(PCOS article by Amy Day, ND)
Making a baby. It seems very simple. Sperm meets egg, cells divide, wait nine months and ta da baby is born. For many couples, this is a natural process that takes place without a glitch.
However, when you've been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, you know you will face additional challenges and things might just not work out that easily. Actually, all the steps are so complicated that it's a bit of a miracle that it ever works out for anybody.
Whether you are planning for a pregnancy now, preserving your fertility for the future or are actively treating your infertility, natural medicine can help. Taking steps to improve your health will treat your PCOS symptoms and improve your chances of a successful conception, plus you will set the stage for a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby.
Many people think of infertility as a woman's problem, but it takes two to tango. In fact, studies indicate that the cause of infertility is equally divided between men and women, so both partners need to be evaluated and treated. Even when you know that PCOS is part of the problem, there may be other factors so it is important to make sure the man is in optimum health as well.
Using natural family planning, you can learn your body's fertility signs, identify underlying problems, and time intercourse for optimum results. This means keeping a calendar to track your menses and other cyclic symptoms.
You can also test for ovulation at home using either basal body temperatures, urine LH predictor kits, or ovulation scopes that look for changes in the saliva. It is helpful to learn about your hormonal rhythms and understand your body.
The endocrine system is very complex, and it is important to have proper functioning of thyroid, adrenal and reproductive hormones. With PCOS, it may take extra effort to evaluate and balance your hormones but specialized testing and a wide range of treatment options are available.
This may not be the first thing you think of for fertility, but digestion plays a central role in your overall health status. Your body's ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate wastes determines the state of your internal environment.
What you eat is one thing, but how your body processes it is also important. Stomach acid, digestive enzymes, probiotics and stress levels may affect your ability to digest properly.
Ensuring proper intake of nutrients helps to produce healthy eggs and sperm, as well as provide the nourishment for the developing fetus. You need proper amounts of high quality protein, fats and carbs as well as micronutrient vitamins and minerals.
In PCOS it is especially critical to balance blood sugar and insulin response by eating low glycemic foods with high levels of protein and fiber. Choosing organic, nutrient-dense, unprocessed, whole foods will provide your body with a good foundation, and supplements can be used as needed.
This should only be done prior to conception and can help prepare both the man and the woman. Most of us carry around extra weight as well as accumulated toxins that can interfere with fertility and overall health. Detoxification decreases this burden and creates a healthier environment for your baby.
Infertility can be one of the most stressful experiences in a couple's life. Expressing your feelings, working on acceptance and seeking support from qualified professionals can be lifesavers for you and for your marriage.
A simple but highly effective step is to incorporate a 10-20 minute relaxation practice into your daily routine, either in the morning or at bedtime. A great resource for infertility information and support is www.resolve.org.
If you decide to incorporate some medically assisted fertility treatments into your attempts to conceive, keep in mind the importance of stress management, nutrition and acupuncture. By combining conventional and natural medicine, you increase your chances for assisted reproduction to be successful, and for the pregnancy to result in a healthy baby.
Many conditions can negatively impact a couple's ability to conceive. Finding effective solutions for treating your PCOS is critical but you also need to rule out other conditions and then work on optimizing your chances of conception.
Many women with PCOS are able to conceive and have children. Yes, it can be more difficult and take more work, but keep in mind that it is possible.
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