16 Mar IVF repeated embryo failure to implant – A little piece of advice from a Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Many times in clinic we hear from clients who have been through IVF, with transfer after transfer of perfect embryos, which repeatedly fail. It is heartbreaking and hopefully this article can give you just the piece of advice to change that.
So why does this happen from a Chinese Medicine perspective?
For a Chinese Medicine Practitioner we view the womb like a garden and as all good gardeners know you never plan your best crops in uncultivated soil, and the same goes with fertility. The endometrium lining is extremely important in fertility, particularly in IVF where other factors are eliminated.
Studies suggest that endometrial thickness directly relates to the chances of pregnancy. For example one study suggested that a lining of <9 mm resulted in 53% getting pregnant where as > or =16 mm resulted in 77% getting pregnancy and also slightly increased the chances of carrying the pregnancy to full term.
More importantly how do we use this information to our advantage!
Look at your period.
By looking at your period every month we get a great idea of what our endometrial lining is looking like. So what should you see?
An ideal period is from 3-5 days duration with 3-4 changes of a pad on the heaviest day without pain, clots and mucus. The blood should be fresh bright red, showing good oxygenation.
So what if I am not seeing this?
The best way we can judge your endometrial thickness is through menstrual flow and amount. Firstly when possible try using pads or menstrual cups rather than tampons as it will give you a more accurate reading.
If the bleeding is still light or brown / pink watery try these tips;
- If the period is too light, consider if you have enough iron or blood to actually have a period, so consider increasing red meat and iron rich foods in your diet.
- Consider reducing exercise, as exercise can draw blood into the muscles rather than where it is needed – in the uterus. Instead opt for low impact stress reducing exercise such as yoga.
- Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be helpful to bring blood to the uterus lining as well as aiding in iron absorption from foods.
- Avoid gluten, especially if it makes you feel bloated or uncomfortable. There is some research that suggests gluten containing grains may inhibit absorption of key nutrients such as iron, and b vitamins in some susceptible women.
- Check oestrogen and progesterone levels with your doctor; an imbalance in these hormones can affect the lining of the endometrium. Oestrogen is responsible for the growth of the lining in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, and progesterone to thicken the lining in the luteal
- Supplement royal jelly, which can mimic oestrogen levels which is fantastic if your levels are low.
- Add flax ground flax into your daily routine or consider using seed cycling.
- Use implantation breathing but remember not to hold abdomen tightly during the day. Relaxing the area is the key.
Take time to nurture and ground your body. Use implantation breathing to calm the nervous system and create better circulation to the uterus;
- Lie back with pillow under your knees
- Place your hands right then left directly on top of your lower belly
- Take slow deep breaths, inhaling through your Nose and exhaling through your nose, or gently through the mouth
- Equal amount in and equal amount out. 5 seconds in….5 seconds out. Increase the length as you become comfortable, and find your own rhythm
- Imagine the breath moving into and through your hands. Feel your hands move as you breathe.
- Continue for 5 minutes
If the blood is clotty and dark, try these tips;
- Drink raspberry leaf tea and/or nettle tea during the period and follicular phase of the menstrual cycle
- Get Acupuncture during the cycle.
- Chinese herbs such as motherwort are particularly useful for toning the uterus ready for pregnancy but also clearing out clotting.
- Use heat packs during the period and even the rest of the month. Remember that blood flows better in warmth. Clients who have clotty painful periods benefit from heat packs throughout the month
- Keep your body warm including your feet!
- Always use pads rather than tampons. Pads allow the clots to come out more easily
About the author
Lauren Surridge is the Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and owner of Balanced Life Health Care. Lauren has a bachelor of Chinese Medicine and specialises in Women’s health, gynaecology and infertility. She has a passion in educating women in the basic lifestyle changes that they can make at home to improve their health, hormonal balance and fertility. To find out more about Lauren click here and to make an appointment to see Lauren at her clinic in Ferntree Gully click here