Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Fertility NOW!

From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO…

 

In the recent news, there has been a lot of conflicting information on the role of diet, exercise, stress, and fertility treatments for patients trying to conceive. Eat ice cream, don’t eat ice cream. Exercise more, exercise less. The truth is that a cookie-cutter treatment plan effective for all patients doesn’t exist. As an acupuncturist and integrative medical professional, I stress this point to all of my fertility clients so that they can begin assembling a supportive team that will help them customize a treatment plan. It’s important to find healthcare practitioners who will do the same for you so that you can discover your fertility formula. In the meantime, here are my “Top 10 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Fertility NOW!”

1. Read a Book: It’s time to brush up on what you know about your body, sex, fertility treatments, and conception. That’s right—twenty years later you still need to take sex education. Although this time, you can do it in the privacy of your home. Several wonderful books have been published about the above topics. A few favorites include Christiane Northrop’s Women’s Bodies and Women’s Wisdom, as well as Randine Lewis’s The Infertility Cure. So, get out of those crazy fertility chat rooms and educate yourself. What you learn about your body will serve you for a lifetime and on your path to becoming a parent. 

2. Take Your Temperature: A basal body temperature (BBT) chart is a powerful tool. It involves taking your temperature every day at the same time and tracking the results. Your BBT chart will help you maximize conception, predict ovulation (or lack thereof), and rule out various endocrine-related issues. To learn more about BBT charting visit www.tcoyf.com or pick up Toni Weschler’s book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

3. Ask for Help: As you may have discovered, it takes a lot of energy
to create a baby and you literally can’t do it alone. My clients braving single parenthood will tell you that there are more people out there willing to help than one would ever imagine—even neighbors who are surprisingly good with time-sensitive injections. Your partner or village can act as your appointment coordinator, cook (see #5), workout partner (see #6), or hand-holder. You just need to begin by asking for their help.

4. Do the Math: You may have read in fertility-related pieces that you need to “aim for a healthy weight.” Research has shown that women with a normal Body Mass Index (BMI) are the least likely to have difficulty conceiving. If you’ve never been a fan of math, visit www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi and the website will help you calculate your BMI. It is time to consider #5 if your BMI is out of range, or if you are not ovulating and your BMI is at the low end or high end of normal.

5. Find a Nutritionist: The recent book, The Fertility Diet: Groundbreaking Research Reveals Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant by J. Chavarro, W. Willett, and P. Skerrett was pivotal in clarifying specific diet factors to improve fertility. As you may have read, you should be eating less sugar, more foods of color, better sources of essential fatty acids, more vegetarian sources of protein, and possibly ice cream. Exhausted by this list? This is why you may need a nutritional counselor to help customize a nutrition plan and work out the real-life logistics of eating a healthier diet in a burgers- and-fries world. Additionally, if weight issues (see #4) bring any twinge of emotion, it’s time to get support and resolve the emotional underbelly of your dinner plate.

6. Move Your Body: Once you have a good nutrition program, it’s time to move your body. Research compiled in the The Fertility Diet book has also shown that incorporating vigorous exercise (running, swimming, cross-country skiing, etc.) for 30 minutes, 3–5 days per week, improves rates of conception. If your BMI is above average, experts estimate that you may need 45–60 minutes, 3–5 days per week. Don’t overdo it—too much exercise can work against conception if your BMI is low or below normal. If this is the case, choose moderate forms of activity less than the recommendation until you maintain a healthy weight.

7. Try Acupuncture: Since 2000, studies have been showing that acupuncture regulates the endocrine system, increases the rates of IVF/ICSI, reduces the rates of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies, and increases the rates of live births. Did I mention that it’s also good for stress? To find a licensed acupuncturist in your neighborhood, visit http://www.nccaom.org and ask about their women’s health and infertility experience. When you do become pregnant, acupuncture can help you with nausea, back pain, breached presentation, and inducing labor if necessary.

8. Find an OB/GYN: This may seem like an obvious “to-do” but so often we pick a healthcare provider based on what our insurance plan offers, geographical convenience, or who happens to be accepting new patients. Your relationship with your OB/GYN is one of the most important long-term relationships that will affect your health. Do your homework—ask nurses, physicians, coworkers, and friends for good referrals. Ask a few interview questions and don’t be afraid to “shop around” until you find a great fit.

9. Get Counseling: Did you know that there are counselors specializing in fertility-related issues? Many fertility clinics offer individuals and couples free or reduced-cost services. Ask your circle of peers for a good referral before becoming isolated in the process and interview the therapist. Regardless of where you are in your journey, having the extra support can be crucial in helping you manage the physical and emotional demands of infertility.

10. Join a Support Group: If #9 doesn’t seem to be a good fit or if the process is too expensive, try a support group. Connecting with a group of peers with a shared experience can provide you with great insight, an occasional laugh, and a form of support that goes beyond words. Support groups exist in non- traditional formats such as Facebook pages, Meet-up groups, and Twitter handles as well as their traditional format. Visit RESOLVE’s website for local listings.

 

Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO

Licensed Acupuncturist

Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Her training also includes a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis, CA. She is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Following her acupuncture licensure, she became a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics. This orthopedic specialty certification is held by fewer than 300 acupuncturists in the United States. Areas of specialty include women’s health, infertility, and sports medicine. She is the owner of OMBE, an integrative health center located in Copley Square in Boston, MA. The eco-friendly center offers acupuncture, chiropractic, life coaching, massage, naturopathy, nutritional counseling, personal training, Pilates and yoga. For more information about acupuncture or OMBE, visit www.ombecenter.com.

Holistically Enhancing Female Fertility

From guest blogger Dustienne Miller, PT, MS, WCS…

In the United States, 6.7 million women experience a diminished capability to become pregnant or carry to term.  For heterosexual couples, the inability to conceive may be due to male infertility, usually caused by sperm abnormalities.  Women may have a hormonal or mechanical cause to infertility.  Hormonal causes of infertility include a variety of ovulatory dysfunctions, including weight-related amenorrhea (irregular or absent menstrual periods due to low body weight) and polycystic ovarian syndrome (insulin-induced hormonal changes, producing excessive androgens).  Mechanical causes of infertility include uterine lesions, fallopian tube occlusion, PID, endometriosis, and prior pelvic surgeries (C-sections, appendectomy, cervical procedures).

Adhesions are abnormal connective tissue bridges between structures caused by inflammation and surgical intervention.  Small bowel obstruction and infertility are associated with pelvic adhesions. Adhesions may decrease ovarian blood supply and disrupt the mechanism of the ovum delivery into the fallopian tube by creating abnormal lines of pull on the tissue. Adhesions may form along the uterine ligaments, cervix, inside the fallopian tube (causing occlusion and increasing likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy), and at the end of the fallopian tube (fimbria).

Physical therapists (PTs) trained in visceral mobilization perform gentle manual techniques to restore mobility and motility of the uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes. Soft tissue manual therapy can be performed before intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization, creating a more optimal environment for implantation.  PTs perform manual techniques to correct alignment of the pelvic girdle. PTs prescribe exercise programs to increase core stabilization and neuromuscular re-education, which reduces holding patterns by retraining specific muscles to engage prior to movement.

Physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor physical therapy and are trained in visceral mobilization offer a unique skill set to women working with mechanical infertility problems, especially combined with acupuncture.  Women’s health specialists perform myofascial release of the connective tissue both internally and externally to create optimal mobility and motility of the organs and tissues. These techniques are gentle and do not cause pain. For a listing of pelvic floor physical therapists, visit the American Physical Therapy Association’s Section On Women’s Health or Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute, making sure that the PT has additional training in visceral mobilization.

About the contributor: Dustienne Miller is a physical therapist with an advanced board certification as a women’s health clinical specialist. She combines her yoga teaching and professional dance background in her physical therapy practice, encouraging her clients to flourish. Dustienne is the creator of two pelvic yoga DVDs “Relieving Pelvic Pain” and “Optimizing Bladder Control: Strengthening the Pelvic Floor”.  Her clinical practice, Flourish Physical Therapy is located in Copley Square.

Acupuncture & IVF Part 1: Reduce Anxiety

OMBE Acupuncture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been helping couples to conceive since the late 1970s. Such issues as endometriosis, problems with ovulation, low sperm count, and unidentified causes of infertility lead people to use IVF. While it may be helpful to couples with fertility issues, undergoing IVF can cause a lot of stress because of the physical, emotional, and financial investments it entails. Various research studies have investigated whether acupuncture can help reduce anxiety in women going through this procedure.

One recent study involved a randomized clinical trial in which 43 patients were divided into a test group (of 22 people) and control group (of 21 people). Everyone received four weekly treatments. In the test group, the needles were inserted at specific acupuncture points, while in the control group, the needles were inserted in areas near but not corresponding to those points. Before and after treatment, the patients’ anxiety levels were examined using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAS). After the four-week experimental period, researchers found that the average HAS score was significantly lower in the test group than the control group. The results of the study indicate that acupuncture can indeed reduce anxiety in women undergoing IVF! Read the complete study here.

To relieve your anxiety, call OMBE to schedule an acupuncture appointment or book online. We offer complimentary consults for those who are interested but want to learn more before receiving a treatment!

For more information on how acupuncture can help those going through IVF, check back for next week’s post on Part 2 of Acupuncture & IVF!

 

Source

Isoyama, Daniela, et al. (2012). Effect of acupuncture on symptoms of anxiety in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: a prospective randomised controlled study. Acupuncture in Medicine 30(2), 85-88.

The Fertility Diet

From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO…

The following recommendations are based on the Nurses’ Health Study, which began in 1989 and followed more than 18,000 female nurses anticipating a pregnancy of the duration of the eight-year study. Visit www.nurseshealthstudy.org to learn more details about the study and participants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Eliminate fast foods from your diet & avoid all other trans-fats.

 

2. Stop smoking.  Smoking has been linked to abnormal oocytes and heavy metals in follicular fluid. Smokers have been found to take longer to get pregnant and are more likely to miscarry.

 

3.  Use more unsaturated vegetable oils and make sure to include omega-3 fats such as fish oil, olive oil, walnut oil, flax oil, and canola oil.

 

4.  Eat more vegetable protein such as beans and nuts and less animal protein.

 

5.  Choose whole grains and other sources of carbohydrates that have lower, slower effects on blood sugar and insulin rather than refined carbohydrates.

 

6.  Drink a glass of whole milk or have a small dish of ice cream or full-fat yogurt everyday; temporarily trade in skim milk and low or no-fat diary products… for their full-fat cousins.

 

7.  Get plenty of iron from fruits, vegetables, beans but not from red meat. Iron plays a key role in DNA replication and in the maturing of the egg in advance of ovulation. Research shows that women who get enough iron cut their risk of ovulatory infertility by about one half!

 

8.  Take a multivitamin that contains iron, folic acid and other B vitamins. Studies show that regular use of a multivitamin decreases the risk of ovulatory infertility. Multivitamins have been shown to benefit men’s fertility as well, increasing sperm count, quality and motility.

 

9.  Beverages matter: Remove sugary drinks and sodas from your diet.  Drink coffee, tea and alcohol in moderation. High intake of caffeine is linked to infertility due to tubal problems or endometriosis but was not associated with ovulatory infertility. Water is great.

 

10.  Overall-maintain a healthy weight:  Losing or gaining 5-10% of your body weight can have a significant impact on ovulation.  Women with a BMI between 20-24 were found to be least likely to have experienced ovulatory infertility.

 

11.  Aim to eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day, choosing from a variety of all colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, & purple).

 

SOURCES

 

1. David, Sami S. M.D., Blakeway, Jill. Making Babies. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2009. 121.

2. David, Sami S. M.D., Blakeway, Jill. Making Babies. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company,2009.115.

3. Chavarro, Jeorge E. M.D., Willett, Walter C. M.D. The Fertility Diet. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. 2008.143

 

 

 

 

Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO
Licensed Acupuncturist

Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Her training also includes a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis, CA. Jessica first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery.

She is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Following her acupuncture licensure, she became a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics. This orthopedic specialty certification is held by fewer than 300 acupuncturists in the United States. Areas of specialty include women’s health, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. For patients interested in learning more about acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please click here.

 

Book online for any acupuncture service in our Boston location or contact OMBE for additional information.

 

10 Fertility Factors for Men

From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO…

Male infertility affects one in twenty men, contributing to half of all infertility issues.  The following is a summary of recommendations based on recent research and findings.  The general goal of these recommendations is to increase circulating levels of antioxidants and reduce free radical stress.  Infertile men have been found to have a higher concentration of free radicals in their semen as compared to fertile men.  High levels of free radicals within semen have been shown to cause damage to the sperm membrane and DNA.  Studies suggest that 30–80% of infertile men have oxidative stress-related infertility.

 

1.  Seek medical advice early in the process to rule out infections, varicoceles, blocked ejaculatory ducts, thyroid disorders, celiac disease, or other known causes of male infertility

 

2.  Avoid excessive heat especially near the scrotal area including waterbeds, heating pads/blankets, saunas, hot tubs, using laptop computers (on the lap), or wearing tight clothing (biking shorts, jock straps, etc…) that will result in a temperature increase

 

3. Do Not Smoke.  Smoking and exposure to environmental pollutants are linked with excess free radical production, which in turn damages sperm DNA.  Smoking has also been shown to decrease sperm motility, sperm morphology, and cause erectile dysfunction.

 

4. Do not use marijuana, steroids, performance enhancing drugs, or other recreational drugs.  Marijuana stays in the testes for up to two weeks meaning that habitual use can affect sperm function.

 

5.  Limit caffeine and alcohol to moderate intake levels.  Excessive caffeine and alcohol intake is linked with poor fertility. The general consensus is that 300 mg or 2-3 5 oz. cups of coffee and no more than 2 glasses of alcohol per day for men are considered a moderate levels of intake.

 

6. Maintain a healthy weight and check your BMI.  Overweight men are 50% more likely to have fertility problems as well as having lower testosterone levels and lower sperm motility.

 

7.  Exercise regularly and moderately: 30-minutes, 5 times/week.  Consider increasing your activity level if you are inactive.  Similarly, consider cutting back on your training regimen if you are training for a marathon, triathlon, or other long-distance sport.

 

8. Improve your nutrition status by improving your diet in the following three categories.  Fats: Reduce your saturated fat intake and increase your omega-3 fatty acid consumption.  Proteins:  Reduce animal protein sources, and increase vegetable protein sources.  Carbohydrates:  Decrease “white” foods such as bread, pasta, rice, bagels etc…, and increase your foods of color (red peppers, carrots, squash, kale, blueberries, grapes).

 

9.  Take a Multivitamin:  Antioxidants help reduce the effects of free radicals.  Eat antioxidant rich foods and take a multivitamin to help counter the effects of free radicals.

 

 

 

 

 

10. Check to see if your multivitamin contains the following ingredients/dosages and supplement accordingly:

 

Lycopene 6 mg

Vitamin E 400 IU

Vitamin C 100 mg

Zinc 25 mg

Selenium 26 μgm

Folate 0.5 mg

Garlic 1000 mg

 

 

RESEARCH

 

INFLUENCE OF ACUPUNCTURE ON IDIOPATHIC MALE INFERTILITY IN ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Overview: The clinical effects of acupuncture on idiopathic male infertility in sperm parameter and on therapeutic results in assisted reproductive technology were investigated. 22 patients failed in intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with idiopathic male infertility were treated with acupuncture twice weekly for 8 weeks, followed by ICSI treatment again. The sperm concentration, motility, morphology, fertilization rates and embryo quality were observed. Quick sperm motility after acupuncture (18.3% +/- 9.6%) was significantly improved as compared with that before treatment (11.0% +/- 7.5%, P < 0.01). The normal sperm ratio was increased after acupuncture (21.1% +/- 10.4% vs. 16.2% +/- 8.2%, P < 0.05). The fertilization rates after acupuncture (66.2%) were significantly higher than that before treatment (40.2%, P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in sperm concentration and general sperm motility between before and after acupuncture. The embryo quality after acupuncture was improved, but the difference between them was not significant (P > 0.05).

 

Outcome: Men that had failed ICSI/IVF went through acupuncture 2x/week for 8 weeks, then did ICSI/IVF again.  Motility, fertilization rate, and embryo quality improved. Acupuncture can improve sperm quality and fertilization rates in assisted reproductive technology.

 

FERTILITY AND ORGANIC LIVING

Overview: Environmental exposures (e.g., formaldehyde), pesticides, chemical exposure, smoking, and use of recreational drugs (e.g., marijuana, cocaine) may reduce sperm count or cause abnormal sperm morphology (shape).  Smoking adversely affects the semen quality of infertile men.

 

Outcome: In a study of Danish greenhouse workers, an unexpectedly high sperm count was found among organic farmers, who grew their products without the use pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The sperm count was more than twice as high in these men as in a control group of blue-collar workers.2 Although these findings are not definitive, they suggest that consuming organically grown foods may enhance fertility.

 

SOURCES:

 

1. Zhang M – J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci – 01-JAN-2002; 22(3): 228-30

2. Abell A, Ernst E, Bonde JP. High sperm density among members of organic farmers’ association. Lancet 1994;343:1498.

 

Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO

Licensed Acupuncturist

Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Her training also includes a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis, CA. Jessica first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery.

She is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Following her acupuncture licensure, she became a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics. This orthopedic specialty certification is held by fewer than 300 acupuncturists in the United States. Areas of specialty include women’s health, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. For patients interested in learning more about acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please click here.

 

Book online for any acupuncture service in our Boston location or contact OMBE for additional information.

 

 

Women’s Health Book List

From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO…

Here’s a  book list I’ve put together over the past few years of several texts that are great resources for women’s health issues including pregnancy, childbirth, fertility treatment, PCOS, endometriosis, and much more.

WOMEN’S HEALTH BOOK LIST

WOMEN’S HEALTH

 

  • Northrop, Christine. Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 2002.
  • Agee, Eve. The Uterine Health Companion: A Holistic Guide to Lifelong Wellness. New York, NY: Celestial Arts; 1 Edition, 2010.

 

INFERTILITY BOOKS

 

  • Barbieri, Robert L., Domar, Alice D. Ph.D., and Loughlin, Kevin R. M.D. 6 Steps to Increased Fertility: An Integrated Medical and Mind/Body Approach To Promote Conception . New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2000.
  • Weschler, Toni. Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. New York, NY: Harper-Collins, 2002.
  • Lewis, Randine. The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2005.
  • Holland, Julie Renee. Natural Infertility Treatments. Julie Renee Callaway, 2011.
  • Glenville, Marilyn. Natural Solutions to Infertility: How to Increase Your Chances of Conceiving and Preventing Miscarriage. New York, NY: M.Evans & Company, 2001.
  • Chavarro, Jorge., Willett, Walter., Skerrett, Patrick. The Fertility Diet: Groundbreaking Research Reveals Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2008.
  • David, S. Sami., Blakeway, Jill. Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2009.

 

PCOS BOOKS

 

  • Wright, Hillary. The PCOS Diet Plan: A Natural Approach to Health for Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. New York, NY: Random House Inc, 2010.
  • Harris, Colette., Cheung, Theresa. The Ultimate PCOS Handbook: Lose Weight, Boost Fertility, Clear Skin and Restore Self-Esteem. San Francisco, CA: Conari Press, 2008.
  • Legro, Richard S. M.D., Boss, Angela., Weidman, Evelina Sterling. Living with PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Omaha, Nebraska: Addicus Books, Inc, 2001.
  • Thatcher, Samual S. PCOS The Hidden Epidemic. Indianapolis, IN: Perspectives Press, 2000.

 

  • Grassi, Angela., Mattei, Stephanie., Troiano, Leah., David, Christine. The PCOS Workbook: Your Guide to Complete Physical and Emotional Health. Haverford, PA: Luca Publishing, 2009.

 

ENDOMETRIOSIS BOOKS

 

  • Ballweg, Mary Lou. Endometriosis. The Complete Reference for Taking Charge of Your Health. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
  • Ballweg, Mary Lou. The Endometriosis Sourcebook. Chicago, Illinois: McGraw-Hill, 1995.
  • Mills, Shepperson Dian., Vernon, Michael. Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition. Thorsons, 2002.
  • Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Endometriosis Natural Treatment Program: A Complete Self-Help Plan for Improving Health and Well-being. Novato, California: New World Library, 2007.
  • Levett, Carolyn. Reclaim Your Life- Your Guide to Aid Healing of Endometriosis. Endo Resolved, 2008.
  • Levett, Carolyn. Recipes for the Endometriosis Diet. Endo Resolved, 2007.
  • “The Endometriosis Association.” N.p., 2011. Web. 11 Jul 2011. <http://www.endometriosisassn.org/>.

 

PREGNANCY, CHILD BIRTH PREPARATION & HYPNO-BIRTHING

 

  • Kitzinger, Sheila. The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth. New York, NY: Knopf, 1996
  • England, Pam., Horowitz, Rob. Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation. Partera Press, 1998.
  • Mongan, Marie F. HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A Natural Approach to a Safe, Easier, more Comfortable Birthing. Deerfield Beach, FL: HCI, 2005.
  • Balaskas, Janet. Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally, Revised Edition. Boston, MA: Harvard Common Press, 1992
  • Ingraham, Erick., McCutcheon-Rosegg, Susan., Burningham, Robin Yoko. Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition. New York, NY: Plume Book, 1996.
  • Gaskin, Ina May. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. New York, NY: Bantam, 2003
  • Gaskin, Ina May., DiFranco, Ani. Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press, 2011
  • Wolfe, Naomi. Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood. Anchor, 2003.

 

Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO

Licensed Acupuncturist

Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Her training also includes a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis, CA. Jessica first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery.

She is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Following her acupuncture licensure, she became a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics. This orthopedic specialty certification is held by fewer than 300 acupuncturists in the United States. Areas of specialty include women’s health, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. For patients interested in learning more about acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please click here.

 

Book online for any acupuncture service in our Boston location or contact OMBE for additional information.

 

Are we taking oral birth control pills too lightly?

From the desk of Dr. Jacqueline S. Rho, ND…
There has been a significant increase in fibroids, cysts, polyps, and
endometriosis.  These conditions commonly lead to hysterectomies,
infertility, cardiovascular problems, and cancers.  All of these
conditions are highly correlated with excess “estrogen” within the
body.  The term is commonly known as “estrogen dominance” and is
associated with an increased exposure to exogenous hormones and
xenoestrogens (found in plastics and more specifically, BPA
(bis-phenol A).  Oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) should only be taken
for a maximum of 2 years.  This is not the case.  I see many females
who have been prescribed these pills for several years, sometimes for
more than 20!  Should women be on exogenous hormones that inhibit
their natural cycle for the rest of their lives?  A common practice is
to be prescribed OCPs before menopause to “treat” menstrual
conditions, such as painful cramps, bloating, and PMS, and then begin
hormone replacement therapy when menopause kicks in.  OCPs were
initially used to prevent pregnancy, hence the name of the medication,
but it is common for them to be prescribed off-label for menstrual
irregularities…treating just the symptom and not the root cause.  If
we’re a nation trying to “fight” cancer and reduce cardiovascular
disease, why are we perpetuating and/or feeding into the problem?  I
help my female patients, whether they are beginning their cycles or
ending their cycles (e.g. menopause), with treating the root cause of
their symptoms and educating them about contraception.
Dr. Jacqueline S. Rho, ND
Naturopathic Doctor
Dr. Jacqueline S. Rho is a naturopathic doctor, specializing in
preventative and family care medicine.  She treats her patients as a
whole, addressing the root cause of illness, rather than just the
symptoms.  Dr. Rho has a focus in women’s health, cardiovascular
conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, and autoimmune conditions.
She treats many other health conditions as she utilizes clinical
nutrition, Classical Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and
functional medicine in an integrative approach to provide
individualized health care.  She has helped many with weight loss and
detoxification, teaching her patients the lifestyle changes that are
needed to improve their health and prevent disease.
Book online for any naturopathic service at our Boston location or
contact OMBE for additional information.  Dr. Rho is providing
complementary 20 minute consults for the month of October.  Come in
and discuss how she can help you today!

 

Acupuncture & IVF Research Summary

From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO…

In the past 10 years, there has been a growing amount of research connecting acupuncture to the success of IVF.  Below is a handful of summaries compiled from research taking place in Germany, Australia, Sweden, and the United States.  Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with IVF not only to increase fertilization rates as these studies suggest but also to decrease the side effects of medications, reduce complications following egg retrieval and embryo transfer, reduce the risk of hyper-stimulation, and help any patient deal with the amount of emotional and physical stress that typically accompanies each cycle.

 

ACUPUNCTURE INCREASES CHANCES OF SUCCESS IN IVF by 65%

 

Overview: In 2008, the British Medical Journal published research that concluded acupuncture can be offered as a significant, clinically relevant adjunct to IVF, relaxing the uterus and increasing blood flow for the successful implantation of an embryo within the uterine lining.  Acupuncture was delivered either just before or just after embryo transfer – the moment when the fertilized embryo must attach itself to the wall of the womb to establish a pregnancy. The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Maryland in America and the VU University Amsterdam in Holland. Researchers claim that because acupuncture costs only about $75 per session compared to $6000 to $10,000 per cycle for IVF, it would be a cost effective, safe and efficient way of boosting success rates in fertility treatment.

 

Outcome: Current preliminary evidence suggests that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

 

 

INFLUENCE OF ACUPUNCTURE ON THE PREGNANCY RATE IN PATIENTS WHO UNDERGO ASSISTED REPRODUCTION THERAPY

Overview: To evaluate the effect of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in assisted reproduction therapy (ART) by comparing a group of patients receiving acupuncture treatment shortly before and after embryo transfer with a control group receiving no acupuncture.

 

Outcome: Clinical pregnancies were documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group. Acupuncture seems to be a useful tool for improving pregnancy rate after ART.

ACUPUNCTURE ON THE DAY OF EMBRYO TRANSFER SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVES THE REPRODUCTIVE OUTCOME IN INFERTILE WOMEN: A PROSPECTIVE, RANDOMIZED TRIAL

Overview: In this study, Westergaard LG, et.al., set out to evaluate how the use of acupuncture effected pregnancy rates in patients treated with IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection(ICSI).  273 patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: One group had acupuncture on the day of the transfer, a second group had acupuncture on the day of the transfer and then again 2 days after the transfer, and a third control group did not receive acupuncture.

 

Outcome: Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer (ET) significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women. The results clearly showed that the first acupuncture group that received treatment the day of the transfer had a statistically significant higher rate of pregnancy than the control group (37 of 95 [39%] vs. 21 of 87 [26%]). Comparison of ongoing pregnancy rates also favored the acupuncture group (34 of 95 [36%] vs. 19 of 87 [22%]). There was no improvement on the reproductive outcome by adding an acupuncture treatment 2 days after ET.

 

ACUPUNCTURE AND FERTILITY RESEARCH SUMMARIES

EFFECT OF ACUPUNCTURE ON THE OUTCOME OF IN VITRO FERTILIZATION AND INTRACYTOPLASMIC SPERM INJECTION: A RANDOMIZED, PROSPECTIVE, CONTROLLED CLINICAL STUDY

Overview: In this study, a joint collaboration between researchers in Germany and China set out to determine the effect of luteal phase acupuncture on the outcome of IVF/ICSI. 225 IVF/ICSI infertile patients were randomly assigned to 2 groups. One group received Traditional Chinese acupuncture and the other half received sham acupuncture.

 

Outcome: In the group that received true acupuncture, the clinical pregnancy rate and ongoing pregnancy rates (33.6% and 28.4%, respectively) were significantly higher than in sham acupuncture group (15.6% and 13.8%). Luteal-phase acupuncture has a positive effect on the outcome of IVF/ICSI.

 

INFLUENCE OF ACUPUNCTURE STIMULATION ON PREGNANCY RATES FOR WOMEN UNDERGOING EMBRYO TRANSFER

Overview: This study from Australia, lead by Caroline Smith Ph.D., examined 228 women and again compared a true acupuncture to a placebo group. The design of this study was to treat the women three separate times: the first session on day 9 of stimulating injections, the second session before ET, and the third immediately after ET

 

Outcome: The pregnancy rate was 31% in the acupuncture group and 23% in the control group. For those subjects receiving acupuncture, the odds of achieving a pregnancy were 1.5 higher than for the control group, but the difference did not reach statistical significance. The ongoing pregnancy rate at 18 weeks was higher in the treatment group (28% vs. 18%), but the difference was not statistically significant. They did conclude that acupuncture was safe for women undergoing embryo transfer.

ACUPUNCTURE BEFORE AND AFTER EMBRYO TRANSFER RESULTS IN HIGHER PREGNANCY RATES

Overview: The research, done at Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Centre in Colorado Springs, studied 114 women undergoing IVF. Half of the women received acupuncture and the control group did not.

 

Outcome: The acupuncture group showed improved outcome in the following ways: 1. The acupuncture group had a 51% pregnancy rate compared to a 36% in the control group 2.  The acupuncture group had an 8% miscarriage rate compared to a 20% in the control group. 3. Acupuncture also was found to reduce the risk of tubal pregnancy and increase the live birth rate. The live birth rate for each IVF cycle was 23 % higher than the cycles for the control group.

 

SOURCES

 

1. Manheimer, E., et. al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal. February 2008;336:545-549.

2. Fertility and Sterility – April 2002 (Vol. 77, Issue 4, Pages 721-724)

3. Fertil Steril. 2006 May;85(5):1341-6. Epub 2006 Apr 5.

4. Fertil Steril. 2006 May;85(5):1347-51. Epub 2006 Apr 17.

5. Fertility and Sterility Volume 85, Issue 5 , May 2006, Pages 1347-1351

6. Highlights in Fertility and Sterility (Vol. 77, No. 4, April 2002)

Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO

Licensed Acupuncturist

Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Her training also includes a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis, CA. Jessica first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery.

She is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Following her acupuncture licensure, she became a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics. This orthopedic specialty certification is held by fewer than 300 acupuncturists in the United States. Areas of specialty include women’s health, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. For patients interested in learning more about acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please click here.

 

Book online for any acupuncture service in our Boston location or contact OMBE for additional information.

 

Top 10 Women’s Health Reasons to Try Acupuncture

From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO…


There are many reasons to try acupuncture (headaches, neck & shoulder pain, arthritis, degenerative disc disease) and the list grows as research from all over the world including Sweden, Germany, Australia, and the United States grows in support of this amazing holistic health modality.  Recent research has show acupuncture to be effective for several OB/GYN related disorders from conception to beyond.  In recent press, acupuncture has been gaining recognition for turning breeched babies, inducing labor naturally, and shortening the first stages of labor-all based on recent research.  Here are the top 10 reasons to try acupuncture from a women’s health perspective:

1. Ammenorhea (Absent period)

2. Endometriosis

3. Infertility

4. Irregular Cycles

5. Menopause & Hot Flashes

6. Menstrual Cramps

7. Morning Sickness

8. Ovarian Cysts & PCOS

9. Premenstrual Syndrome

10. Uterine & Breast Fibroids

 

Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO

Licensed Acupuncturist

Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Her training also includes a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis, CA. Jessica first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery.

She is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Following her acupuncture licensure, she became a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics. This orthopedic specialty certification is held by fewer than 300 acupuncturists in the United States. Areas of specialty include women’s health, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. For patients interested in learning more about acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please click here.

 

Book online for any acupuncture service in our Boston location or contact OMBE for additional information.

 

 


Top 10 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Fertility NOW!


In the recent news, there has been a lot of conflicting information on the role of diet, exercise, stress, and fertility treatments for patients trying to conceive.  Eat ice cream, don’t eat ice cream.  Exercise more, exercise less.  The truth is that a cookie-cutter treatment plan effective for all patients doesn’t exist.  As an acupuncturist and integrative medical professional, I stress this point to all of my fertility clients so that they can begin assembling a supportive team that will help them customize a treatment plan.  It’s important to find health care practitioners that will do the same for you so that you can discover your fertility formula. In the meantime, here are my Top 10 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Fertility NOW!

1. Read a Book: It’s time to brush up on what you know about your body, sex, fertility treatments, and conception.  That’s right-twenty years later you still need to take sex education.  Although this time, you can do it the privacy of your home.  Several wonderful books have been published about the above topics.  A few favorites include Christiane Northrop’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and Randine Lewis’s The Infertility Cure. So, get out of those crazy fertility chat rooms and educate yourself.  What you learn about your body will serve you for a lifetime and on your path to becoming a parent.

2. Take Your Temperature: A basal body temperature (BBT) chart is a powerful tool.  It involves taking your temperature every day at the same time and tracking the results.  Your BBT chart will help you maximize conception, predict ovulation (or lack there of), and rule out various endocrine-related issues.  To learn more about BBT charting visit www.tcoyf.com or pick up Toni Weschler’s book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

3. Ask for Help: As you may have discovered, it takes a lot of energy to create a baby and you literally can’t do it alone.  My clients braving single parenthood will tell you that there are more people out there willing to help than one would ever imagine-even neighbors who are surprisingly good with time-sensitive injections.  Your partner or village can act as your appointment coordinator, cook (see #5), workout partner (see #6), or hand-holder.  You just need to begin by asking for their help.

4. Do the Math: You may have read in fertility-related pieces that you need to “aim for a healthy weight”.  Research has shown that women with a normal Body Mass Index (BMI) are the least likely to have difficulty conceiving.  If you’ve never been a fan of math, visit: www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi and the website will help you calculate your BMI.  It is time to consider #5 if your BMI is out of range or if you are not ovulating and your BMI is at the low-end or high-end of normal.

 

5. Find a Nutritionist: The recent book, The Fertility Diet: Groundbreaking Research Reveals Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant by J. Chavarro, W. Willett, and P. Skerrett was pivotal in clarifying specific diet factors to improve fertility.  As you may have read, you should be eating less sugar, more foods of color, better sources of essential fatty acids, more vegetarian sources of protein, and possibly ice cream.  Exhausted by this list? This is why you may need a nutritional counselor to help customize a nutrition plan and work out the real-life logistics of eating a healthier diet in a burgers-and-fries world.   Additionally, if weight issues (see #4) bring any twinge of emotion, it’s time to get support and resolve the emotional underbelly of your dinner plate.

6. Move Your Body: Once you have a good nutrition program, it’s time to move your body.  Research compiled in the The Fertility Diet book has also shown that incorporating vigorous exercise (running, swimming, cross-country skiing etc…) for 30-minutes, 3-5 days per week, improves rates of conception. If your BMI is above average, experts estimate that you may need 45-60 minutes, 3-5 days per week. Don’t overdo it-too much exercise can work against conception if your BMI is low or below normal.  If this is the case, choose moderate forms of activity less than the recommendation until you maintain a healthy weight.

7. Try Acupuncture: Since 2000, studies have been showing that acupuncture regulates the endocrine system, increases the rates of IVF/ICSI, reduces the rates of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies, and increases the rates of live births.  Did I mention that it’s also good for stress? To find a licensed acupuncturist in your neighborhood, visit http://www.nccaom.org and ask about their women’s health and infertility experience. When you do become pregnant, acupuncture can help you with nausea, back pain, breached presentation, and inducing labor if necessary.

8. Find an OB/GYN: This may seem like an obvious “to-do” but so often we pick a health care provider based on what our insurance plan offers, geographical convenience, or who happens to accepting new patients.  Your relationship with your OB/GYN is one of the most important long-term relationships that will affect your health.  Do your homework-ask nurses, physicians, coworkers, and friends for good referrals.  Ask a few interview questions and don’t be afraid to “shop around” until you find a great fit.

9. Get Counseling: Did you know that there are counselors specializing in fertility-related issues?   Many fertility clinics offer individuals and couples free or reduced-cost services.  Ask your circle of peers for a good referral before becoming isolated in the process and interview the therapist.  Regardless of where you are in your journey, having the extra support can be crucial in helping you manage the physical and emotional demands of infertility.

10. Join a Support Group: If #9 doesn’t seem to be a good fit or if the process is too expensive, try a support group.  Connecting with a group of peers with a shared experience can provide you with great insight, an occasional laugh, and a form of support that goes beyond words.  Support groups exist in non-traditional formats such as Facebook pages, Meet-up groups, and Twitter handles as well as their traditional format.  Visit RESOLVE’s website for local listings.

 

Jessica L. Molleur

Licensed Acupuncturist

Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Her training also includes a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis, CA. Jessica first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery.

She is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Following her acupuncture licensure, she became a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics. This orthopedic specialty certification is held by fewer than 300 acupuncturists in the United States. Areas of specialty include women’s health, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. For patients interested in learning more about acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please click here.

If you are new to acupuncture or you have a question for our acupuncturist, please contact OMBE to schedule a complimentary consult at our Boston location.