By: Christine Keller L.Ac., Dipl.O.M.
Many years spent avoiding pregnancy, or perhaps other hormonal circumstances led to using hormonal birth control to help regulate hormonal issues. No matter the case, when planning a baby following birth control it is important to take care of yourself now. Coming off birth control to become pregnant may take a little more than just that. Many times, people come off their birth control pills/patch/ring expecting to conceive right away. If not then, than at least in the few months that follow. Some women are fortunate enough to have no issues making the transition from hormonal birth control to doing everything on their own smoothly and soundly. Others however need a little more adjustment time. This is actually an important time to have because bringing your body into balance sometimes takes time. Acupuncture and herbs are a great way to help harmonize the body and encourage it back to a “normal” state. Some women have horrendous symptoms coming off birth control. Symptoms may range from heavy menstrual bleeding, frequent periods or no periods, annovulation, crazy PMS symptoms, depression and anxiety. Regulating the period and all the hormonal shifts during the cycle is key to becoming pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Some women are hesitant about herb use during the time that they are trying. I encourage you to give yourself some time to not try. At least three cycles is ideal. Typically (everyone is different and wonderfully unique), in three cycles, the body can take over and do things on its own smoothly and happily. Herb use in this period will only benefit you, strengthen your body, make conception easier, and it will help support pregnancy. You want your body to be able to do it’s job to support you and baby before you actually conceive!
Prep your body. The easiest things to do on your own are stop any bad habits asap like smoking, drug use – both recreational and otc/prescription, heavy drinking, and not exercising. If you eat like crap, change your diet now. Food is medicine! Each time you eat something it will affect your body in some way. Avoid the refined sugars and flours and try to eat balanced and whole foods as much as possible. Eat lots of leafy dark greens like kale and spinach, both for the vitamin content, but also for its “nourishing blood” function. Exercise!! It is much easier to keep un-needed weight gain during pregnancy off if you shed those few extra pounds now. Moving also helps move qi and blood and has an incredible action for regulating the body. Exercising now can prevent horrific morning sickness, depression or stress. Start taking a pre-natal vitamin to supplement any nutrients or vitamins you are lacking. Get on a regular sleep schedule. It is during the sleeping hours that our bodies rest and repair.
Lastly – address the stress in your life. You may think you handle stress well, but often our bodies will manifest symptoms that say otherwise. Stress is hard on the body. By treating it now, conception will be easier as will pregnancy and post pregnancy. Practice qigong, taichi, or yoga. Simple walking meditations will suffice.
Take care of yourself now so you can happily take care of baby! Remember, give yourself the time and the space to let your body come back into balance. If you need help, give me a call.