Some advice for y'all (updated w/ links)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Alot of you have asked me if I would recommend such-and-such that I tried while on this journey. So I thought I'd do a pre-pregnancy and while-pregnant post about what I've liked and what I could have done without. I'm not being paid in any way to recommend or not recommend anything, just so you know :) None of these supplements was specifically recommended by my doctor(s)- I just came to do research about each one and felt good about adding them to my diet.


Fertility Drugs: BOO. (Ha!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Vitamin D (2000iu/day): I started taking 2000iu in the fall (was taking a lower dosage before then). I definitely would recommend this supplement. A friend of mine saw a normal endocrinologist, and he told her that in the endocrine system, Vitamin D is very powerful, and he thought everyone should take 2000iu per day. The reason I started taking it was because after all our failed ART treatments, it seemed as though I just had low levels of hormones all around. Some reading I had done suggested that increasing your Vitamin D intake would help the production of hormone levels.

Prenatal Vitamin: I take Rainbow Light's Prenatal One. It is a food-based prenatal, meaning that the nutrients therein come from natural/vegetable sources. I would definitely recommend this brand.

Baby Aspirin and/or Robitussin: I took these a few cycles here and there over the last few years, and while I don't think they do you any harm, I am not convinced it helped me in any way. Since I was trying to rid my body of unnecessary chemicals, I decided since I hadn't seen "results", these ones weren't on my list of keepers.

Wheatgrass: I started with the tablets (7 per day, thank you) in July, and sometime early fall, I switched to the powder. The reasons I started taking this supplement was because it is an alkaline superfood containing great folic acid (as adults, our bodies tend towards acidity), and I hoped it would make sure the pH of the reproductive areas was optimal. Also, there are studies that say that wheatgrass improves FSH levels and/or egg quality, and given the results of our ART cycles, that is what I suspected my issue was. I will warn you, it's not the most yummy concoction (I mixed it with 8oz of juice) to choke down every day, but I felt it was definitely having a positive impact, so I would recommend it.

Acupuncture (along with "The Infertility Cure" (book)): I did acupuncture for about 3ish weeks last spring around our IVF cycle, in hopes it would help my response. Well, we all know how that went down. However, after deciding to ditch modern medicine in October and go with only natural fertility-enhancers, I returned to acupuncture, once a week. I think without all the other meds in my body, acupuncture was much more successful (for me). I definitely felt a difference in my cycles and my body/mind, and I incorporated many dietary suggestions from The Infertility Cure. I would definitely recommend acupuncture and this book.

Royal Jelly: I added this supplement in November, because it has been said to be the natural fertility drug. This is what the queen bees eat, and they drop eggs all day long. ;-) It works at the cellular level to make sure cells are as healthy as can be, so I also took this with the hopes I'd crank out some spectacular looking eggies sometime soon. I got the actual jelly form, and just like wheatgrass, eating a tsp per day was a labor of love, but I did it, and I'd recommend it to anyone! (edited to respond to Mommy-In-Waiting: yes, I read that it takes 3 months to "take effect", and it just so happens that I started in November and conceived in January....!)

CoQ10: I added this in January because this supplement has been said to assist in enhancing blood flow and the energy/cell reproduction process, and I wanted to increase my circulation/energy levels (per acupuncture), and make sure my eggs were being made properly (do you notice a trend?). This is a supplement I think is probably least specifically related to fertility issues, but I haven't read anything detrimental about adding it to your intake, so I would keep this in my vitamin cabinet.

Circle+Bloom and Pulling Down the Moon's "Yoga Practices for Fertility": Both of these holistic things I added in January, and I loved them. I think everyone who is still praying for their baby should get one of each of these. The circle+bloom is a meditation series, and it is very relaxing and even if it doesn't work right away, the visualization exercises are really neat to practice. I ordered the fertility yoga DVD, and did it every morning of the week (not weekends). It isn't too hard (if you have never done yoga before), and the instructors do a great job of explaining the poses' relevance to infertility.


Basically, I have continued the Vitamin D, Prenatal, and CoQ10. I stopped the Royal Jelly because there isn't an acceptance either way if it is safe during pregnancy or not. I continued the wheatgrass for as long as I could, but I just have not felt like subjecting myself to trying to swallow that concoction for several weeks.

I have added Expecta DHA prenatal supplement because my prenatal doesn't have DHA in it.

I haven't been back to acupuncture, as much as my practitioner and lots of people on the web assure me that it's safe during pregnancy as long as a few points are avoided. I have alot of confidence in its ability to move energy and adjust balances, and right now my body is balanced (enough) to support this baby, and I am nervous about altering that. I do want to return at least as I approach delivery, though, as there are points to make sure baby is in the right position and my body is preparing itself in the most whole way.

I am not doing the Yoga for Fertility anymore, but I am doing prenatal yoga 5 mornings a week:

First, I got Shiva Rae's DVD and about fell asleep during her routine. I mean, I am no yoga master, but it is soooooooooo slowwwwwwwwwww. As a former distance runner, I need some meat to my workouts, even if they are generally lower impact during pregnancy. The nice thing is that her DVD has trimester variations, but seriously, it is so boring.

Then, I ordered Element's Prenatal/Postnatal Yoga and Ann Richmond's Yoga for Pregnancy (6 workouts). These are MUCH better, and Ann Richmond's one is separated into trimesters, so for people who want the variations, this one is good (although the editing will make you chuckle- she has herself edited into random fields of blowing grass, etc.). The Element one is my favorite, though. (To be honest, I've lent my Ann Richmond out to a friend who is dealing with morning sickness, as she has a segment devoted to relieving specific symptoms!) I'm hoping that my prenatal yoga practice, along with walking the dogs 45min-1hr per day will help me stay fit during pregnancy!

If you have any questions, be sure to ask! I will try to do a followup post if there is enough interest!!


Bridget said...

It's so great that you posted this! I also did acupuncture and c+b and loved both of them. I too am scared to go back to acupuncture after getting pregnant, I'm just too nervous!

Mommy-In-Waiting said...

Thanks for all the info! Where did you find some of those things (like the wheat grass and the coq10?). I have found royal jelly but only in the capsule form so it says to take more. Did you hear as well that it takes up to 3 months to get the full effect? All the other stuff I'm pretty much doing, I think I posted it on my blog a while back. Just wish it would work, lol. I've also looked into acupuncture near me but can't seem to find a place that is "legit." Thanks again=)

Miss Mac said...

Very informative post, thanks for sharing! I will check into that brand of prenatal vitamins. Nice to hear how you took charge of your fertility... and have a success story!

myjourneythruinfertility said...

thanks for the great advice- I am going the drug free route and just trying to come up with the best holistic plan for me.

i LOVE acupuncture!

the misfit said...

You don't happen to know what your CD3 FSH levels were before and after the wheatgrass, do you? Mine recently climbed to 11, and I know I need to do something about that, but they say there's not a lot you can do. I know I don't have your stamina for eating healthy things (bowel prep for my last surgery used up all my tolerance for consuming things I will immediately vomit for the rest of my life), so would you mind sharing your source for the wheat grass pills?

Thanks :).

Coco said...

Wow, you're a trooper! Wheatgrass AND royal jelly!?! Haha. I am SO excited to get the yoga DVD. Thank you SO much for mentioning it! It's being shipped, supposed to be here Tuesday! And I would add to your list, for ANYONE with thyroid issues... definitely dessicated thyroid medication... it has CHANGED my life and I'm 100% positive it was the missing link that finally got a baby in my belly.:)

Carlia said...

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Carmela said...

I love this! I'm pretty adamant about taking natural products. I read about Royal Jelly from your blog a few months ago, and have been taking it since. I feel great and think that it will help... if it doesn't, then at least I won't have awful side-effects like those from I love acupuncture, yoga, and will soon add some wheatgrass. Thanks for sharing your advice! This is very helpful! Also, congrats on your growing baby!!! Loved your story. I was so excited when you got your BFP.

PureAlan said...

Low thyroid could become very complicated and serious if not treated properly and in time that is why I'm taking my natural thyroid from now on.