Posts tagged fertility
Fertility Hormones: which to test + what they all mean

Blood work is a valuable tool to quantify hormone levels and fertility markers, which together give insight as to how our ovaries are functioning and the quality of the eggs they contain. If you are currently trying to conceive or thinking about getting pregnant in the next few years, testing your hormones can give you a lot of helpful information that will assist you in making informed decisions about your family planning.

If you’re new to learning about these hormones then all the abbreviations and numbers are enough to leave you feeling dizzy, but I’m going to explain what they mean for your health and fertility, and let you know exactly how you can test them yourself.

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What is the Fertile Window?

I always joke with my patients about the myths of ovulation, one of the main ones being - “today is the day, we’ve got to have sex right NOW!” There’s an episode of Friends with Monica and Chandler that comes to mind.

In reality, that’s not really how it works. Many people are surprised to find out that sperm can survive for up to 5 days in the female body during the fertile window. And because fertilization happens within 24 hours of ovulation, the full fertile window is actually 7 days long.

Let’s talk about how to figure out when your fertile window starts and ends.

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Crystals for Fertility, Cycle Health & Pregnancy

As an acupuncturist I work with crystals quite a bit and since my speciality is uterine health I tend to use mostly stones that have an effect on fertility, balancing hormones, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or postpartum. I'll tell you about some of my favorites and if any of them call to you, they're all available in my online store

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Using OPKs to Pinpoint Ovulation

Whether you're trying to conceive or you want to track your cycle to better understand your body, OPKs (Ovulation Predictor Kits) are commonly used to determine when you ovulate based on hormones released by your body. They are one of my favorite ways of determining ovulation because they are fairly easy to use and pretty damn accurate, but of course they do come with a few perimeters and a bit of a learning curve.

Which ones to buy? When to test and how? And what do these tiny pee strips actually mean? I'm going to explain it all for you right now.

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How Do STIs Affect Fertility?

Many women who are trying to conceive are prepared to chart their cycle, take a prenatal vitamin, and clean up their diet, but what about the effect of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) on fertility? Some of the most common STIs can have a profound effect on getting pregnant and in some cases require treatment before conception can occur. But not to worry, I'm going to break it all down for you.

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Considering Freezing Your Eggs? What you Need to Know

With so many women choosing to have children later in life, egg freezing (or its fancier name, oocyte cryopreservation) is becoming more and more popular. Even with its gain in popularity, I find women's views of the process tend to be riddled with misinformation and myths.

Often considered a feminist beacon of hope, egg freezing can allow women to have more control over their reproductive options, extending the window they would normally be able to get pregnant, and allowing more flexibility for when they choose to build a family. Yet so few women are accurately informed about what the whole process actually looks like, who it works best for, and how to improve their chances at successfully conceiving.

It's my mission to clear up that misinformation, debunk those myths, and give women real, actionable information about their options. That way, they can feel empowered to make informed decisions about their health.

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Folic Acid, Folate & MTHFR Deficiency - everything you need to know

We hear a lot about vitamin B9 (aka folic acid or folate) for fertility and pregnancy, and it’s for a good reason. It's necessary for DNA synthesis, and therefore is considered key for proper egg development and ovarian function, as well as embryo and fetal growth.

In fact, a budding embryo needs higher than usual levels of vitamin B9 before you even know you’re pregnant, and deficiencies are serious enough they can actually result in infertility, miscarriage, or birth defects. Being that B vitamins get depleted with stress and poor diets, many people tend to run deficient on this critical nutrient.

If we know how important it is, all we've got to do is take a supplement. Problem solved...right?

Well, with this vitamin in particular its not quite that simple. What form, the dosage, how our body metabolizes it, even a common genetic disorder, all play a huge role in the amount of vitamin B9 available. But not to fret! I'm going to break it all down for you here.

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Are you Having a Fertility Freakout?

With more and more women postponing motherhood by choice, compounded by a society that puts very little value on reproductive health education, I see so many women who find themselves in deep distress and panic about their fertility and/or family planning. It’s super common for issues surrounding fertility to cause anxiety, depression, anger, resentment, relationship issues, panic attacks, even secondary stress and anxiety symptoms, such as hives, insomnia, digestive upset, headaches, or chronic pain.

Especially if you are in your late 30s or early 40s, or if you’ve been diagnosed with some form of infertility, then fertility panic may have set in suddenly. Even for those who previously were convinced they didn’t want kids, a crisis may seemingly come out of no where and can be a confusing and painful experience.

If you are currently feeling yourself in the depths of a freak out, please know this: you are not alone and you are not broken. This is incredibly common, just age or a diagnosis alone does not mean you can't get pregnant, and even if it does, your worthiness is not dependent on your reproductive capability alone. If your panic is centered around the not knowing if you want kids or not, know that with time and introspection - and hopefully some therapy - the answer will come to you. Your path will light up before you in time, you don't have to figure everything out right at this moment.

Having supported several women through such crises, I can tell you there's no magic trick to make it all disappear, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer as to what to do. Every journey to build a family, or the decision not to, is unique to those who experience it. But I can tell you there are several things that may support you during and help you through this difficult time.

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What is Secondary Infertility?

Even if you're super familiar with fertility terms and reproductive health, secondary infertility doesn't get talked about all that much, so you may not have heard of it. Primary infertility refers to when someone has trouble getting pregnant the first time, while secondary infertility effects those who have already had a child and are having trouble conceiving again.

It may seem like a confusing scenario, if someone could conceive once, why can't they conceive again? But it's actually quite a common condition that I treat regularly.

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