After three miscarriages and been diagnosed with luteal phase defect, my midwife sent me to a reproductive endocrinologist where I discussed all of the tests I could undergo as well as the medications I could use to hopefully maintain a successful pregnancy. Essentially, I’d take Clomid for the first half of my cycle to force ovulation, and then synthetic progesterone for the second half to boost my levels.
I’m sure this is right for some people, but right away I felt uncomfortable with it. I took synthetic progesterone for about four months last summer and found myself miserably tired and nauseous, such that I needed anti-nausea medications to cope on a daily basis. While studies have had mixed results, there is some thinking that synthetic progesterone, while taken with estrogen, can cause breast cancer. As my mom is a breast cancer survivor, I have an increased risk already. I also was aware of the negative side effects of Clomid, and was not excited about taking that. The endocrinologist really presented this plan as a crapshoot, which wasn’t significantly different than the crapshoot I was already playing by taking nothing.
So my husband and I went back to the drawing board, and my midwife recommended acupuncture and yoga as alternative therapy. I researched and met with a few acupuncturists around town, and read a few books (Fully Fertile: A 12-Week Holistic Plan for Optimal Fertility, Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health And Healing, and Making Babies: A Proven 3- Month Program For Maximum Fertility. I also read a ton about Traditional Chinese Medicine which was inspiring and eye-opening.). After meeting with my current acupuncturist, I was sold.
During my discussion with him, we spoke at length about my low body temperature which makes it hard to maintain a warm and healthy uterus, my qi deficiency from a somewhat traumatic childbirth with Penny, and 3 miscarriages, and my stagnant blood flow. His prescription was weekly acupuncture for three months to regulate my hormones, increase my qi, address my medical/needle anxiety, and increase my body temperature.
Over the next few weeks, I’d like to write more at length about how acupuncture has helped me in each of those ways, but let me wrap up this post by remarking on just how sick I now see that I was, and how incredibly effective acupuncture has been at bringing me healing. I was an instant believer, and after three months of treatment, I feel like the woman I was before Penny was born – full of energy and optimism with far less need for coffee!
Acupuncture is wildly successful with fertility issues, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, and a whole host of other medical challenges. I wish someone had told me after my first miscarriage that this was an option, and I hope if you struggle with any sort of chronic condition, you’ll look into acupuncture. As my acupuncturist constantly reminds me “There’s a reason it’s been around for thousands of years!”
In most states, acupuncture is not covered by health insurance, but community acupuncture is an affordable alternative. You can find a clinic near you on the POCA website.
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