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How to prepare for pregnancy

Pregnant woman's profile shadow
image courtesy of romantiel85/

What are the things that a woman may want to do, regarding how holistic health and wellness, which are best addressed when a woman is planning for pregnancy in the near future? Being pregnant, and then, being a mother is certainly a large investment of time, energy and other resources. Often women may struggle with infertility if they do not feel properly prepared for this big life change. There are several different aspects of life that may change with motherhood.

Physically, there are several issues that one may want to address. Are basic health and wellness needs being met? This goes beyond simply taking a prenatal vitamin daily. Of course, taking a daily prenatal vitamin is a goo step, but it does not mean that a woman’s body is healthy and ready for pregnancy. Fertility is a complicated issue, and for most cases of infertility, simply taking a daily prenatal vitamin is unlikely to be of much help when trying to conceive. Are there major areas of physical self care that are less than stellar? Taking a holistic approach means that taking a full health inventory may be necessary, to screen out certain major factors that are basic to good health, which may not be being addressed.

Another aspect of health that is often ignored until a woman decides to try to get pregnant is her menstrual periods. For acupuncturists, the menstrual period can tell a lot about a woman’s general health, and her likelihood to conceive. A menstrual period that is outside of “normal” parameters can be a red flag that fertility could be a problem. Tracking the number of days in the menstrual cycle, as well as including the symptoms that occur each cycle, can be very useful information to have on hand.

One aspect of fertility that is sometimes considered controversial is stress. There are some studies that say that stress does not cause infertility. However, it is fair to say that stress does probably have an impact on fertility. This is compounded by the fact that many women do not even realize the full effect that the stress that they experience is having on their body. Stress has been traced to symptoms in the heart, the digestive system, and even brain function. So, it’s not a stretch to say that stress is likely to have an effect on fertility. Stress seems to be detrimental to the body’s mental and emotional health in general. The reproductive system is one part of our body, and hormones and neurochemical messengers that convey stress are not isolated to one part of the body.

Finally, on the purely emotional level, many women carry worries or anxiety about pregnancy, birthing, or motherhood. Carrying deep-seated negative emotions can have a profoundly negative effect on general well-being. It may be important to consider if the woman trying to conceive is harboring any hidden fears about these different aspects of pregnancy and beyond.

Deciding to get pregnant is a major life change. Many women want to plan their pregnancies, and some will find that it is difficult to conceive when they decide that it is an appropriate time for them. If a woman is having trouble getting pregnant, it may be helpful to step back and take a broader look at her lifestyle. In Chinese Medicine, it is believed that a body out of balance may have difficulty trying to conceive. The general health is addressed, and whatever body systems are most obviously out of balanced are treated. A more holistic approach to fertility can be helpful for many women who may be afraid of less than ideal fertility.

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