“Pregnant Pause” by Leslie Goldman in Natural Health Magazine

Pregnant pause: trying to conceive? Don’t put all your eggs in one
basket. Natural remedies can complement or even replace traditional
by Leslie Goldman | June, 2011

For 1 in 8 couples in the United States today, the path to pregnancy is
riddled with roadblocks. Experts point to a host of medical, environmental
and social factors, from pesticides in food to hormone-disrupting stress.
Chief among the fertility-zappers is age. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of American women now have
their first child after age 35. Unfortunately, about one-third of them will
confront fertility barriers, thanks to diminished egg reserves or a heightened
risk of other reproductive challenges.

When a couple have trouble conceiving, it’s usually the woman who finds
herself sweating it out in the stirrups. But while one-third of infertility
problems can be traced to the female partner, the same number can be
attributed to the man (see “Sperm Zappers,” pg. 48). Both partners have
issues 10 percent of the time, and 20 percent of cases are frustratingly
labeled “unexplained.”

Most female infertility cases stem from ovulatory problems, including
hormone imbalances or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal
disorder characterized by irregular periods, excess hair growth and ache.
Others face thyroid disease; mechanical issues like blocked fallopian tubes;
or endometriosis, a painful disorder in which the uterine lining grows
outside the uterus. Certain culprits, including blocked tubes or very low
sperm counts, require surgery or assisted reproductive techniques like in
vitro fertilization (IVF). But some experts say a quick-fix mentality on the
part of both patients and physicians has contributed to an over-reliance on
IVF, which costs about $12,000 per cycle and can be exceptionally taxing on
a woman’s body, emotions and relationships.

A growing number of practitioners are advocating a blend of holistic care
with mainstream reproductive endocrinology. “Lifestyle is a huge factor,”
says Sami S. David, M.D., assistant professor of reproductive medicine at
Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and co-author of Making
Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility (Little Brown).
While you can’t change your age, you can control the foods you eat, the
way you handle stress and your environment. We asked the experts–many
of whom used a combination of traditional and complementary approaches
to surmount their own fertility challenges–for their top recommendations.
Choose the methods that suit your physical or emotional needs; if you
haven’t conceived after three to six months (depending on your age and
patience level), consult a reproductive endocrinologist.

Stress less “People going through infertility have similar stress levels to cancer, AIDS
and heart disease patients,” says Alice Domar, Ph.D., executive director
of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF and author of
Conquering Infertility (Penguin). The link between stress and infertility is
hotly debated–a recent study in the British Medical Journal, for example,
found no link between emotional distress and IVY failure. But many experts
believe chronic stress has hijacked our primitive fight-or-flight response,
causing the pituitary gland to unnecessarily release endorphins that suppress
reproductive hormones.

A landmark 2000 Harvard Medical School study found that women who
participated in a 10-week mind-body program, including relaxation and
yoga, were nearly three times more likely to conceive than women who
didn’t. And a 2009 Domar-led study found that women who took part in a
mind-body stress management program before or during their second IVY
cycle had a 160 percent higher pregnancy rate compared with those who did


Holistic nutritionist Sally Kravich, M.S., CNHP, recommends fish oil (800-plus milligrams EPA and 500-plus milligrams
DHA per day) to balance your hormones and encourage healthy fetal brain development. Try: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega ($60 for 180 softgels; vitaminshoppe.com)


COPYRIGHT 2011 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning

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Sally Kravich

M.S. Holistic Nutrition
Author & Speaker
Body & Soul Nutrition

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Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Essence, Natural Health, Better Nutrition, Dateline, Donny&Marie, W.B. News, WOR Radio NYC, KPFK Radio LA, The Hair Bible, Take it to Heart, and Self-Seduction. You will also find her referenced in upcoming books in Fall 2011 as the nutritional expert on foods for children and a beauty book.