1. Exercise and Fertility
There is misconception around exercise and conceiving.
Most of the women that walk through Angea are highly stressed, over exercised individuals. There bodies are literally screaming out to them “nourish me, please be kind to me”.
A lot of people are under the illusion that lots of exercise is healthy for them and on the other hand, no exercise at all is not great for the body. This is true, but when it comes to fertility the exercise regime needs to change.
The human body is designed to move. No exercise leaves us feeling tired, sluggish and unmotivated. For the most part, the things that keep your body healthy also support your fertility. Exercise regulates body weight, but also balances our hormones, increases self-esteem and helps manage stress levels, all influencing reproductive health.
When we exercise intensively all the blood is diverting away from the uterus to support our extremities and feed our big muscle groups such as our quadriceps. When in fact we need all the vascular blood flow to go directly to the uterus.
Interestingly, in Western medical books the uterus is described as a “non essential organ”. However when it comes to making babies it is the most “essential organ”. In Chinese Medicine the uterus is called “zi gong” which translates to “The Women’s Palace”. The uterus is the essence of our female reproductive system. After you menstruate you can increase your intensity in exercise. However, after ovulation we recommend to ease off the intensity and keep it simple and nurturing.
We need to nourish and feed an embryo if we wish to create potential for implantation and life. All the gentle exercise such as walking, restorative, fertility, yin yoga, Tai qi and qi gong are the best forms of exercise post ovulation.
It can sometimes be very difficult to get your head around not exercising like the way you use too. The words you want to remember is to become a mother we need to learn to nourish and look after ourselves before we can look after a child.
2. I think my period comes every 28 days?
For many women, we have spent most of our years trying not to fall pregnant. As a result we have lost our connection to our bodies. Thank goodness for Period Apps on our phones as we would have no idea how long, or when our periods are arriving and finishing.
Understanding your menstrual cycle is the first step to understanding your fertility.
A normal menstrual cycle is considered 28 lunar calendar days.
Even though we talk about a 28-day cycle only 15 % of women actually have a 28-day cycle.
For many women this can vary between a 24 – 35 day cycles. Each and every one of you is unique and carries your own menstrual pattern. Some woman will have shorter or longer cycles. However, put a whole lot of women on retreat together and it is not unusual for them to all start menstruating together, even it there period wasn’t due for weeks!
There are 4 phases in the menstrual cycle.
Each phase relates to a dynamic change within the female body.
With each phase different hormones are triggered and this causes the body to respond in different ways. Modern physiologists describe the menstrual cycle in terms of hormones made by the ovaries (estrogen & progesterone) and their actions on the follicles, the tubes, the endometrium (lining) and the uterus. In Chinese Medicine we talk about the involvement of Qi & Blood with the influence of Yin/Yang.
The ability to conceive starts with the pituitary gland, located beneath the brain, stimulates the reproductive system with two hormones: follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). FSH and LH are chemical messengers from the pituitary to the ovaries. The ovaries carry the lifetime supply of eggs. Each egg is encased in an ovarian follicle.
On average each woman will ovulate around 487 times during her lifetime.
3. Having heaps and heaps of sex and following the green time on my phone will get us pregnant.
As discussed above knowing your body and menstrual cycle is key to conceiving. Let’s step back a little so you can understand what goes into calculating the “best time” to have sex.
When I was 15 my Mum took me to see a Natural Fertility Specialist. The Natural Fertility Specialist sat me down and we went through my menstrual cycle. What she has taught me has been so valuable in connecting with my menstrual cycle and ßknowing my body. I knew the times when to have sex and when to avoid sex. I have followed this principle my entire life and did the same conceiving both Winnie & Fredrick. I now have the best job in the world, which is teaching woman to connect back to their bodies and cycles.
The million-dollar question is, “when is the best time to have sex”.
The answer of course should be simple but sometimes it’s not. There many factors that contribute to having sex at the right time. It doesn’t help when there is so much information about when to have sex, your head becomes swamped and confused with an overload of information.
I am going to share with you what I have found to work based on a 28-day cycle. This is part of my Angea Method! As discussed previously, we know that each woman’s length of cycle is different. From personal experience within the clinic and my own journey, timing is of the essence. This why it is so important to understand your own menstrual cycle. Following an app will not always give you the correct timing.
After your period has finished you want to be having sex regularly but not every day as some people believe. Believe me, sperm get just as tired as we do. It is important your partner’s sperm regenerates before you ovulate. Have sex a few times in your follicular phase.
Secondly and equally as important you want to have sex around that fertile 48-hour window.
The Fertile window is only open for a 24-48hr period!!!
Optimally we want to capture the release of the egg down the fallopian tube. What we need to understand is, if your partner has poor sperm morphology or motility then we need to preserve his sperm for the right time of ovulation.
On a 28-day textbook cycle you would ovulate on day 14.
TIP: Have sex day 13, 14, 15 & 16
Having an orgasm will help stimulate blood flow to your uterine lining, nourishing your follicles and your endometrial lining.
4. Having an orgasm can help you conceive! True
The Importance of The Orgasm Dance
It is important to orgasm on the day of ovulation. What happens at the time of an orgasm is really magical. When our cervix is stimulated it scoops down and picks up more semen. This speeds up the process and lessens the risk of the sperm dying out in the ocean of conception. Orgasm picks those swimming sperm up and gives them a definite advantage. The long journey for the sperm to travel up the cervix into the fallopian tube can be a faster process upon orgasm. Bring on the pleasure I say!
There is no delicate way to say it, quite simply if you can’t orgasm through penetration, then you need to finish the job off yourself. This can be messy but also satisfying at the same time. It is very important to become familiar with your body and be comfortable exploring yourself if you want to enhance your chances of conception.
Sperm can live in the vagina for up to 5 days if the environment is hospitable. If your body is highly acidic because you have been eating and drinking the wrong food, you will find your cervical mucus will repress this and in most cases the sperm won’t survive.
This is why what you eat and drink throughout your cycle is so important and why it is imperative to have sex on the days of ovulation!!
5. My Sperm is Awesome!
The Truth About Men’s Sperm
I wanted to raise awareness around this topic as it has affected many of my clients recently. It takes two two to tango!
The data is finally out about the quality of men’s sperm. The truth is male factor infertility is on the rise and the quality of men’s sperm is on the decline.
In 2010, the World Health Organization published and revised their reference values for semen analysis, in fact they lowered their reference values, determining that the quality of men’s sperm is decreasing. What’s more concerning is the value for determining sperm morphology has changed rather substantially. This is definitely not a good thing when it comes to fertilizing an egg.
It takes around 70 days for sperm (spermatozoa) to develop. The good news is that men are constantly producing new sperm. The not so good new is that because of the long development and maturation time of sperm cells, events in a man’s life such as binge drinking can have a far-reaching effect on the quality of his sperm. To be realistic you need to give yourself three months of clean living to produce what I call “healthy or improved sperm”.
What happens in the magical testes is really quite amazing. Men produce individual sperm from a cell called spermatogonium. The spermatogonium then divides to produce spermatocytes, which then develop into spermatids. The next process is really important when it comes to having good swimmers! Take note. The spermatids then develop their tail and then gradually acquire the ability to move by beating its tail. The spermatid then eventually develops into mature spermatozoa otherwise known as sperm. This maturation process takes a whooping 60 days and the sperm another 10-14 days to pass through the ducts of each testicle, and it’s sperm-maturing tube, the epididymis before it can leave the body in the semen during ejaculation. You can see just how long it takes for new sperm to produce. It is a lengthy process almost 3 months in fact.
When I stop the pill my period will come back straight away
In Clinic, we see a lot of women under the impression that when they stop the pill their period will return the next month. In some cases this is true but for some women it may take a few months for things to return to normal.
The body has its own natural rhythm and cycle and when we take the pill it inhibits our hormone receptors and disrupts this natural process. The pill’s synthetic hormones convince the body that an egg has already been released.
Essentially, the pill contains estrogen and progestin hormones, which function to decrease the follicular (FSH) stimulating hormone and the release of the luteinizing hormone (LH). This prevents the egg from being released but also thins the endometrial lining.
If you have been taking the pill for a long period of time, our endocrine (hormonal system) can be completely unbalanced. It can also be masking other conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis.
At the clinic we recommend you have a pelvic ultrasound following stopping the pill. A pelvic ultrasound will help reveal the health of your uterus and also allow us to see hormonally what is going on. For example, the thickness of your lining, if there are any cysts etc.
Acupuncture is amazing at helping to regulate your hormones and return your cycle to its natural rhythm.
At Angea we see a range of Women’s Health conditions and Fertility Issues. We can help demystify any questions regarding your fertility or menstrual cycle. We teach women how to connect back into their bodies. Mind-Body & Spirit. Come and visit us for some Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine or Yoga.