Tools to Conceive Naturally: Part III
From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac.DNBAO…
Last week we discussed basal body temperature charting and how it can help couples conceive naturally as well as help trouble-shoot common menstrual cycle issues. If you are basal body temperature charting or just trying to conceive naturally without using any tools, there may be one detail to consider.
When considering optimizing fertility, much emphasis is placed on two important factors: healthy sperm and a healthy egg. However, cervical fluid is the third and key factor in assisting conception as well as increasing your fertile window each month. Due to hormonal changes, the quality of cervical fluid will change as your menstrual cycle progresses each month. As your body approaches ovulation, rising levels of estrogen change the quality, quantity, and consistency of your cervical fluid in an effort to create an optimal environment for sperm. Spinnbarkeit is the term to describe stretchy, clear, fluid-like cervical fluid (often described as looking like raw egg-whites) optimal to providing sperm both nutrients and protection so they can survive as they wait for an egg to arrive (ovulation). Women can have anywhere from one to five days of cervical fluid prior to ovulation. Optimizing the quality and quantity of cervical fluid can increase your odds of conceiving each month by increasing the length of time that sperm will be able to survive in advance of ovulation. Below is a list of several factors that can help to improve your cervical fluid.
- Stay hydrated.
- Avoid caffeine or drink less than 300 mg (approximately 1 cup) daily
- Avoid antihistamines and decongestants
- Eliminate any feminine products especially those using scents, perfumes, or bleach. This includes tampons, pads, toilet paper, lubricants, douches etc..)
- Vitamin C Intake: Less than 750-1000mg daily can improve fertility but anything in excess of that amount has the potential to decrease cervical fluid
- Increase Essential Fatty Acids: Fish Oils, Olive Oils, Evening Primrose Oil, Flax Seed Oil, & Grapeseed Oil. When purchasing oils, make sure to choose items that are stored in dark or amber-colored bottles and store these products in the refrigerator to prevent the oils from becoming rancid.
- Include alkalizing foods in your diet including dark greens and cruciferous vegetables to optimize the pH of cervical fluid for sperm survival. Additionally, eating one clove of raw garlic daily can increase the quantity of cervical fluid.
- Include arginine-rich foods or an L-Arginine supplement in your diet
- Preseed: This is currently the only manufactured lubricant available that does not affect sperm and may assist couples in trying to conceive. Do not use any other lubricants (including saliva) as they can be less than hospitable to sperm and increase the acidity of cervical fluid.
- Guaifenesin: Guaifenesin is the ingredient contained in many cough syrups. Guaifenesin causes all secretions in your body to become more liquid-like in their consistency. If you find that none of the above options to be effective, try this method for one month to test the results.
Have more questions about BBT charting or trying to conceive naturally? Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more about how acupuncture can benefit your fertility this year. Email email@example.com for more details.
Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO
Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery and discovered the many benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis and a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Jessica is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is also a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics, a specialty certification held by fewer than 500 acupuncturists in the United States.
Jessica currently maintains a private acupuncture practice in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, which was awarded Best Acupuncture Center by Boston Magazine. Areas of specialty include women's health, pregnancy, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. If you are interested in learning about the benefits of acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please visit the acupuncture + fertility page. New patients can book online to schedule any acupuncture service including a complimentary consult. Jessica also serves as a health care consultant for a number of integrative medical institutes. Her clients include IVF and infertility centers, functional medicine offices, orthopedic facilities, concierge practices, and green spas. Please contact OMBE for more information about these services.
Prior to her consulting work, Jessica founded an integrative health center in Boston. The eco-friendly center was one of the first twenty-five companies certified as a Sustainable Business Leader in Boston. During its ten-year tenure, the center provided services including acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, naturopathy, nutritional counseling, personal training, Pilates, and yoga. Studio offerings included mom and baby programming, Mongan Method Hypnobirthing, natural childbirth education and the Holistic Moms Network. The center was the recipient of several awards, including Mayor Menino's Green Business Award, a multiple recipient of Boston Business Journal's Best Workplace, Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Award for Massage Therapy as well as Best Eco-Friendly Massage, Eco-Beauty Bar, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, Pilates, and Workout.