Pregnancy During Perimenopause –
Can you get pregnant during perimenopause?
Recent research from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Gynecologic Practice and Practice Committee demonstrates that a woman’s fertility starts to decline around the age of 32 and continues to decrease rapidly after the age of 37.
Whilst it may not be as easy to have a baby whilst peri menopausal, with a bit of support and care it is certainly possible! Treatments such as Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) optimise a woman’s chance of getting pregnant whilst perimenopausal. Let’s take a look at how Chinese medicine can help you get pregnant during perimenopause.
Perimenopausal, Age and TCM
Duration of Perimenopause
The duration of perimenopause can vary widely from woman to woman: Some may go through it quickly, while others take several years. The average length is five years, although some women have reported going through peri-menopause for as long as ten years! This transition period is a time when your body is undergoing many changes and adjusting to new hormone levels. It’s not uncommon for symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, irritability and mood swings to get worse before they start getting better.
During the perimenopausal phase your body starts to transition towards menopause. Levels of oestrogen and other hormones produced by your ovaries start to diminish and over time you may start to experience symptoms such as:
- Hot flashes and sleep problems.
- Less regular and more erratic periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Changes in sexual function
- Changing cholesterol levels
TCM interprets these symptoms as Kidney Deficiency, a syndrome that we will now explore.
According to TCM a woman’s reproductive life is divided into 7 cycles that each last 7 years. She enters her fertile years around the time of her second cycle (age 14) and this lasts until her 7th cycle – the age of 49 when her body naturally ages and the function of her organs start to diminish – particularly the Kidney. When the Kidney is not able to function properly it leads to a condition known as Kidney Yin Deficiency. Symptoms of this will be familiar to women in the peri menopausal stage of life as they include hair loss, sweating, anxiety and mood swings.
What causes Kidney Yin Deficiency?
There are several causes of Kidney Yin Deficiency which include age, overworking and lifestyle factors. In today’s modern world a woman will often work long hours in a stressful environment. Over time her Kidneys become depleted and are unable to function well. From a TCM perspective, Kidney function is damaged by not eating enough good quality and nourishing food, getting insufficient rest and not taking enough – or doing too much – exercise. When your Kidneys are overworked as a result of these factors it is difficult to remain healthy let alone become pregnant! In addition your Kidney function may have been affected by past drug abuse, excessive sexual activity or having had previous pregnancies, even if these pregnancies did not progress.
How can you get pregnant during perimenopause?
Luckily TCM provides an effective natural solution to tackling peri menopausal symptoms and also increasing your fertility during perimenopause. According to a study that was recently published in the prestigious British Medical Journal Open, women who experienced excess sweating, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and skin and hair problems experienced significant reductions in these symptoms after having acupuncture treatment. These findings prompted the researchers to conclude that acupuncture offers “a realistic treatment option for women”. Another large scale review in the journal Medicine found that the pregnancy rate in women who had acupuncture treatment was significantly higher when compared to those that did not receive this treatment.
There are several acupuncture points that can be used to help boost the function of the Kidneys, which in turn will boost Kidney Yin and promote fertility during perimenopause. One set of points, known as Kidney Correspondence are particularly potent. These points are located on your back, about an inch away from your spine, around the level of your waist. A combination of moxibustion and acupuncture treatment to these points are very effective at giving your Kidney Yin that vital boost!
In addition, to encourage the free flow of Blood and energy – Qi – to your reproductive organs it would be helpful to stimulate points on your feet and legs that correspond to your Liver meridian which runs from your big toe, up your legs and past your abdomen – if you want to boost blood flow to your ovaries (which we most certainly do!), it is essential that we treat your Liver meridian!
Can Chinese Medicine help for IVF during perimenopause?
By using IVF, women during perimenopause can have a higher rate of a successful pregnancy, however, they often have to use donor eggs. As we have stated before, as the ability of a woman’s body to support a baby declines, so does the quality of the egg. But if I can still use my own eggs for IVF during perimenopause. The answer is also yes. Acupuncture is a natural way to improve blood flow and bring nutrients to the reproductive organs. It helps restore the energy balance of the body holistically and also works by unblocking the energy channels of the uterus, which will finally lead to an improvement in egg quality. Along with acupuncture, other TCM treatments, supplements, and herbal tea are also helpful for supporting egg maturation during perimenopause, check more information in this blog.
How can I naturally promote my fertility during perimenopause?
Eating a nutrient-dense, whole food diet is a must so you should aim to increase the amount of fresh leafy vegetables, fruit and whole grains in your diet. In order to promote a healthy Liver function it is helpful to eliminate over processed foods as much as possible.
Hydration. So many of us are dehydrated and don’t even know it! Try to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water every day. This will help to flush out your Kidneys and will enable them to work at their best. It will also help you to flush out any toxins from our body.
Make time to rest. We understand that it is difficult to carve out time when you work in a busy environment. If cutting back on your working hours is not an option, make time to recharge your batteries, to rest and to relax. Listen to a meditation, have a long soak in the bath and allow yourself the opportunity to be still. Your Kidney Yin will thank you for it.
Entering the perimenopause stage of your life does not mean that you need to bid farewell to your dreams of becoming a mother for the first time or of adding to your family one last time. It does however require a little more of a helping hand to make your dream become a reality. Don’t give up! TCM treatment is a viable and evidence based option for promoting your fertility at this very important time. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, consider seeing a fertility specialist to discuss your options.
For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you to get pregnant during perimenopause, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.