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Fertility Acupuncture

Your Natural Guide to An Easy Egg Retrieval

By | Fertility Acupuncture, Fertility Supplements, Natural Fertility Support | No Comments

Your Natural Guide to an Effortless Egg Retrieval

Did you know that the egg retrieval procedure is considered minor surgery? No to worry though, you’ll be sedated! (Which means don’t go alone, you’ll need someone to drive you home.) This blog is filled with tips and tricks to get you through the procedure with knowledge and ease. No surprises here!

What’s happening exactly?

Your eggs are typically retrieved through transvaginal ultrasound aspiration (the same ultrasound you’re already used to.) A fine needle is inserted into the ovaries to extract the eggs. In certain circumstances, the ovaries are accessed through the abdomen through laparoscopic surgery. The procedure itself typically takes 30 minutes.

Sperm is retrieved at the same time, so make sure your partner abstains for the recommended amount of time and is ready to provide a sample!

You will need to take the day off for the procedure as you’ll be recovering from anesthesia and experiencing a moderate amount of cramping.

Is there anything to do to prepare?

Of course! Here are my top tips on how to prepare for the egg retrieval procedure, and recover like a champ

Before the Egg Retrieval

  1. Sleep peacefully

You’ll have a faster recovery when your body is well rested, but you might be nervous the night before! Ease your nerves with a few soothing yoga poses like lying with your legs up the wall, or doing some deep breathing in child’s pose 10 minutes before bedtime.

  1. Stay hydrated

Dehydrated tissues are more sensitive and pain medications & anesthesia can cause dehydration. I know you’re used to those full bladder ultrasounds so you should be a water drinking pro by now!

  1. Pack your diet with fiber

Pain medications & anesthesia can also cause constipation. If you eat lots of fiber in the days leading up to the retrieval it will make going to the bathroom a lot easier. Incorporate foods like chia, flax, oatmeal, fruits and veggies, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa… the list goes on. While you’re eating those fiber rich foods, prepare your meals for the day of your retrieval ahead of time (or better yet get someone else to make them for you) to make healthy eating easier.

  1. Stay calm with breathing techniques and meditation

You’ll have to be at the clinic early, why not use the wait time to keep yourself calm and centered. There are so many amazing apps you can download that will guide you through quick and easy relaxation techniques to try before the procedure begins. Some of my favourites are: Headspace, Calm, and Aware.

  1. Go for regular acupuncture

If you’ve read my other blogs you’ll already know the incredible benefits of fertility acupuncture and acupuncture for IVF. Not only will it improve the delivery of meds and nutrients to the pelvis with ample blood flow, it will ease your recovery after retrieval through tissue healing and relaxation. One to two sessions per week, leading up to the day of your retrieval, is ideal. If in extreme circumstances you cannot be sedated, acupuncture can be performed during the retrieval procedure for pain management.

After the Egg Retrieval

  1. Ready your heating pad & castor oil

Expect to experience some mild to moderate cramping after the surgery. A heating pad can ease the muscle spasms. To make the relieving effects stronger, lather some castor oil over your pelvis and apply a cloth and heating pad over top.

  1. Invest in ginger capsules

 

You may be prescribed over-the-counter analgesic medications like Advil and Tylenol to ease cramping. Ginger is also an extremely effective analgesic/anti-inflammatory and in high doses does not cause bowel or gastrointestinal symptoms. It will also ease any post-surgery nausea. Fertility supplements can be very helpful.

  1. Have some organic pantyliners handy

You might notice a little bit of spotting the day of the surgery. I find organic liners to be a lot less irritating than conventional liners. Treat yourself to some new ones!

  1. Cue up your favourite movies

You typically won’t need to take more than one day off to recover, but you will need the day of to recuperate. Get in your PJs and slippers and enjoy your favourite chick flicks and Netflix B-list movies (does anybody else watch those but me?)

  1. Get some more acupuncture

Here it is again! You’ve already done 12 sessions of acupuncture to optimize your eggs, now acupuncture can be used to relieve post-surgery symptoms. If you’re experiencing constipation, nausea, cramping, bloating, etc. acupuncture is your best friend.

The more in-control and in-the-know you are regarding the egg retrieval process, the better you will feel. I’m here to support you every step of the way. Book an appointment with me here

5 Natural & Effective Ways to Increase Uterine Lining Thickness

By | Fertility Acupuncture, Fertility Supplements, Natural Fertility Support, Prevent Miscarriage | No Comments

During natural cycles, cycle monitoring, IUI, IVF & FET

Uterine (or endometrial) lining thickness is a useful predictor of embryo implantation and miscarriage prevention. It is measured via ultrasound during cycle monitoring, IUI, IVF, and frozen embryo transfers. A thin lining can halt the entire fertility process, and not seeing any growth in thickness, despite medical efforts, can be really frustrating.

The Lining “Norm”


Uterine lining thickness varies depending on the phase of your menstrual cycle and hormonal influence.

On your period: 2-4mm

Follicular phase (before ovulation): 5-7mm

Ovulatory phase: 7-11mm

Luteal phase (after ovulation): up to 16mm

A lining < 8mm is associated with implantation failure, poor receptivity, and low pregnancy rates. The numbers aren’t the only measurement that matters. The endometrial pattern is also relevant; the most receptive lining is called triple-line or tri-laminar (due to its 3 layer appearance).

The most common pharmaceutical approach to a thin lining is supplementation with synthetic hormones; conjugated estrogen, progestin, or a combination of both like the oral contraceptive pill. Viagra is also used to increase pelvic blood flow (it ain’t just for men!) Not all women respond to these options, but thankfully there are natural alternatives. Naturopathic medicine and fertility supplements can be used in conjunction with hormones or alone to optimize your lining.

  1. Vitamin E

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    A 2017 study showed that 12 weeks of low-dose vitamin E supplementation in women with prior implantation failure increased endometrial thickness by 2mm and decreased inflammatory cytokines.

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  2. L-Arginine

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    A pilot study in 2010 used high-dose L-arginine to increase endometrial thickness and pelvic blood flow.

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  3. N-Acetyl-Cysteine

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    NAC is a super-fantastic-marvelous supplement. It has proven to improve endometrial thickness (pertinent here) as well as: induce ovulation, recruit mature follicles, reduce insulin sensitivity, and break down endometriomas! Woah!

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  4. Fruit: lemon, lime, orange, pomegranate, watermelon

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    What do all of these fruits have in common? They are nitric oxide producers. Nitric oxide dilates your blood vessels so more blood can be delivered to your uterus to build up that lining. Viagra works the same way, which means pomegranates are nature’s Viagra!

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  5. Acupuncture (including electro-acupuncture)

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    Fertility acupuncture is used to support embryo implantation and promote pelvic blood flow. It supports endometrial thickness by reducing stress on the uterine artery. Multiple studies have shown a statistically significant increase in pregnancy rates with acupuncture before embryo transfer and on the day of transfer.

When all else fails, remember that lifestyle makes a huge difference! Simple strategies like drinking at least 2L of water daily and moving your body with gravity can increase endometrial thickness.

Book an appointment to support your uterine lining!

References:

Jimenez, P. T., Schon, S. B., Odem, R. R., Ratts, V. S., & Jungheim, E. S. (2013). A retrospective cross-sectional study: fresh cycle endometrial thickness is a sensitive predictor of inadequate endometrial thickness in frozen embryo transfer cycles. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology11(1), 35.

Zhao, J., Zhang, Q., & Li, Y. (2012). The effect of endometrial thickness and pattern measured by ultrasonography on pregnancy outcomes during IVF-ET cycles. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology10(1), 100.

Al-Ghamdi, A., Coskun, S., Al-Hassan, S., Al-Rejjal, R., & Awartani, K. (2008). The correlation between endometrial thickness and outcome of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) outcome. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology6(1), 37.

Hashemi, Z., Sharifi, N., Khani, B., Aghadavod, E., & Asemi, Z. (2017). The effects of vitamin E supplementation on endometrial thickness, and gene expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and inflammatory cytokines among women with implantation failure. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 1-8.

Takasaki, A., Tamura, H., Miwa, I., Taketani, T., Shimamura, K., & Sugino, N. (2010). Endometrial growth and uterine blood flow: a pilot study for improving endometrial thickness in the patients with a thin endometrium. Fertility and sterility93(6), 1851-1858.

Nasr, A. (2010). Effect of N-acetyl-cysteine after ovarian drilling in clomiphene citrate-resistant PCOS women: a pilot study. Reproductive biomedicine online20(3), 403-409.

di Villahermosa, D. I. M., dos Santos, L. G., Nogueira, M. B., Vilarino, F. L., & Barbosa, C. P. (2013). Influence of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilisation when embryo implantation has failed: a prospective randomised controlled clinical trial. Acupuncture in Medicine31(2), 157-161.