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A Holistic RX for Giuliana & Bill
a blog by Beth and Tami of Pulling Down the Moon
I’ve never before watched the Giuliana & Bill reality TV show, but the title of last week’s episode caught my eye as I was scrolling through the cable guide: “Operation Ovulation.” Could they possibly be talking about ovulation as in “having a baby” or was this some sort of new real estate term Bill learned as Donald Trump’s apprentice? I just had to watch to find out.
Indeed, it appears as though the happy couple have decided it is time to start a family. Giuliana lives in Los Angeles and Bill in Chicago but they try to see each other at least a few days each week. Knowing what it takes for gals to get pregnant, I started to wonder exactly how this immaculate conception might take place. Luckily, Giuliana is being treated by Dr. Elias Sabbagha, a well-known and respected doc in Chicago who just so happens to be my doctor as well. I was glued.
Dr. Sabbagha took good care of me on my own fertility journey with five or six rounds of clomid, a nice mixture of trigger shots, and an IUI for good luck. After my miscarriage we both agreed it was time for the big guns and I was sent off to a fertility doc. Happily, I returned to Dr. Sabbagha for the birth of my twins not too long thereafter.
While watching the show, Bill made a few light-hearted jokes about his wife’s “old eggs.” I learned she is 36 and, while certainly not old, it is a fact that her chances of remaining childless double from 15% to 30% after the age of 34. Bill also revealed that Dr. Sabbagha secretly pulled him aside and suggested Giuliana gain a few pounds to enhance her fertility.
It was also mentioned that Bill’s “swimmers” could be a bit more plentiful in number which he seemed to take in stride. You gotta love a man that isn’t ego-attached to his sperm count.
This got me thinking. I don’t know exactly how Bill and Giuliana will resolve their fertility issues, perhaps they’ll take a break, do more medical tests, move onto ART or come up with Plan B, but I wondered if they ever considered doing holistic treatments at this crossroad in their journey.
They seem to be the perfect candidates. While Giuliana did pull out a Yoga for Fertility DVD in one of the shows, she didn’t seem to be too committed to the practice. She laughed with her assistant that she wasn’t sure how this would help her reproductive organs nor “open the canal” as the instructor discussed in the video.
So, I decided to write a virtual holistic prescription for the little love birds just for fun and thought some of you FertilityAuthority readers might also benefit if you can relate to any aspect of Giuliana and Bill’s story.
- • Step 1: Fertility Nutrition
Studies show that being both underweight and overweight can affect hormone levels in the body and have a corresponding effect on ovulation. While Giuiliana may have periods every month, she might not be ovulating. A good fertility nutritionist will review her diet, come up with good eating strategies, suggest fertility friendly foods and work together toward achieving an optimal weight for fertility.
Studies also show that certain conditions like Celiac, inflammation and dietary allergens could also affect fertility. Again, a fertility nutritionist might recommend something like the ART Prep and Recovery Program which evaluates all of these issues to insure the patient’s diet is not contributing to her infertility issues. Together with her nutritionist Giuliana could explore things like a gentle fertility cleanse or temporarily eliminating certain foods from her diet.
• Step 2: Fertility Acupuncture
Acupuncture increases uterine and ovarian blood flow, potentially improving the endometrial environment. Acupuncture treatment done pre/post IVF embryo transfer has also been shown to increase pregnancy success rates and may help increase sperm count in males. This is something Giuliana and Bill could do together since there are benefits for both men and women.
• Step 3: Yoga for Fertility
Now about that Yoga for Fertility DVD . . . Bill and Giuliana seem to live very busy lives and I’m betting it can be a bit stressful . While not all doctors believe that stress causes infertility, infertility does cause stress and more clinical data points to the fact that stressed or depressed women have lower IVF success rates. In addition to reducing stress, Yoga for Fertility induces the relaxation response, opens up tight musculature around the pelvic area and increases blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to take yoga is to enter into community with other women who are experiencing a similar struggle. Sometimes the very idea of feeling supported and not-alone can be healing. Even though a yoga DVD is a great start, it's not a substitution for a bona-fide yoga for fertility class whenever possible.
• Step 4: Massage for Fertility
Everyone loves a stress reducing massage but not everyone may know that massage can be used therapeutically to enhance fertility. Through this process of self-discovery you can begin to release tensions, emotions and stresses that were previously unconscious. Practical benefits of massage therapy may include detoxification of body tissues, decreased stress response, improvements in sleep and digestion and increased over-all well-being.
• Step 5: Commit
There’s no research to back this next statement but, in my (and Beth's)experience, it seems woman struggling with infertility fare far better when they mentally and physically commit to having a baby. The mystics would say, energy follows intention, and we often see women in our practice who say they want a baby but unconsciously they are conflicted by marital issues, financial stressors incurred through the process, or even a successful career.
For those of us who are not Fertile Myrtles, the act of getting pregnant can be hard work and while gaining 10 pounds, giving up caffeine and alcohol , slowing down our pace, de-stressing or going to bed early may seem trivial, it all makes a world of difference when you commit to the process both mentally and physically.
The beautiful thing about holistic medicine is that it does no harm and can help in so many ways!
Even if Giuliana has structural issues such as blocked fallopian tubes, holistic therapies can be used to reduce anxiety if surgery is required or support her should she experience pain, discomfort or side-effects from her medication or treatments.
So, for all of you who can relate to Giuliana and Bill’s story or are at a crossroad in your fertility treatment, we encourage you to find your own holistic prescription early in the process. We wish Giuliana and Bill much luck on their journey and will extend an open invitation for them to stop by Pulling Down the Moon on their next jaunt through Chicago. In the meantime, perhaps our paths will cross in Dr. Sabbagha’s office.
Be peaceful, be positive, investigate your holistic Rx,