I was kind of reluctant to write this post because I know most people aren't really interested in natural alternatives to fertility treatments. Nor can I speak from experience on this subject since Determined Duckling was an accident. (But a delightful one.) However, natural medicine and enhancing fertility have always fascinated me, so it's a subject I've done some reading on. And since this blog is ultimately for me, I'm going to write about subjects that I'm interested in, and in this case, that's going to be natural alternatives to fertility treatments.
Nutrition: Eat your way to getting pregnant? It has been done. Robyn Openshaw (a.k.a. Green Smoothie Girl) has written a couple of great blog posts about recovering from infertility with a whole foods, plant-based diet (here and here). Robyn's first son was a twin conceived on a fourth whack at artificial insemination. She miscarried his twin in the first trimester. After he was born, she and her husband tried to get pregnant again and she suffered an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in internal hemorrhaging and the loss of one of her ovaries. Then, she switched to a whole foods, plant -based diet and and never had any trouble getting or staying pregnant again- even with only one ovary. Today, she is the mother of four teenagers. Her blog is extremely well-researched and chock full of great, useful information about health and nutrition that is not mainstream. If you haven't read the Green Smoothie Girl blog, drop everything you are doing right now and go check it out. Malamute and I have found a lot of good information from Robyn's site and blog that have changed our lives.
Fertility Awareness- The only information most of us learned about our monthly cycles in health class was that a hot water bottle will help with cramps and that you can go swimming if you use tampons. Suffice it to say that most of us our woefully under-educated about our own anatomy. One of the best books I have read about fertility awareness is Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. This book will teach you how to identify the days you are most fertile to maximize your chances of getting pregnant and also help you identify problems with your cycle that may be preventing you from getting or staying pregnant. Even if you have no trouble getting pregnant, this book is invaluable in understanding how the female reproductive system really works.
Chiropractic- Most people who know me know that I'm crazy for chiropractic because it gave Determined Duckling the use of his legs and feet. But it can also help with certain fertility problems. For many chiropractors, this is their reason for being- literally. Their biographies describe how their parents tried for years to get pregnant with no success. The doctors could offer no answer as to why they were having so many troubles getting pregnant, and so the unfortunate couple went to a chiropractor who began adjusting the mother and BAM!- the babies began showing up en masse, and one or more of them grows up to be a chiropractor. The idea behind chiropractic is this: the nervous system tells the body what to do and how to do it. The spine is at the center of the nervous system, so if we can correct minor misalignments of the vertebrae, we can help the nervous system to send and receive directions properly, and thus get the body working in optimal condition.
One infertility problem that chiropractic is especially good at helping is failure of the fallopian tubes to propel the egg through the tubes to rendezvous with the sperm and result in pregnancy. I have often wondered how many couples have this problem and are labelled as "unexplained" infertility cases because tests don't show abnormal levels of hormones or a lack of ovulation. Here is an excellent article on chiropractic care for infertility.