traditional chinese medicine & pregnancy

traditional chinese medicine & pregnancy
I had 8 pregnancies in 8 years – 4 full term pregnancies and 5 losses in a row (which is why I often refer to it as my “pregnancy decade”). After the 5th loss, I had at least 5 people (some strangers) within 10 days ask me if I’d consider trying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). As I’ve said before, I believe there are no coincidences so I knew it was something I had to try. I didn’t want to have regrets down the road, when conceiving would be too late, and wonder did I try my best? Should I have tried harder? Did I do everything I could have in order to have another baby? I did not want to live with any regrets. You can imagine the advice I was getting after 5 losses, to stop trying (suggestions to adopt or buy a pet). If I shut the door before pursuing other options (which also included pursuing 2 other doctors that came recommended by more than one person – a highly recommended and well-known IVF doctor, Dr Laskin, and a doctor at Mt Sinai’s multiple loss clinic  – both of which I did not pursue after the initial meetings), I felt I would feel defeated and could carry that heavy sadness indefinitely. Western medicine tests done on me showed nothing (which only empowered me further) nor did autopsies show anything for my full term baby boy and 2nd trimester baby girl. The Doctors were at a loss. (We also tried Fragmin injections for a short period out of desperation, and I met with a NaPro doctor and tried HCG shots which I believe helped – more on this in another post). So as much as my #1 goal was to have one more baby, I was also concerned about my quality of life down the road. Because I knew if I tried everything – baby or not – then I knew I would be ok. Everything would be ok. Life has a plan for us all, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy and you just follow along. It’s important to keep an open heart and open mind and pay attention to the little messages along the way. And to me, that many people in such a short time, right after my last loss, was a big, loud message. 10-4. I was on it.
So as much as my #1 goal was to have one more baby,
I was also concerned about my quality of life down the road.
Because I knew if I tried everything – baby or not – then I knew
I would be ok. Everything would be ok.
A neighbour that had suffered 3 pregnancy losses, refered me to David Bray, a TCM doctor in Toronto that specialises in female fertility and gynecology. She was told her ‘life energy’ was too low to sustain a pregnancy and was treated for 3 months. She was then given the go ahead to get pregnant (and successfully did). The number of full-body-goosebump success stories I have heard in his office is enough to make anyone a believer. 
I started seeing Dr Bray in Sept, 2010 and my baby was born in Nov, 2011. He told me my kidney, liver and spleen were deficient. He first treated my spleen (which is needed for absorption of nutrients) and then the kidney and liver, all with acupuncture and herbs. He was very confident that his treatment was going to work though wouldn’t promise me anything. I recall asking him about the IVF doc I was going to see and he replied, ‘I don’t fault his theory – your problem could be egg related, but I’m going to work at that as well by working with your organs’. How could I not want to try TCM, which is covered by my health plan, vs spending thousands of dollars the way Dr Laskin would work with me (not to mention the stress I’ve heard it can bring)? I did not have to go too often for the TCM treatments – depending where I was in my pregnancy, every 2-4 weeks (I’ve heard stories of people seeing other TCM doctors weekly or more than once in a week regularly!?). After 3 months I was given the go ahead to get pregnant. 
It is really, really important to not assume that once you are pregnant you are in the clear. Along side of the success stories I’ve also heard enough stories about pregnant women stopping their TCM treatment only to find their pregnancy also stops. Dr Bray says his goal is to not get women pregnant but to maintain the pregnancy. I remember thinking, ‘Hello! You’re my guy!’ because I was getting pregnant very easily just not maintaining the pregnancies.
If you are having problems conceiving or keeping your pregnancies, I highly recommend trying TCM before going to expensive and stressful fertility treatments (IVF) or giving up.
Traditional Chinese medicine dates back over 2,500 years and includes herbal medicine and acupuncture to treat or prevent health problems and also to promote good health and vitality. Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific acupuncture points along energy channels, called meridians, supporting a balanced energy flow (Qi) through the body which is essential to good health. Disruption of this flow is believed to be responsible for disease and other health issues. 
I still see Dr Bray once a season as part of my health maintenance regime; not for pregnancy, but to promote and normalize nourishing blood flow and balance, while also detecting and correcting any deficiencies in the body. TCM also treats allergies, asthma, illness, nausea, disease, pain relief, arthritis and is great for balancing your system during menopause years – rendering some women symptom free – a healthy alternative to medication. Just be sure you find a highly qualified practitioner, and one that doesn’t require unnecessary, frequent visits.
Believe in yourself and the power and importance of the energy flow that resides in every one of us and its effect on our health. Putting in a little effort and getting to the root of the problem is always the best way to a healthy body and to find answers. I know TCM played a large role in bringing our 4th born little gem to us, safe and sound. I highly recommend TCM to anyone who is even thinking about pregnancy.
A little faith, a little trust… and of course, a sprinkling of pixie dust. I wish you all the best. cropped-mw_text_xo_fav.jpg
 To contact Dr David Bray in downtown Toronto call 416.963.8197