The 5th Vital Sign Book

Your Menstrual Cycle is Your Fifth Vital Sign- Use It Well

Hi Friends!

July 19- July 25, 2020 is Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, and I wanted to take this time to share some benefits about NFP that you may not be aware of… because honestly, I wasn’t until I became informed.

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NFP may also be called the Fertility Awareness Method. There are a few different methods and practices, so be sure to look around for the best method that resonates with you.

As a licensed acupuncturist, I’m very aware of the signs and symptoms our bodies present us with to help us know how things are going. However, I also know, we are too often too busy, or unaware, or simply don’t know what our bodies are trying to tell us.

This is ok and totally not your fault! It’s just the way things go.

But I want to challenge this status quo.

I want to empower women to take control of their health and wellbeing.

I want to get to the root cause of issues, symptoms, conditions, and diseases.

And what if I told you NFP/ Fertility Awareness Method was the perfect way to start this… I know, I know… NFP is just for those super religious people who don’t want to use other forms of birth control.

Wrong.

NFP and the Fertility Awareness Method and learning how to accurately chart your cycle, with a trained fertility specialist, will educate you on YOUR body. It will help show your patterns as well as possible conditions you may be experiencing, treatments needed, and a great base for your overall health and wellness- both menstrual related and in general.

NFP and the Fertility Awareness Method are wonderful if you’re looking to use it as a form of birth control or if you are wanting to conceive.

NFP and the Fertility Awareness Method are hormone free- meaning you’re not having to use any synthetic hormones to ensure no pregnancy, if that is your goal.

Our menstrual cycle is OUR FIFTH VITAL SIGN. There’s so much that can be shared with us, if only we look at and track our cycle. This book has all sorts of amazing information about why our menstrual cycle is our fifth vital sign, a great start to how to track, and other super empowering information that sadly, we don’t learn about in health class.

The 5th Vital Sign Book

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

The more I learn, the more I truly am saddened by the information available to us at our fingertips, but we have no way of knowing that this is actually information, and what’s more, possibly our own answers to symptoms we may be experiencing.

Just a few things to think about, specifically relating to your cycle (pertaining to Traditional Chinese Medicine & Natural Family Planning & the Fertility Awareness Method):

  • the length of your period
  • the quality of your period (color, amount, clots)
  • the symptoms you experience before, during, and after
  • the amount and quality of your cervical mucus
  • the length of your luteal phase (post ovulation to the start of your next period)
  • the color and amount of any spotting- before or after your cycle, mid- cycle, or random
  • your basal body temperature is very insightful and can help detect if your thyroid needs some support and love

If you’re interested in NFP or the Fertility Awareness Method, listening to Lisa’s podcast, Fertility Friday, would be a wonderful place to start. She could actually be your coach to get you on your way, or you could check out the good ol’ internet to find a practitioner near you.

Learning about your body is always a good idea and I just love all the knowledge one may gain by paying attention to the subtle, but sometimes obvious, clues our bodies may be telling us.

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily

 

"Nothing in nature blooms all year, don't expect yourself to either" quote

Fertility Suggestions from an Acupuncturist

Hi friend!

This week is Infertility Awareness Week. Being a licensed acupuncturist, there’s so many things I want to tell my patients coming in for fertility treatments. But mostly, I just want to give them all a big hug.

There are so many things that can play into fertility health for a couple.

Acupuncture needles on blue dish

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

ACUPUNCTURE & HERBS

I’m an acupuncturist so of course I really value what acupuncture and herbs can do for the mind, body, and spirit.

It’s recommended to commit to regular acupuncture treatments (4-8 times/ month) for three full months. The benefits of acupuncture and herbs will do more than just increase fertility. Both partners are encouraged to receive acupuncture and herbal supplement for optimal results.

While we are working to regulate the female’s cycle during those first three months, it’s also recommended to abstain from trying to conceive (TTC). This allows us to treat you more effectively at all stages of your cycle.

TRACKING OVULATION

If possible, it’s also quite helpful if you’re able to chart your Basal Body Temperature (BBT). This helps us see your patterns according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and treat accordingly. You can purchase a BBT thermometer at most drug stores and online. Instructions should come with. But I also really appreciate Lisa’s podcast, Fertility Friday. It’s a podcast about all things fertility and women’s health. She has multiple episodes going into all the detail with BBT. Fertility Friday is really about empowering women to know their bodies and the signs our magnificent bodies give us! Lisa also wrote the book, The Fifth Vital Sign, which is hands down, the best book for women’s health!

An ovulation test I recommend is Fertile Focus. It’s a mini microscope that’s the size of a small lip stick that can show you when you’re about to ovulate. It’s 98% effective, about $30 on amazon, and can be reused indefinitely. And… it’s inconspicuous, so if you’re traveling, it’s very discreet.

Keep in mind, while some people want to change up and incorporate everything all at once, most people may do better with one change at a time. Find what works for you and your spouse. Some couples may need to improve only one area of their life, while other couples may need to improve all areas. And some of those couples who improve ALL THE AREAS may still need additional testing, medications, surgeries, and treatments.

The 5th Vital Sign Book

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

GREAT LIFESTYLE IMPROVEMENTS TO INCORPORATE AT ANY TIME:

  • Increase veggies, healthy fats, clean protein.
  • Drink your bodyweight in ounces of water daily.
  • Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
  • Eliminate any other foods that seem to be a trigger for you.
    • Common culprits: gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, sugar
  • Move regularly: walking, yoga, qi gong, tai chi.
    • Intense workouts are not the best (unless you’ve been doing these regularly for a good amount of time, but if you’re struggling to conceive, incorporating more gentle workouts may be very beneficial).
    • Do not add in any new intense workouts or workout schedules.
    • Walk 20-30 minutes 4-7 days a week
  • Keep your feet warm.
    • Meridians in your feet circulate directly to your reproductive organs.
    • Cold feet means poor circulation to your reproductive organs.
  • Add in breathing exercises.
    • There are so many types of breathing exercises, search for one that fits you!
    • Or just breath in for 4 counts, hold 4 counts, breath out 4 counts.
    • Make sure your belly goes out with inhalation, and belly goes in with exhalation.
    • Repeat breathing exercises for at least a couple minutes a couple times a day. It will get easier to remember 🙂
  • Prioritize your amount and quality of sleep.
    • Sleep helps your body rebuild, repair, detoxify, and regulate hormones.
  • Journal about your dreams.
    • This may help you realize and unblock limited thoughts and beliefs that manifest in your dreams. The act of writing things down is very revealing and healing.
  • Journal about anything and everything.
    • Walking the fertility journey is no joke and it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s hard, with lots of ups and downs, twists and turns. Journaling can help reveal things and help heal yourself by “getting it out.”
    • Journaling to your intuition is a great way to help trust your instincts and intuition while walking this journey. There’s so many options presented when you start the fertility journey, it can be overwhelming. But I’m a big believer that you know your own answer. It may just be very deep, down.
      • Get out a blank peace of paper.
      • Take a few deep, belly breaths and try to relax your mind.
      • Just write whatever comes to you.
      • Write your question.
      • Wait in silence until you feel an answer coming to you.
      • Record the answer you hear regardless of it’s answer.
      • Continue as long as you have questions.
      • It may take a little while to ‘get in the flow’ or you may even feel silly trying to do this, that’s ok! The more you do it, the smoother it should become.
  • Confide in kindred spirits.
    • Some couples may wish to keep their journey to themselves, while others are very open right away. Talk to your spouse about how you wish to handle these conversations.
    • Finding loved ones to share this journey can be very healing. But know, since we’re all human and on our own journey, they may not say or act how you need them to. So be honest with them and tell them if you need someone to confide in and listen, or if you want to know their opinion, or you only want positive thoughts and prayers.
  • Prioritize you mindset.
    • The power of thought is amazing.
    • What you think about impacts your life.
    • Detox your thoughts. When you find yourself thinking all the thoughts ask, especially if they’re tending toward the negative side, stop that thought and reverse it.
      • “What if this doesn’t work” turns into —> “What if this DOES work!?”

WHILE MENSTRUATING:

  • Refrain from sweating and excess physical work.
    • There’s a saying in Traditional Chinese Medicine about when you’re bleeding, you shouldn’t be sweating. Blood and sweat are fluids of the body, and within fluids is Yin. If you deplete yourself too much during your menses due to the bleeding and the sweating, chances are you’re unnecessarily depleting the Yin of your body. This can lead to many imbalances of the body, and it’s definitely not ideal for fertility.
  • Eat nourishing, whole foods.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, nicotine.
  • Continue drinking your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  • Allow yourself rest.

"Nothing in nature blooms all year, don't expect yourself to either" quote

WEEK OF OVULATION:

  • Eat nourishing, whole foods.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, nicotine.
  • Continue drinking your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  • Be sure to have sex regularly, every other day is most recommended, and remember to make it fun!
  • It may be beneficial to stay laying down for a least 30 minutes afterwards.

AFTER OVULATION:

  • Consume 100g of protein daily.
    • This can help with the endometrial lining.
  • Eat nourishing, whole foods.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, nicotine.
  • Continue drinking your body weight in ounces of water each day.

Phew, I know that’s a lot to take in. But friend, just breath.

You don’t have to do all of this, or any of it! These are just suggestions from a natural stand point of lifestyle shifts that could improve your mind, body, and spirit. And when things are balanced, all body systems work smoother.

If you’re wanting to implement some improvements into your daily life and feel you need some support and guidance, I would love to help you get started. Please contact Feel Good Clinics to schedule a Health Coaching Session with me (either in person or virtually with Telehealth, whatever you are most comfortable with)!

You’re not alone, and some day you will be able to see the graces you’ve developed from this struggle. You are a warrior!

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman