Creating a strong foundation is vital for a healthy pregnancy

Do you know that more than 1 in 6 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy? Whether you simply want to be as healthy as possible before conceiving, or you’ve been encountering challenges in getting and staying pregnant, one approach that may help boost your fertility is functional medicine. Functional medicine looks at the whole person and considers all aspects of health when prescribing treatment, and can be used as a stand alone therapy or in conjunction with your conventional medical treatment.

What is functional medicine?

Functional medicine is focused on identifying physiological disparities that are causing imbalance in the body instead of the more reactive approaches of calling them out when they are obvious. It’s more preventative than reactionary — health care versus sick care. There’s no need to wait until you’re an IVF patient to see if functional medicine can help. We are all unique, but functional problems that may affect fertility include blood sugar regulation, gut health, hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue and inflammation.

To solve functional infertility problems you have to look upstream instead of downstream. What’s the root of the problem? Often functional issues are not one-size-fits-all. You need to work with a functional medicine practitioner who will help you identify the imbalances that are unique to your physiology, and then prioritize treatment options based on what will have the most benefit at the least cost of energy/resources.

A good functional medicine practitioner will take the time to gather a comprehensive health history. In addition, it’s often helpful to run basic labs to gather data about your current health status. By carefully reviewing a person’s whole health – not just the reproductive bits, both past and present, there will be clues to aid in restoring balance and increasing the odds of a successful pregnancy.

What types of treatment are involved?

Functional medicine is a natural approach to wellbeing, so it involves areas like:

  • Dietary recommendations
  • Lifestyle enhancement
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Balancing hormones naturally
  • Correcting digestive issues
  • Balancing nutrition using specific supplements suited to your needs
  • Adding complementary treatments like acupuncture

Essentially, it means you’ll be working with your body to help it heal and balance itself, just like it’s inclined to do.

Functional medicine takes the perspective that when you are experiencing symptoms, it’s not because your body is broken, but rather it’s doing exactly what it was designed to do. If you are struggling to become pregnant, perhaps your body’s innate wisdom knows that conditions aren’t where they need to be for the best outcome.

Let’s face it, pregnancy is not easy on the body. To put it bluntly, it’s a parasitic relationship, and your body needs to have the resources to give to the pregnancy, in addition to keeping you healthy throughout the process. If you go into your fertility journey with health issues that can be corrected with some simple changes, wouldn’t it make sense not only for your wellbeing, but the long term wellbeing of your child, to take action?

How long will it take?

The short answer is that I recommend giving yourself at least a 90 day head start before trying to conceive. Why? Because folliculogenesis, the time it takes to develop a follicle to release an egg, is about 90 days. Male fertility will be discussed in subsequent posts, but for the record, spermatogenesis (maturation of sperm) takes about 72 days, so he’d be well served to make some healthy changes, too. After all, 23 of your baby’s chromosomes come from his sperm.

However, my goal is always to inspire lasting change that will benefit you far beyond childbirth. Your body is your best friend. You came in with it and you’re going out with it. Treat your body at least as well as you treat your pets or your car. But considering that without it you’d literally be nothing, how about prioritizing its wellbeing today?

In summary

Functional medicine for fertility doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s never too early or too late to try functional therapies that benefit you as well as your children-to-be.

– Functional medicine is aimed at correcting imbalances unique to your physiology. In other words, it helps restore proper function.

– Functional nutritional supplements and botanicals are targeted at your specific imbalances

– Functional treatment options are based on what will have the most benefit for the least cost of energy/resources

– Functional medicine treatments include dietary and lifestyle changes that help restore your body to its best health

– Acupuncture may be recommended as a safe and proven treatment for improving the odds of conception and delivering a healthy baby

Are you ready to give yourself and your baby the gift of good health? Reach out to us at Wiser Health. We’d love to help!