For women struggling with infertility or who are already pregnant, the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine offers a number of strategies for optimizing a woman’s health before, during, and after her pregnancy. We recommend the following strategies to women who want to enhance their chances of experiencing a successful pregnancy, delivering a healthy baby, and making a full recovery from the delivery.
At the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, we recommend that women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) consider acupuncture to increase their chances of pregnancy. A review of seven clinical trials reported in the February 7, 2008 British Medical Journal found that acupuncture improved the rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization. The reviewers concluded that treating 10 women undergoing IVF with acupuncture would result in one additional pregnancy.
All of the Kaplan Center’s physicians practice medical acupuncture, and all are members of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, the organization that has established the training requirements for physician-acupuncturists in the United States.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
We sometimes find that patients who are having difficulty getting pregnant have been living with hormonal imbalances that have never been properly diagnosed, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is an ovulatory disorder that makes it more difficult to lose weight and become pregnant (Semin Reprod Med. 2008 Jan). The Kaplan Center offers a number of alternative and conventional treatments for hormone replacement, including prescription medications, bioidentical hormones, herbal remedies, acupuncture, and lifestyle changes such as dietary improvements, regular exercise and relaxation. Kaplan Center physicians are skilled in identifying hormonal problems. If you are having trouble getting pregnant, your Kaplan Center doctor may explore the need for hormone replacement therapy with you.
Most pregnant mothers make a point of eating well because they understand that what mom eats, baby eats. But proper nutrition prior to getting pregnant is also critical to getting pregnant and delivering a healthy baby.
Clinical research has demonstrated that the quality of the hopeful mother’s diet can have a large impact on her chances of becoming pregnant. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as too little Vitamin D, magnesium or folate, can undermine a woman’s ability to conceive, as can her weight. Women with undiagnosed celiac disease often suffer from nutritional deficiencies that can interfere with getting pregnant. Underweight prospective mothers may not have enough nutrient stores to ovulate or become pregnant; and overweight women may experience hormonal changes that lower fertility.
At the Kaplan Center your comprehensive treatment plan will incorporate checking your nutrient levels, providing nutritional counseling and, if necessary, prescribing supplementation.
Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT)
OMT throughout pregnancy can help a woman’s body more easily accommodate the growing life within. Furthermore, by alleviating many of the typical muscular and myofascial stresses of pregnancy, OMT can facilitate an easier delivery. Finally, continued treatment after delivery, while the ligaments involved in the pregnancy are still loose, encourages more rapid healing of the muscle and connective tissue, and can even lead to the correction of prior structural imbalances that may have existed in the mother’s body.
For some women emotional stress can be an obstacle to getting pregnant. The Kaplan Center’s psychotherapist, Jodi Brayton, not only provides counseling, she also can help individuals learn meditation and other stress-reduction techniques. The goal is to empower women and their partners to manage stressful life situations more effectively, thereby allowing their minds and bodies to prepare for pregnancy.
The Bottom Line: If you’re trying to get pregnant, work with a medical team that understands that there are many variables than can interfere with or enhance your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy.
We’re here for you, and we want to help.
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