By Dr. Elizabeth Taddiken, ND
The desire to have a child can be so strong that it often becomes all-consuming for many women and their partners. When the desire is there but natural conception is turning out to be a struggle, this can cause tremendous frustration and a number of other emotions ranging from sadness to anger. Many couples might feel their only hope is a fertility clinic to start a number of invasive treatments, yet they might not even realize that there is still so much that can be done to help achieve a natural pregnancy. There are several ways that nutrition, lifestyle, environment, hormones, and emotional health of both partners can be delaying conception.
According to the National Infertility Association, 1 in 8 couples are affected by infertility. Sometimes, there are structural reasons within the body that make it very difficult to become pregnant and may need surgical interventions, such as in the case of a blocked fallopian tube or uterine fibroids. Depending on the severity of the structural obstacle, there may be a need for a minor surgery where couples can still conceive naturally. However, other times couples will need to look at other options, and in that case there are amazing ways for couples to still have a child be it through IVF, IUI, adoption or surrogacy just to name a few. If you must use IVF or IUI, however, there are still wonderful naturopathic tools to prepare you to hold a healthy pregnancy to term. The underlying health issues of both partners must be addressed even if the couple has chosen to conceive via IVF or IUI. For those couples who have unexplained infertility, and have been trying for 1 year or longer to become pregnant (6 months or longer for those over 35), there is still hope to achieve this desire and deliver a healthy baby.
There are a number of risk factors that increase the chances of infertility including:
- Excess alcohol use
- Poor diet
- Athletic training
- Being overweight or underweight
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Health problems that cause hormonal changes
The first step is addressing these basic fundamentals that may be the simple root of the problem. These may be approached by the couple themselves, but what about those who feel they have and are still having struggles? What I have seen in my practice is that many patients don’t have all the information that they need to clear underlying obstacles. Advice tailored to the individuals is much more effective. For example, I often find that people are on a diet that is not working at all for them, yet it is touted as one of the healthiest diets on the planet. Or maybe they are exercising in a way that is backfiring on them and raising their cortisol because they themselves have higher cortisol levels naturally as an individual. Some couples have underlying environmental toxins in their home or work environment that have affected their hormones.
I have seen couples lifted out of infertility and into parenthood with naturopathic medicine. The process that I use is laid out in the Fertility Optimization Method. There are three distinct phases to this method. First, we get clarity on you as a patient. When you work with a licensed naturopathic physician, your entire health history, even down to your own birth, is taken into consideration. Sometimes this health history examination might go back as far as your grandmother’s health as we now know so much more about the importance of how genes are inherited and how they respond to the environment. This exam, with a detailed physical exam and pertinent labs, can give us a greater understanding as to the root cause of a couple’s infertility.
Next, we work to cleanse and restore. This process starts with removing the obstacles to an optimal internal environment ready to hold a healthy full-term pregnancy and birth. We will decrease any inflammation and restore balance to the body systems. We use a number of modalities including constitutional hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and of course diet and lifestyle guidance.
Finally, our 3rd phase is focused on regulating and optimizing while particularly zeroing in on hormonal health. As we have cleaned up all the other body systems, hormonal balance and regulation is already in process. If need be, we might work with botanical, nutritional or homeopathic medicine to assist here.
Struggling with infertility can feel isolating. It is often difficult for your closest friends and relatives to relate. However, you do not have to do this alone. Call me, Dr. Elizabeth Taddiken, at Rockwood Natural Medicine Clinic today to discuss The Fertility Optimization Method and your fertility future. Schedule today for a free 15-minute consult to discuss the entire process further and ask any questions. Let’s get you on the road to increased fertility and success for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby!