physiology over time. We are going to spend a lot of time in this challenge, cleaning them out, oiling them up and examining and tossing any belief that don’t serve you and your ability to become a parent.
Here's an example of what you'll experience each day.
There are colors associated with each chakra. Some people see or sense them immediately, others do not and it takes some time. Just like some people are a visual learner over auditory or kinetic which is learning by feeling and doing, your strengths in meditation will take on one of those characteristics. I was one of those people that couldn't see the colors at first, though I was acutely aware of the feeling of the chakra in my body when I placed my attention on it. So don’t worry if you don’t see the colors, or if you can’t seem to hold onto a mantra, or you don’t feel what I’m describing. This is the very reason I am presenting you with three different ways of meditating so you can find your strengths and or develop your weaknesses.
And finally, why acupressure points? I wanted to help bring your meditations into the body so I choose to add them in. The meridians or what are known as the extraordinary vessels in traditional chinese medicine that I have chosen for this challenge, are the ones I use in my practice when treating fertility and gynecological issues with great success. I wanted to give everyone the experience of being able to tap into these areas, regardless of where you live or whether or not you can afford acupuncture. Don’t worry about getting the point perfectly right. There will be pictures and you’ll hear me describe where to go during the meditation. It’s more about the intention and using your mind to connect with areas of your body than it is about getting it exactly right so don’t get hung up on perfection.
There will be a place at the end of each meditation where you can comment about what you liked or didn’t like and if you feel open to sharing any questions or experiences you had, great!
This challenge begins August 26th. I’m keeping the doors open for the first 3 days, until August 29th. There's great power in a collective group of people doing something together and I want to keep everyone at relatively the same place to capitalize on the power of this unique collective.
If you know anyone that could benefit, reach out to them and lift them up by inviting them in!
Click the image below & you’ll find the path to a brief chakra meditation that goes over all seven chakras.
Some days we will be focusing on one or two, but truly they work together as a system which is why you will be starting with all of them. I wanted to give you a little taste of the kind of meditations we will be doing. I’ll see you then!
Vaginal Steaming For FertilityRead More
Herbs to reduce your stress response.Read More
The more energy you have, the easier it is to conceive.Read More
I'd always been fascinated by the limits of the human body. I was about to find out that pregnancy and birth provided a far greater teaching of the body's extraordinary capabilities than mere athletics ever would.Read More
Alright ladies, here are some acupressure points you can use to induce labor naturally or help a stalled labor get back on track. To be clear, please don't start these until your are full term. Also, because we are using pressure instead of needles (acupuncture), it's going to take some effort on your part. What do I mean by this, I mean you or your partner are going to have to do them every hour or so and sometimes for days to really get things rolling. So, don't try it once and decide it didn't work. Make a decision and keep at it.Read More