Infertility & Alcohol Intake

I’ve had a few questions this week from men and women asking about when it’s ok to  drink while you’re trying to get pregnant. And how much can you drink?

So here’s some facts for us to consider when thinking about guidelines around infertility and drinking alcohol:

Male Infertility & Alcohol 

  • Alcohol is linked with testicular atrophy, decreased libido and decreased sperm count
  • Alcohol decreases semen volume, poor sperm morphology and motility
  • More alcohol in his system means more oxidative damage to his sperm
  • 10 or more drinks a week is associated with 2-5 times more miscarriages

Female Infertility & Alcohol

  • Women who get hangovers are more likely to be infertile than women who don’t
  • The amount that women can drink in a week isn’t clear
  • One drink a week to 5 units a day can have various effects including increasing the time to pregnancy, decreasing probability of conception rate by over 50% and decreasing implantation rate, increasing both the risk of spontaneous abortion and of fetal death and causing anovulation, luteal phase dysfunction and abnormal blastocyst development
  • 10+ drinks a week associated with 2-3 times greater risk of miscarriage
  • Alcohol consumption in the week prior to conception is associated with an increased rate of miscarriage
  • There is no amount of alcohol that’s considered safe during pregnancy

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is characterized by physical defects, brain and central nervous system problems, & social and behavioural issues

Alcohol:

  • Enters your bloodstream and reaches your developing fetus by crossing the placenta
  • Causes higher blood alcohol concentrations in your developing baby than in your body because a fetus metabolizes alcohol slower than an adult does
  • Interferes with the delivery of oxygen and optimal nutrition to your baby’s developing tissues and organs, including the brain

After conception – when does Implantation happen?

Implantation occurs from 6-12 days after ovulation. Some sources say the most likely day is Day 9.

So when can a woman actually “safely” drink while she’s trying?

  1. Theoretically you could drink from start of period to 6 days after ovulation. So that still gives you about 3 weeks a month you could drink
  2. Definitely stick to less than 10 drinks a week. A glass of wine some nights might help to calm nerves and get you “in the mood.
  3. He should stick to less than 10 drinks a week as well.
  4. Ask him to cut back around time of ovulation so his sperm swims straight
  5. If both of you can cut back without impacting your mental health, then that’s good. But remember, our motto is “have a baby without the crazy.” And if you’re on this journey a long time, that’s a long time to go without alcohol if that’s part of your social life. I get it.

Dr. Whitney Young, Naturopathic Doctor – Fertility Doc at Rooted

Book your Free Fertility Assessment with me to discuss your fertility and get your questions answered.

Links:

Mayo Clinic – Fetal Alchohol Syndrome

 

 

 

Infertility – You Hate Moms Like I Hate Dads

Infertility

Ok, hate is a strong word. But that’s how we feel in the moment.

When all you want to do is see a positive pregnancy test and have your own pregnant belly, seeing other women get pregnant so easily infuriates you.

  • Your co-worker keeps talking about her new pregnancy – you hate her
  • Your sister-in-law “accidentally” gets pregnant – you hate her
  • That young woman walks down the street with a big pregnant belly – you hate her

I get it. My anger is different but similar in a lot of ways.

After my husband died suddenly of a heart attack in September 2015 I couldn’t stand to be around dads.

  • The smiling dad in a family photo on Facebook – I hated him
  • The dad pushing his daughter on the swing at the park – I hated him
  • The dad picking his kids up from daycare – I hated him

But did I really hate him? Was his happiness or his existence really about me and my pain? No. I can’t begrudge other dads for simply being dads and being there. It’s just a reminder of what I don’t have, what my girls don’t have and what Steve’s missing.

Is it ok to miss him? Yes. Is it ok for you to be sad for not having your own baby yet? Yes. It’s ok, your feelings are completely normal. But projecting hate onto others can keep us stuck and unhappy.

So here’s what we can do:

  1. Stop

There are 2 ways you can do this Stop Step.

Firstly you can use the thought-stopping technique – literally say stop in your head. To stop the thought from occurring, then skip to the “Reframe” step below.

Second, try stopping the activity. I had to go off of Facebook for awhile because it was upsetting me to see different photos. I hear this a lot from my fertility patients – that all they see on Facebook is that someone else is pregnant or just had their new baby. You can go off of social media completely for awhile or limit your exposure by not going to your News Feed but instead go to Notifications and only look at what you want to look at.

  1. Reframe

Who is it you’re really angry at? What do you really want to happen? Do you want that particular baby? Do I want that guy to be the dad to my kids? No, I don’t. Likely you want your own baby and are angry it’s not happening for you yet.

So just reframing what you’re really mad about and then using a coping strategy to move out of that moment.

  1. Change

Make some sort of action step, change something up.

I was really nervous about having my daughter’s birthday party after Steve died and having the other dads there. One of my friends asked, why didn’t I just have the kids and moms – a no dads birthday party. The thought hadn’t occurred to me.

If there is an event, a situation, that isn’t working for you, can you think of a creative way of changing it?

For example, could you have an honest conversation with your co-worker about how happy you are for her but that it’s too hard for you to talk about her pregnancy all the time?

If this step is hard, try talking to your partner, counsellor, or naturopath about other ways to take action to dial down the hate.

So, do I really hate all those dads?

No, but I acknowledge my feelings then try to move forward. Life is tough but my hatred doesn’t make it any easier. I love the dads in my life and my girls need other men around them.

I hope you can find some sort of peace with what’s happening in your life. If that sounds like a tall order, I get it. But just move step by step, moment to moment. You’ve got this.

Whitney

Chickpeas and Fertility

A patient came in recently with recommendations from another doctor. These recommendations included avoidance of chickpeas. This was a surprise to me as I believed legumes in general to be supportive of fertility.

chickpeas

So off I went to do my research. Long and behold I found a study concluding that chickpeas were in fact estrogenic.

If I had stopped there, I would believe that this estrogenic activity could have a negative impact for our fertility patients. Or even recommend them for patients with a thin lining.

But I didn’t stop there. I read the entire research paper.

It said that when rats were fed 50-100mg of the isoflavones extracted from chickpea sprouts, significant estrogenic effects were observed.

A 540ml can of chickpeas is about 410g. In 100g of chickpeas, you’ll get about 10mg of isoflavones. So a can of chickpeas has about 40mg of isoflavones.

Take home message? An entire can of chickpeas does not have a dose high enough to create these effects.

The average Canadian women is 70kg. She would need to consume 3500mg of these isoflavones to have these estrogenic effects and she would have to consume it daily for at least a month. That would be 87 cans of chickpeas.

By all means ladies, continue to enjoy your chickpeas! And remember, just because they cite a research paper, doesn’t mean that it’s sound advice. Check into things for yourself.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND & Dr. Whitney Young ND

Exercise and Fertility

 

smashed scale

Overweight and obese women are often told to lose weight in order to improve their fertility. They are told to eat less and exercise more with the focus on losing 10% of their body weight.

They leave doctor’s offices feeling ashamed, frustrated and angry. Do these doctor’s believe that they’ve never tried that before?

We want to let these women know that they can stop focusing on the weight loss part and just focus on the exercise part.

A study published in Reprod Biomed Online, July 2014 found that obese women who exercised regularly before IVF and ICSI had not only higher pregnancy rates but also higher live birth rates.

What’s key here is that it wasn’t that these women exercised and lost weight, because they didn’t. They had a stable BMI – their weight didn’t change!!

This is so empowering for these women – they can stop weighing themselves and just move their bodies. If they move, they are successful. Nice.

Please share this with anyone you know who needs to hear this. Give these women hope and action.

Yours in health,

Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND & Dr. Whitney Young ND

 

 

Breech Babies Turn 30% More With Our Therapy

baby bump

Dr. Whitney’s 1st baby bump back in Sept 2013

At our clinic we often use the Traditional Chinese Medicine Technique known as moxibustion to help turn babies from breech into the proper birth position. Now, there is scientific evidence proving its effectiveness published in 2013 “Acupuncture and Medicine” journal. 3 arms of the study were compared:

  1. True moxibustion plus regular prenatal care was compared with
  2. Sham moxibustion (done on an ineffective point)and regular prenatal care and also compared with
  3. Regular prenatal care

This study found that the moxibustion performed helped turn the baby 30% more often. This is great evidence supporting our therapy we have been using since day 1.

If you are pregnant and between 32-35 weeks gestation, consider coming to the clinic for our acupuncture intake session with your partner. Here is the protocol you will follow:

  • Call or email us to book a special Acupuncture Intake appointment
  • Come with your partner or a friend who will learn the technique
  • During your appointment get a moxibustion treatment and instructions
  • Leave with instructions and supplies to perform at home daily 20 minutes a day for the next 2 weeks

After you have your beautiful baby, come on back in for a well baby check and let us help you with the numerous questions you will have.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Whitney Young ND & Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND

Meditation improves women’s fertility struggles

meditating mama

We see our fertility patients struggling with depression, anxiety, anger towards their bodies, and hopelessness. As part of our ‘Fertility Tranquility’ program at Rooted, we teach our patients the importance of taking pause to calm the mind.

Research published in Fertility and Sterility supports our efforts.  They concluded that women who completed a 10-week mindfulness program “revealed a significant decrease in depressive symptoms, internal and external shame, entrapment, and defeat”. How can you begin your mindfulness program?

  • Start with just ten minutes per day. Set a timer.
  • Sit so that your back is straight.
  • Pay attention to your breath. Don’t try to change it, just notice what it’s doing.
  • You could also download an app such as Insight Timer or go to calm.com to use Guided Meditations.

Fertility is a journey filled with unexpected moments. Give yourself a tool to handle the waves without drowning.

Want to know more about our program? Book yourself a Free Fertility Assessment today.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Whitney Young ND & Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND