Pregnancy

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It is an example of the elegant symbiosis between mother and child: at birth a mother provides her child with the building blocks of his or her lifelong inner ecology, now referred to as our microbiome. 

Nature has created all the steps necessary for this to happen in succession from the first trimester to a vaginal birth and then continuing through breastfeeding. Parallel advancing studies in the microbiome as a whole and its genesis at birth are leading to what may be the most beneficial knowledge of human health.

What is the Microbiome?

A microbiome is the totality of microbes, their genetic elements (genomes), and environmental interactions in a particular environment.

Predominantly, these microbes are found in the gut and are what help us digest and assimilate food. Some microbes have evolved to fight undesirable bacteria and some undesirable bacteria has evolved to proliferate when beneficial bacteria is low. In this way, they are in constant communication with our immune system and are the root of allergic and auto-immune responses. If you have a complex microbiome, you are well set to assimilate nutrients and fend off bad bacteria.

A Gift From Mother to Child

Studies have shown that the microbiome of a pregnant woman is different from other women. During the first trimester of pregnancy, there is a dramatic shift and the bacteria Lactobacillus, normally found in the gut, begins to increase in the vaginal tract. Lactobacillus is needed to digest milk. During birth, the lactobacillus coats the baby and the baby ingests some of it. These microbes then begin to colonize in the infant’s digestive tract, helping him or her to digest milk. In studies, C-section babies were colonizing strains of the more harmful bacteria found on our skin and in hospitals, Staphylococcus and Acinetobacter. Interestingly, in one study, the C-section babies were developing a general composition of bacteria found on the skin of all of the delivering mothers, whereas the vaginally delivered babies bacteria was like a fingerprint of the mother’s system.

The foundation of the microbiome continues to build via breastfeeding. Six hundred strains of bacteria have been found in breast milk along with sugars called oligosaccharides that babies cannot digest but which feed the beneficial bacteria, ensuring a strong and useful microbiome. “As the child grows and the microbiome becomes more ecologically complex, it also tutors the immune system.”

What Does This Mean for Pregnant Women?

Pregnant women need to be informed about the importance and many benefits of vaginal birth and breastfeeding. Of course, C-sections are an important life saving option in an emergency. The wonderful thing about this new branch of research is that in cases of C-section delivery or inability to breastfeed, we are gaining the knowledge needed to provide another chance to build a baby’s ecosystem if there is a re-route from the way nature intended this process.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Has Long Known a Child’s Health Begins In the Gut and With the Parents

TCM doctors are adept at diagnosing imbalances rooted in the gut and digestion, which is the most common root problem in children. If your child has digestive or other constitutional issues, or was born via C-section and you want to make sure he or she has the strongest beginning possible, a TCM practitioner can help. If you have questions, please feel free to call. We offer a free ten minute consultation so you will have time to ask your questions.

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/science/studies-of-human-microbiome-yield-new-insights.html?pagewanted=2&_r=4&src=recg

http://www.drmomma.org/2010/06/babys-beneficial-bacteria-depend-on.html

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder affecting as many as 1 out of 15 women.

PCOS is caused when hormone production grows out of balance, typically with the ovaries producing more androgen hormone than is needed. Researchers also believe there is a link with insulin resistance. Many women with PCOS have elevated levels of insulin in their bodies and excess insulin appears to increase production of androgen.

PCOS may cause women to stop ovulating, have irregular periods, or grow small cysts on the ovaries. Many women aren’t diagnosed until they have trouble becoming pregnant. Fortunately, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long history of treating PCOS. It was first written about in The Complete Book of Effective Prescriptions for Diseases of Women. Published in 1237 A.D., it was the first book devoted solely to gynecology and obstetrics in Chinese Medicine.

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views PCOS as stagnation in the body.

When there is stagnation in the body it impedes the flow of energy and blood. In the case of PCOS, the stagnation is related to the lower part of the body. TCM employs acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to address the stagnation and hormone imbalance and thus help regulate menstrual cycles and promote ovulation. Chinese medicine is unique in that it considers the entire landscape of the body and treats imbalance and disease at the root of the problem. As such, patients benefit from an improvement in their overall health as a result of treatment.

 

Hearing from someone who has gone through the ups and downs of fertility treatment can sometimes provide the greatest comfort and help.

We thank Adriana for sharing her story of overcoming the diagnosis of PCOS and infertility. We hope it gives you hope and empowers you in your quest for treatment.

I always had irregular periods and was diagnosed with PCOS in my mid-twenties.  I was aware that besides the amenorrhea and being overweight (in my case) there was also the chance of infertility. When my husband and I were ready for kids I went off contraception (the ring) and had a huge disruption in my periods.

My doctor put me on progesterone and she mentioned that I probably wasn’t ovulating so she referred me to a fertility specialist. All my blood work and tests were fine, so after the fertility doctor talked about drugs, shots, artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization, I was overwhelmed.  I asked to start with the least invasive method since everything seemed to be fine and started taking metformin.

Talking to a friend, she mentioned acupuncture and recommended The Nest. I called to set up an appointment and started my treatment in July 2011. The acupuncturist (Jennifer) said I had a lot of stagnation in that area and I was happily surprised that it only took a couple of months for me to start getting a regular period; and even happier when I tried an ovulation predictor kit in November and had a positive result.  I could ovulate.

I got pregnant in December and sadly lost that pregnancy around 4 weeks later. I continued with the treatment and without tracking my ovulation -since I was supposed to wait a month to try again- I got pregnant right away! Today I am on my eighth week and very glad I came to the Nest. I am grateful for their work and for giving me a natural option to achieve conception. I am still in treatment and feel great; I believe the benefits show in my overall health.

-Adriana

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Exciting News!

A new study published by The University of Adelaide in South Australia found that “Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4 month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF.

The university analyzed research studying 1,851 women with infertility. They compared women that received Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with those that received Western drug therapy alone. Those that received TCM showed a pregnancy rate of 60% within a four-month period compared with the 30% undergoing IVF.

The authors of the study noted that, “Assessment of the quality of the menstrual cycle, integral to TCM diagnosis, appears to be fundamental to successful treatment of female infertility.”

Acupuncture, herbal medicine, and other modalities can restore balance and harmonize the whole body, allowing women to conceive naturally without costly or invasive treatments. If women are undergoing IVF, Chinese medicine can support and strengthen the body and alleviate stress, augmenting any therapeutic process.

Check out these articles for more information:

http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/health/traditional-chinese-medicine-more-than-doubles-fertility-rates-western-meds-not-so-much/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2066254/Chinese-medicine-double-chances-childless-couples-conceiving.html

You can find the study abstract here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22036524

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