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A Naturopathic Approach to Fertility and Pregnancy

Photo credit: Purchased from dreamstime.com

Photo credit: Purchased from dreamstime.com

One day while discussing the topic of pregnancy a patient of mine said, “The ripeness of the fruit depends on the richness of the soil”.  When I asked her what she meant she explained that in her culture pregnancy is described in terms of planting a seed in rich soil, nourishing the growth of a tree and harvesting the fruit.

This analogy is a great way to describe the naturopathic approach to fertility and pregnancy.  It demonstrates the need for preparation, care and attention during all stages of pregnancy to ensure that mom, dad and baby are the healthiest they can be. Naturopathic medicine can support you at any point along the way to help you produce rich and bountiful fruit!

Pre-Conception Care: The richness of the soil

The richness of the soil refers to a women’s health status prior to conceiving.  Ideally a woman should strive to be the healthiest she can be in preparation to fully support and nourish a growing baby.

Key factors that are assessed and treated by naturopathic doctors when it comes to pre-conception care include:

  • Hormone imbalances leading to menstrual cycle irregularities and miscarriage
  • Women’s health conditions that affect fertility like endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and caffeine intake
  • Nutrition and nutrient status such as ensuring adequate amounts of folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids which support the development of a healthy nervous system in your baby
  • Detoxification of heavy metals and other chemicals affecting fertility
  • Mental and emotional readiness and concerns surrounding pregnancy and having children
  • High stress levels which elevate cortisol and can affect hormone levels therefore altering the menstrual cycle
  • Addressing other underlying health concerns influencing fertility

Male Fertility: Planting the seed

It takes two to tango! Male pre-conception care is just as important as female pre-conception care because the sperm is what carries 50% of the DNA needed to create your baby.  One important fact to take note of is the cycle of sperm development takes approximately 64 days to complete.   That means the quality of sperm released today, will be influenced by a man’s lifestyle choices up to two months prior.

Key factors influencing sperm count and motility (sperm’s ability to swim) that are assessed and treated by naturopathic doctors include:

  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and caffeine intake
  • Nutrition and nutrient status such as ensuring adequate amounts of vitamins A, C, E, B12, folic acid and minerals selenium and zinc essential to the production of high quality sperm
  • Detoxification of heavy metals and other chemicals affecting sperm production
  • High stress levels which elevate cortisol and can decrease testosterone levels and negatively affect sperm production and libido
  • Addressing other underlying health concerns influencing fertility

Pregnancy: Nurturing the growth of the tree

The nine months of pregnancy are similar to the process of a little seedling growing into a big, strong tree.  Just as a seedling needs nourishment, love and support to grow, so does a pregnant woman and her developing child.  Plants also need to be adaptable to their constantly changing environment.  Each woman’s pregnancy is a unique and individual experience and naturopathic doctors can support a woman’s changing needs throughout the journey of pregnancy.

Common issues in pregnancy treated by naturopathic medicine include:

First Trimester:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Miscarriage prevention by ensuring optimal hormone levels
  • Morning sickness
  • Prevention of neural tube defects

Second Trimester:

  • Constipation
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Heartburn
  •  Insomnia
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Urinary tract infections

Third Trimester:

  • Back pain
  • Breech position
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Labour and delivery preparation
  • Labour induction
  • Pre-eclampsia (a syndrome of high blood pressure, swelling in the legs and protein in the urine)
  • Varicose veins

Delivery and Post-Partum Care: Harvesting and enjoying the fruit

Congratulations! The tree is fully grown and ready to bear fruit which now brings a host of change and challenges. Naturopathic doctors are available assist with delivery and post-partum care for mother and baby.  The Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors is a great resource when looking for a naturopathic doctor who is also trained as a doula (birthing assistant) to be present at the delivery of your baby.

10 tips for optimizing fertility

  1. Assume you are pregnant. There is truth in the power of positive thinking and setting the intention for welcoming a child into your life.  It will also help you follow the next few tips!
  2. Take a prenatal vitamin and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement regularly.
  3. Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods from your diet.
  4. Identify and eliminate environmental exposure to toxins and consider doing a supervised detoxification program with the help of your naturopathic doctor.
  5. Quit smoking and recreational drugs. See your family doctor or naturopathic doctor for assistance.
  6. Visit your family doctor or naturopathic doctor to address existing health conditions.
  7. Speak to your family doctor or naturopathic doctor about the safety of your medications and natural supplements during pregnancy and change them accordingly.
  8. Communicate with your partner about your feelings regarding having children.
  9. To manage stress, make time for self-care by doing something you enjoy like exercise, yoga, meditation, listening to music, etc.
  10. Track your menstrual cycle by monitoring your basal body temperature.  The basal body temperature chart can provide important information to determine when you are fertile and identify menstrual cycle issues.

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Category: Family, Health, Moms, Moms Wellness, Pregnancy, Tips, Weekly Themes, Wellness

About the Author ()

Dr. Ellen Simone welcomes you to work with her under a holistic view of health which encompasses the understanding that the mind and body are connected to sustaining long-term health and wellness. As a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Simone focuses on family wellness and has special interests in women and children’s health. She loves working with women through different phases in their lives; to regulate the menstrual cycle, ease PMS symptoms, optimize fertility, provide support during and after pregnancy, maintain breast health and welcome menopause. Children are also a primary focus in her practice and she believes that setting healthy habits at a young age is important for long-term health and wellness.

Comments (6)

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  1. K says:

    This is great information! Thanks for putting it all together in a succinct post.

  2. Victoria Ess says:

    I learned a lot reading this post. I definitely intend to consult naturopath when it is time.

  3. Veronica S. says:

    I definitely could have benefited from seeing a naturopath during my last two pregnancies.

  4. Fan R says:

    Varicose veins started in Third Trimester and never gone naturally after the birth, looking for the ways to improve the situation, may be Naturopathic medicine can help.

  5. kathy downey says:

    This is great information !! I love the photo of the little one by the tree

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