Numerous studies, books and journals document ways of getting pregnant in varied ways such as healthy eating, regular exercise, sleeping in complete darkness or avoiding lubricants. One long established method of boosting fertility is observed through the holistic approach.
How Is Fertility Defined?
Infertility as defined by the World Health Organization is “the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.” There are two types of infertility. Primary infertility refers to couples who cannot conceive following one year of unprotected sex. Secondary infertility refers to couples who successfully conceived in the past but are now unable to get pregnant successfully.
7.4 million women aged 15 to 44 years in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term according to the U.S Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
The inability for a couple to get pregnant will be caused by ⅓ of men, ⅓ of women and ⅓ of causes for infertility are unknown.
According to the CIA World Factbook, Niger has the highest rate of fertility and Singapore has the highest rate of infertility.
According to Reuters Health, almost ⅙ couples have difficulty conceiving.
The Holistic Approach
Traditional Chinese medicine has been used to treat particular fertility problems thanks to suspected improvements in ovarian and follicular function, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Acupuncture involves putting tiny, relatively painless needles into specific meridian points on the body that correlate with certain organs and body systems. Stimulating these trigger points increases blood circulation and energy, which over time can help balance various health issues, including infertility. Acupuncture is also said to reduce symptoms associated with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
This week, LetsGetChecked is joined by Heidi Brockmyre, Heidi Brockmyre is an acupuncturist, herbalist and fertility and pregnancy specialist with a background in Chinese medicine.
She has over 10 years of experience helping women grow their families. She's supported hundreds of women in her clinic in San Diego, and thousands of women around the world in her online community.
Heidi focuses on helping women create total fertility wellness by preparing the mind, body, and spirit for fertility and pregnancy through her virtual fertility self-acupressure programs.
Five Minutes With Heidi Brockmyre
How do you think a holistic approach vs. a modern approach to conception compares?
The conventional modern medical approach sees the body as broken or diseased and offers options to manage the disease or treat the symptoms of the disease. Conventional medicine interferes with the body's natural processes. Holistic medicine sees the body as whole and in fluctuation. The approach is to support the body so that it can be brought back into balance. It recognizes the body's innate wisdom to heal itself given the right environment. The holistic approach is to provide the body with what it needs so that it can heal itself rather than to interfere.
That being said, they can be used together. While I prefer the holistic approach, sometimes it's not enough. But if that is the case, to get the best results with the conventional medical approach, I think holistic medicine should always be used alongside it.
Why do you think the incidence of infertility has increased globally?
I think it mostly has to do with lifestyle and environmental factors more so than age. Our modern lifestyle isn't really sustainable for our health. We're all doing too much, both men and women, and so our health takes a toll. We value doing as opposed to just being in most cultures. Also there are so many environmental factors affecting both male and female infertility, like pesticides, GMOs, water contaminants, plastic use, air pollution. All of these factors are causing a huge increase in autoimmune issues and chronic inflammation that affects fertility, like PCOS, endometriosis, hypothyroidism and fibroids.
How does it feel to know that you are helping women to conceive with your mentorship programs?
I like to help women and couples empower themselves to learn about their health from a Chinese medicine perspective and restore their fertility so that they can conceive. I believe that whatever challenges we're given in life, although not preferred, are opportunities for growth and learning. There are always silver linings. Learning more about your body's energetic systems and your mind/body connection is one of the silver linings that can come with the journey to conceiving. This can benefit you long after you've conceived your child.
You teach women all over the world how to create fertility wellness. Can you tell me about how you got onto this path?
I was inspired to specialize in women's health and fertility because I knew through my own experience how effective Chinese medicine is for treating women's health issues and infertility in ways that Western medicine simply is not. I know how frustrated I felt by the limitations of western medicine, which basically offered me birth control as the only solution, and how grateful I was to Chinese medicine for maintaining my reproductive health naturally. I grew a passion for providing that same incredible relief to women everywhere. I was thrilled when I was invited to join a thriving fertility practice immediately after graduating. And I was lucky to be mentored by two wonderful experienced practitioners as I treated hundreds of fertility patients from my very first year of practice. After 5 years of working with this team, I branched off on my own and now have my own fertility clinic as well as having developed online programs available for women to use from anywhere in the world so they can use Chinese medicine to take control of their reproductive wellbeing.
On a more personal note, I'm also a mother to a wonderful 12 year old boy named Zavier. I fell pregnant with Zavier with the use of Chinese medicine. I also used Chinese medicine to support a healthy pregnancy and to prepare for and support natural childbirth and throughout my postpartum recovery and breastfeeding. I've used Chinese medicine to heal my son during his health challenges throughout the years.
What do you think the most important thing to bear in mind is when trying to conceive?
To celebrate the small wins.
When you make health changes in the spirit of trying to conceive, it takes time and requires patience and consistency. Some days will be easier than others. Some days you'll want to throw in the towel. I teach women how to note the small improvements along the way that reveal you ARE improving your health and fertility, that you are on the path to conceiving. It's just so important to be consistent with your health and lifestyle improvements.
What advice would you have given yourself when you were first starting out with working infertility?
When I first started working with infertility, I'd feel personally responsible when someone wasn't getting pregnant. I felt like I wasn't doing enough or wasn't doing something right. It felt very heavy and draining for me. I was going on the emotional roller coaster ride with all of my patients! But with time and experience I learned that I only have so much control. I felt confident that I was giving the best quality of support that I could give and the rest was out of my hands. Every case is so different. I learned that providing a safe space to listen to my patients had so much value in and of itself, regardless if I could control the outcome. I took solace knowing that even if they didn't get pregnant as soon as we'd both hoped, knowing they had my support during all the ups and downs really helped them.
What words of wisdom would you give to mums to be who are having difficulty becoming pregnant?
I would remind them that they're not alone.
And there's so much they can do at home to help them get pregnant. Be consistent and patient with their bodies when they make health and lifestyle changes to support their fertility.
Read more about Tips For Getting Pregnant
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley