Holistic Approaches to Fertility and a Healthy Pregnancy
My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for months now without success. Can you recommend any holistic approaches that might help?
Having a child can be all too easy for some people, and painfully difficult to impossible for others. Fortunately, there are many alternative approaches to fertility to try alongside even the most invasive fertility treatments. However, it important that all caregivers involved—conventional and holistic alike—are aware of what each other are doing so as to maximize the chances of a safe and positive outcome.
Holistic approaches to fertility and healthy pregnancy typically concern at least one of these four goals:
1. Enriching Soil and Seed
Many holistic health approaches emphasize the importance of a healthy body, mind and spirit in order to make both sperm and egg as vital as possible. Certain holistic practitioners emphasize making dietary changes; I recommend consulting a holistic nutritionist or a naturopathic doctor for advice on foods that promote healthy fertility. Taking herbs that are said to balance the body’s hormones and promote fertility is another popular option. In this case, it’s a good idea to seek out a traditional western herbalist, acupuncturist, or traditional Chinese herbalist who specializes in fertility enhancement. Also, some practitioners recommend addressing potentially harmful environmental factors, such as lead or pesticide exposure by checking your blood lead levels and choosing whole, organic foods over processed foods.
This school of thought says that there is some kind of block that is preventing pregnancy from happening. Practitioners of Maya Abdominal Massage consider the block often to be physical. They believe that the uterus can get prolapsed and that their form of massage can help realign it and promote fertility. To find a qualified Maya Abdominal Massage practitioner near you, visit www.arvigomassage.com. Practitioners of acupuncture, yoga, reiki, qi gong, crystal therapy, or homeopathy can see fertility problems as an energetic blockage, and apply their techniques to unblock this stuck or stagnant energy. And finally, the block can be seen as an emotional one, that can be opened through emotionally releasing approaches such as breathwork or expressive therapies.
3. Addressing Emotional Overload
It’s very understandable that having difficulty getting pregnant can make people feel sad, angry, guilty, lonely, or anxious—or all of the above! Since high stress is clearly not the most hospitable environment for sperm and egg, stress surrounding repeated attempts at pregnancy can create a vicious cycle. Some people have broken this cycle by signing up with a Mind/Body fertility program, which helps them relax more and think more positively. Mindfulness meditation also can help you face these difficulty emotions more effectively. Additionally, modalities such as hypnotherapy and talk therapy can notch the stress down, as can many other healing approaches such as bodywork, t’ai chi, aromatherapy—anything that can help one relax and renew.
4. Connecting with a Bigger Picture
These approaches aim at tapping positive forces deep inside yourself and beyond yourself. Some people have reported success through imagery exercises—imagining, for example, a vibrant fertilized egg settling onto a nourishing uterine wall. Others have used prayer or ritual to help reach a stable fertility. One ritual, for example, would be to acknowledge the great chain of ancestors and helpers that got you here, and to thank them in some symbolic way. Another approach could be to ask the universe why your attempts at viable pregnancy have been so difficult, and then look for answers—in your intuition, in meditation or prayer, in visualizations, in your dreams, or in what you might spontaneously feel like drawing, writing, or expressing in other ways.
Why some of these approaches help some people but not others remains a true mystery, and it’s hard to point you to any particular modality without knowing an individual’s particular health history. For those who are having trouble conceiving or who are miscarrying, I recommend trying at least one approach from each of the four categories above. The beauty of these approaches is that many work very well with each other and are compatible with western medical approaches.
All too often, science and society falsely see fertility problems as exclusively as the woman’s, problem. This is a heavy and unfair burden that only adds to the stress. Remember that it’s the man’s problem too, and I recommend that both partners who are trying hard to have a child explore some of the above approaches together. And with sperm counts declining in our country, it’s society’s problem too, and up to all up to all of us to help restore balance to our planet and support its collective fertility in any way we can.
First published in Boston Natural Awakenings Magazine's "Ask Karlo" column, May 2005.
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