Preconception health advice-fertility support
In Geelong Chinese Medicine Clinic, many patients have consulted us about what kind of things they can do to get ready before pregnancy. In today’s blog, we would like to give some general advice.
- Folic acid intake has been suggested to decrease the risks of neural tube defect in the newborn. Females are advised to take folic acid at least one month before conception then continue for the first trimester of pregnancy. The dosage needs to be consulted with a local GP, but women at normal risk are suggested to take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily (Bitzer & Mahmood, 2022).
- Alcohol consumption is associated with increased risks of miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy. There’s no safe limit of alcohol consumption during pregnancy so the suggestion is “no alcohol during pregnancy” (Bitzer & Mahmood, 2022).
- Vitamin D deficiency has been found to be associated with infertility in both female and male. A systematic review conducted by Sollis (2015) reported that vitamin D receptors are present in ovary, uterus and placenta, and it regulates a few fertility related hormones such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), progesterone etc. In addition, Vitamin D is important for optimal sperm function according to Sollis (2015). It is, therefore, important to undertake full blood examinations when preparing to have a baby, and increase the exposure to sunlight or take vitamin D supplement if there is a deficiency.
- Take basal body temperature (BBT) for at least three cycles to get a general idea about when you are ovulating. The method of taking BBT can be found in the previous blog Fertility support in Chinese medicine
- Monitor menstruation cycle. Regular menstruation is a good indicator of ovulation. However, irregular periods are quite common. In Chinese medicine, period irregularity is associated with an imbalance between Yin and Yang or Qi and Blood (Xia, 2009) . Many factors can contribute to this imbalance, including emotional and physical stress Stress & Emotional Issues, constitution, sleep Insomnia, Sleep and Sleep hygiene, and lifestyle such as what we eat and drink We are what we eat, how we exercise (Xia, 2009).
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been used for hundreds of years in China to enhance fertility in women and men. In recent years, many clinical trials have been conducted to support the clinical observation. In our Geelong Chinese medicine, we provide individualized care plans to our clients who need fertility support. In our next blog, we will talk about what leads to yin and yang, or qi and blood imbalance, as well as postnatal care.
Bitzer, J., & Mahmood, T. A. (Eds.). (2022). Handbook of Contraception and Sexual Reproductive Healthcare. Cambridge University Press.
Sollis, S. (2015). Vitamin D deficiency and infertility: A Systematic Review. Student Works.143. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/studentpub/143
Xia,GC. 2009. 夏桂成实用中医妇科学 (Xia Gui Cheng practical Chinese medicine Gynecology). 中国中医药出版社 (Chinese TCM publisher).