What can I do to help my IVF work?

Erica, “what can I do to help my IVF work?” As an infertility mentor this is one of the most asked question. For anyone on the infertility journey IVF is usually not the first or second on the journey. By the time couples get to the place of agreeing to IVF there has already been a huge investment of emotional turmoil, time and money. The money. Oh, so much money for the chance to become parents. You wouldn’t go into any other transaction that costs as much without first safeguarding that you are in alignment to ensure the success of the outcome.
The reproductive system is so intricate that to even move the needle by millimeters could change the outcome. Here are my best tips to put into practice when you’re preparing for your IVF or IUI procedure. For more information and support like this join us over at Infertility Empowered.

1)Acupuncture- This eastern medicine modality has been utilized for millennia to prepare a woman’s body for conception. Today well-rounded REI clinics are offering this in house to help with relaxation and implantation either before or after the procedures. If your REI doesn’t offer this, speak to them about bringing your own practitioner or make an appointment that coincides with your treatment. There are tons of studies both clinical and anecdotal that support acupuncture as extremely complimentary for reproductive medicine.

2)Gentle movement- This will help originate your blood and provide much needed stress release. Swap out higher impact activities for ones that are lower impact but still increase heart rate. Research behind high impact activity is very divided with no clear answer as to whether or not this affects implantation. Traditional Chinese medicine defers to low impact activity during ovulation and the two -week wait.

3)Support your Liver/Gut- Both of these organs support your hormones so do all that you can to be gentle with them and make their job easier. Eat easily digested meals, drink plenty of water and avoid inflammatory foods like dairy. Your liver plays a very important role in your hormone balance so avoid alcohol during ovulation and the two-week wait.

4)Sleep- Sleep is important to restore your body. Remember the goal here is to grow a human. Make sure you get plenty of rest so your blood sugar/and cortisol levels remain stable as these are both big players in reproduction.

5)Supplements- Of course you know when you get pregnant that you will be taking a pre-natal vitamin to support your growing baby, but there is plenty of research to support taking one pre-conception can help you conceive also. Make sure the vitamins you are taking are whole food (meaning not synthetic) as synthetic vitamins can tax your liver and create toxicity. Confused as to what to take? And why? Get on the list for my workshop Decoding Supplements.

3 Tips to increase your fertility this Fall

3 Tips to increase your fertility this Fall
I love fall but to be honest I use to FEAR fall. After all Isn’t that when people start to get sick? I felt powerless to boost my immune system or protect myself outside of good handwashing hygiene. Now I know better and I want to share all my top tips for you to protect and boost your system as fall approaches especially if you’re trying to conceive.
Supplements to boost your immune system


6 proactive -Infertility tips while your waiting for an infertility diagnosis

6 proactive -Infertility tips while your waiting for an infertility diagnosis
You sit quietly in the cold office, the paper gown sticks to your legs as you anxiously waiting for the doctor to walk in so that you can ask them the millions of questions that have been plaguing you. You have put off this appointment, not wanting to ask these questions, but now you’re here and your prepared to hear what the doctor has to say.

In walks the doctor, and out of your mouth tumbles all the questions about why you’re having so much period pain and most of all why you haven’t gotten pregnant yet. Instead of addressing the questions the doctor returns yours with one of his own; “how long have you been trying” You stammer that you haven’t been “trying long” but you have done nothing to prevent pregnancy either. “What about the pain” you say? “All we can do is exploratory surgery or birth control” is the response. Alarmed, and not wanting surgery you drop the subject and move on with the process of the annual exam. As you wrap up your visit your doctor says “keep trying and if you’re not pregnant in 6-12 months we’ll talk about our options.” Unsure what else to do you leave and go cry quietly in your car.

So many women face this scenario every day, and I’m here to tell you it’s NOT okay. While we can’t completely change the system (yet) we can make some proactive choices. Here are some recommendations to keep you moving forward so should your waiting period end with no pregnancy in sight you are proactively moving forward.

1)Track your cycle days and also changes in your cervical mucus. There are journals and apps to help with this.

2)Confirm your ovulating with ovulation tracking

3)Become curious about your symptoms, how you feel and how you’re sleeping. These can all be clues to what could be going wrong with your fertility/ health

4)Get a copy of your bloodwork and review it for levels that appear to be out of range. If you need to, compare several different results to see how the results have changed over time. ASK your doctor for clarification on these tests.

5)Take the same kind of supplements you would if you were already pregnant. Make sure your taking high quality, food-based supplements so that they’re absorbable and not creating toxicity in your body.

6)Period pain, especially debilitating pain should NOT be ignored. Don’t allow fear to prevent you from obtaining a proper diagnosis. Pain that includes excessive bleeding, and keeps you from doing normal daily activities is not normal.

It’s worth mentioning that on average it takes 10 years to obtain an endometriosis diagnosis. Some other things that can cause unmanageable pain or menstrual flow include; uterine fibroids, PCOS/ovarian cysts, as well as adhesions of the reproductive organs to the bladder or other adjacent tissue. Often women are told that there is nothing that can be done about the symptoms caused by these problems, or worse it’s all in their head.

I hope you’ve come to the same conclusion I did that in order to get the pregnancy you desire you’re going to have to become a strong advocate for your own health and take responsibility for knowing your lab results and body. If you need support in this area join us over here at Infertility Empowered where we discuss all things infertility related and how to get answers quicker and with better outcomes.

Chlorine and Summer Skin:4 Things You can do to help reduce the impact

Chlorine and Summer Skin:4 Things You can do to help reduce the impact
We’ve all had that experience where we leave the pool with red and stinging eyes from too much chlorine. But, have you ever thought about what you can do to help reduce your chemical chlorine exposure? Or why you should care? 
We all know that chlorine is a chemical that we shouldn’t inhale. At low levels chlorine can cause skin irritation, sore throat, and red eyes. At higher levels it can cause asthma, wheezing and tightness of the chest. In our house this scenario plays out every year so here’s a few things that we do to help limit our exposure. It's not high on the reproductive toxicity scale, but if you’re trying to conceive any additional burden on you body contributes to your overall biological load. Here’s some tips for reducing your exposure:

1)Wet skin absorbs less chemicals, so before getting into a pool wet your hair and skin.

2)Wear goggles to protect your eyes and if possible, cover your hair with a swim cap.

3)Hydrated skin absorbs less chlorine, so make sure after your shower you apply a thin layer of coconut oil or coco butter. You can also make a hydrating protective lotion with vitamin C powder that helps neutralize the chlorine and helps the body recover from over exposure.

4)As soon as you get out of the pool rinse your hair and body before drying off. Generously apply the after-swim detox spray on your body and hair.

Supporting your body internally by taking a good quality vitamin C is also a great way to help reduce the affects of chlorine over exposure. You can determine supplement quality by looking at the ingredient label for the source of the vitamin C. For instance, if it’s a whole food, non-synthetic vitamin C it will list a citrus fruit or cherry as the source.  For more information like this and how it relates to your fertility health join us: HERE on FB

After Swim De-tox Spray

1 cup filtered water
2 drops of cilantro essential oil
2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
2 drops of rosemary essential oil
2 tsp fractionated coconut oil12oz glass spray bottle
10 drops of geranium essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a 12oz spray bottle and shake until well combined. Shake well before each use to make sure the oils are combined. For an added treat store in the refrigerator.

Summer Detox After Shower Balm

½ cup coconut oil
1 TBS Vitamin C powder 
20 drops of essential oil * non citrus
(lavender, frankincense, copaiba, geranium)
½ cup olive oil 
½ cup shea butter 
Stand mixer/hand mixer
½ cup coco butter
double boiler & airtight container

Melt coconut, olive oil, shea butter, cocoa butter in a double boiler over low to medium heat. Once melted place in a metal bowl and place in the freezer until a 1–2-inch rim forms around the edge. Do not freeze solid. Add essential oils & vitamin C powder and whip with a hand mixer until light and frothy. Seal in an airtight container. May need refrigerated if you live in a warm climate.

Can Ureaplasma cause infertility? The Test Fertility Dr.’s doesn’t want you to know about

Can Ureaplasma cause infertility? The Test Fertility Dr.’s doesn’t want you to know about

If you have unexplained infertility, you know that the list of possible tests is never ending. Well at least it’s not if YOU want to find a solution to YOUR infertility. Western medicine is famous for discounting symptoms and dismissing patients they cannot easily treat. Especially, if you have had chronic UTI symptoms you need to keep reading.

So, WHAT is it?
Ureaplasma is a bacterium that can be passed through sexual contact although it’s not considered a STI or STD because it has only a small ability to cause disease. It can live in the lungs, although most often in the reproductive tract or urinary tract.

What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms can range from none (other than unexplained infertility) to chronic and persistent UTI symptoms including pain, burning, frequency to urinate and foul smelling watery vaginal discharge. Some experience itching as well. Urinary symptoms can occur in both men and women.
Sometime associated with repeat bacterial vaginosis as well as repeat unexplained miscarriage.
If you have ureaplasma you may end up at a urologist who won’t be able to get to the bottom of your symptoms either since the bacteria lives in the vagina.

A $10 antibiotic is the cure...
While samples can be taken and cultured in a lab this is costly and usually not done unless a definitive diagnosis is needed. Sometimes you can have ureaplasma and the culture doesn’t grow. Sometimes only one partner is given antibiotics leading to even more confusion as this makes the symptoms go away temporarily (but quickly return) since both partners haven’t been treated. To be effective the infection is treated with antibiotics (Zithromax or doxycycline) in both partners (this is key in relieving the symptoms) with either

If you want to hear a real-life story of how this impacted one woman…

Erin Banks has an amazing story to tell about her battle to diagnosis over a 2-year odyssey where she went through 9 medicated cycles, 5 unsuccessful IUI’s (most of them should have NEVER been done) and 3 early pregnancy losses. All this could have been avoided if one of the 6 doctors she visited had done some further investigation surrounding her symptoms.

Do you have a story surrounding a UREAPLASMA diagnosis?
 Drop it in the comments below.

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