Pregenvy šŸ˜”šŸ˜¢šŸ’”

Pregenvy (def): strong emotional jealousy and desire to conceive which is aggravated by people fallingĀ pregnant around you at the drop of a hat.

This is what I reckon and coin the term as.

A strange thing occurs when you finally surrender to that maternal urge that you are ready to have a baby šŸ‘¶, before you have even told anyone, perhaps not even your partner, your receive a text from your best friend with a 4D ultrasound picture of her 12 week old baby.

You walk out that door and then notice a lady with a massive bump waddling past you. After sometime talk of babies, trying to conceive, ovulation predictor kits, ovulation (egg) week and what seems like endless rounds of sex in the bedroom followed by the comedown of getting your period can all get a bit much.

When the trying to conceive fertility journey takes its time and thus its toll on you its time to check in and do some inner work. The reality is a lot of women (and men) face this challenge at some point in their lives. Why? Because in our society today we aren’t used to waiting for what we want anymore.

Get married? Organise wedding.

New career? Work, study and make it happen.

New car? Save up and buy it.

The baby does not work like this. Sometimes they come easily, take note that some people who tell you how they got pregnant so quickly will conveniently forget that it took six months of trying, endless testing and two rounds of clomid to achieve this.

Health on both sides, woman and man is essential. Just because your friend’s cousin got pregnant when she was drunk and lives off Macdonalds doesn’t mean health isn’t important nor that you child will be healthy being conceived this way. Parents who nurture their health three to six month days prior to conception can ensure their child will benefit from this, as research consistently shows.

Chinese medicine, acupuncture, cleansing andĀ Chinese herbs are excellent for pre-conception health.

Having a good supportive team around you is vital, a supportive and loving partner, or friends or family if you are doing it on your own, a good GP, a great and experienced health practitioner (like me) and a clear, conscious self to follow intuition and make good decisions.

Then back to the pregenvy. Remember that the mind leads the body and is very powerful. Try to see the pregenvy in a different light. I believe pregenvy happens because we are so focused on the baby that we see it everywhere and compare ourselves to others.

Focus on yourself, loving yourself to the point that you are confident a new soul would love to live and grow within you.

Call your friend and congratulate her on her wonderful news, tryĀ your best to be excited for her because that will be you soon too.

Smile at the lady with the big bump walking down the street.

Enjoy all that intimacy as before you know it there will be sleepless nights and booby fests.

Be grateful you have a period, some women NEVER get one.

Trust in god and the universe, if you are meant to be a parent it will happen at the right time in the right way.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs




Butter is a superfood herošŸ’«

I seriously can’t believe how many people still think butter is bad for you!!! They say it is fattening or unhealthy. Butter is SO delicious and nutritious it should be in everyone’s fridge for good health.


My favourite butter and the best I believe available in Melbourne is made by the biodynamic cows of Paris Creek dairy. My granny says it tastes just like what butter used to taste like 70 years ago.

Why is butter so good for you?

It contains vitamin A, Lauric acid, lecithin – note lecithin metabolises cholesterol. Grass-fed butter in moderation will not increase your cholesterol levels, margarine and vegetable oils will.

It also contains minerals, Vitamin D, E, K, Activator X and the good fats it contains are great for your hormones.

Butter is a glorious superfood! It even has anti-cancer agents, strengthens bones and prevents tooth decay. It can balance blood sugar and the fats it contains are also essential to children’s brain and nervous system development. It has properties of anti-stiffness factor which prevent calcification of the joints, arteries and pineal gland.

Who can benefit from butter?

Everyone! Babies over 4 months, children, teenagers, women and men, pregnant and breastfeeding women, it’s also great for fertility and balancing hormones. I recommend 1-3 tablespoons per day. It is probably the only dairy food that lactose intolerant people can efficiently digest.

So I urge you to try some real, organic, grass-fed butter and enjoy and feel the goodness!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, northern suburbs

Wild RosešŸŒ¹: mei gui hua for pain, beauty & pms

Admiring this stunning rose today made me think of the herb mei gui hua or dried rose buds (rosa rugosa) that are used in Chinese medicine often for women’s health, periods and fertility.


The rose is the universal symbol of love has been used for medicine purposes for centuries. It is fragrant, clearing, and mild in nature which makes it ideal for nourishing the liver, moving qi and blood and most importantly clearing stagnation: which in Chinese medicine is a common reason for why we present with pain or illness.

You can make a straight tea or blend the dried rose buds with other herbs such as ginger, peppermint or calendula for men or women.

Benefits of rose tea include it regulating the qi as to calm stress and move tension. When taken regularly it can support good metabolism and weight loss for those with endocrinological disorders: think thyroid. Long-term use of Rose tea clears the complexion and benefits the breasts, you know for that pre-menstrual tension breast pain? Lastly it can ease constipation and help the period flow. Given it performs these functions it would be best taken from 36 weeks onwards in pregnancy.

Drink some special rose tea tonight to your good health!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

Natural support for miscarriage at home

Miscarriage can occur for different reasons; a blighted ovum, genetic deformities, hostile uterine environment and even a cold uterus that fails to provide the warmth and nourishment to the baby.

Winter Magnolia

As a woman you will have a choice to have a D&C (dilate & cutettage) where the products of conception are surgically removed or to wait and miscarry at home.

It can be very frustrating and challenging if you are waiting to miscarry and continue to feel the signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

I have supported women over the years who chose to miscarry naturally; here is some information for how to support your body To miscarry with herbs, lifestyle and mindfulness.

Take a hot bath every day and add a cup of magnesium sulfite or empsom salts, a few drops of lavender and/or clary sage essential oils can be soothing.

Apply heat packs and hot water bottles to your lower abdomen and lower back, you can even make a ‘castor oil pack’ to help things move along.

Acupuncture is very effective to get the blood and energy moving, I recommend treatment as soon as you have found out the news, it’s also very calming for the mind.

Listen to meditation and look after yourself, it’s really helpful if you have someone you trust to talk to about it and support you emotionally.

Chinese herbs are excellent for supporting the body to expel the products of conception, they will also help it happen more smoothly.

Drink raspberry leaf tea, about four cups of strong tea a day and add some freshly grated ginger to the pot. Raspberry leaf is highly nutritive for the uterus and can support its function to cramp.

Add cinnamon to all your food and drinks, it is warming, sweet and soothing and moves Qi in the channels.

Eat spicy warming foods and drinks. Avoid cold foods and drinks. Ginger, garlic, turmeric and chilli all have heating properties and can increase your temperature and metabolism to miscarry.

Affirmations: I love the mantra

Let god

Let Go

Let love

To support this process. Tell your body that, “I am healed, I am healthy”.

Be kind to yourself and as heartbreaking the situation in, I truly believe it provides one with hope and faith that they do indeed have the ability to conceive.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs



Sex, connection and fertility

With so many struggling with fertility we can delve back to the roots and origins of this. How did something as connecting, loving and fun like having sex with your partner ever get so difficult, especially when trying to conceive?


Firstly there is the relationship to consider, if there are unresolved issues or emotional challenges this will affect how you connect and down the track your sex life.

Stress- yes we are all very work, achievement and left-brain focussed these days. Being so preoccupied on what we must to do be the best in work can affect how much time and energy you have for yourself, your libido and partner.

There can be mismatched libidos, this is very common where one person has a high libido and the other a low. Low libido can be due to substance abuse, stress, nutritional deficiencies and of course how we grew up learning and thinking about sex. Some people may shy away from sex because they have been taught that is bad or shameful.

Having a strong, healthy libido is a sign of good health and fertility. This is where acupuncture and Chinese medicine come in. They are excellent at tonifying the yang or warming energy which provides the kidney with ability to procreate. Often I use moxibustion to warm the yang, and cups to expel the cold with warming herbs such as Rou Gui- cinnamon bark.

If your fertility is affected by being able to have sex, look into how and why this might be, and what will be the best way possible to rectify it.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, northern suburbs

Keeping faith & staying positive on the fertility journey with acupuncture

A woman will often reach a point in her life where she knows she wants a baby. Men get this too. For a woman to embrace thisĀ natural maternal urge in this day and age it is rather complicated. Many women I treat in my acupuncture practice have underlying fears and self-doubts on their personal ability to procreate. This is even before finding out if they have any medical issues.

IVF and assisted reproductive techniques are common practice today, and this has projected the belief that everyone is having trouble trying to conceive.

We have to believe there is hope, light and possibility out there in all the darkness that surrounds us.


The main concern women have is that if they don’t conceive asap, their fertility will rapidly decline and their egg quality will be too poor. The truth is there is no scientific test that can accurately determine the quality of a woman’s eggs. There is the assumption that as a woman ages, her egg quality declines which affects the rate of a healthy embryo fertilising and continuing.

This doesn’t explain how some of the women you know are 40+ and seem to be popping out healthy babies without trouble up until 44 years of age.

I bring this to the table because I truly think that what we believe creates our future. If we think we are old at 34, and our fertility is rapidly declining, it will. If we think that it is impossible for our body to physically carry the baby, we may find that we are fearful when we become pregnant and miscarriage.

Of course it is essential to have a good GP, and investigate fertility further if there are troubles along the way, and seeking the expertise of a good gynaecologist or fertility specialist if need be however we need to trust and believe in the miracle that our body is.

Your body is amazing and it will respond to positive change in emotions, thoughts, beliefs and physical care.

If we hurt our body by feeding it junk food and telling it that it is worthless, then we may find it difficult to become pregnant. Sometimes there can be underlying problems that we have not dealt with, such as our mother telling us that children will ruin our lives, or physical ones like PCOS or endometriosis which can be related to not connecting or loving the divine feminine that we are.

When I support my patients on their fertility journey, I try my best to navigate all areas that may be preventing them from conceiving, moving blockages and changing aspects for the better.

Acupuncture is widely used and accepted for fertility support. The Chinese have been using Chinese herbs for hundreds of years for fertility and pregnancy.

There is nothing more satisfying than to travel this arduous journey from pre-conception to post-partum and meet that wonderful baby that is so very worth it all.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs


Natural teeth care during IVF, pregnancy, post-partum & menopause: part II

Now on to the fun stuff, so what do we do to prevent gum and tooth problems in these changed hormonal states?

First of all, you need a good dentist and hygienist. Having your teeth cleaned and removed of calculus every six months will prevent tooth decay and gum irritation and recession.

Getting adequate rest is vital, especially if you are sleep deprived your body will create more inflammation and calculus.


Regular exercise is important to keep your Qi flowing and immunity up, because poor immunity creates more inflammation in the body.

Ensure you get enough essential fats such as grass-fed tallow, ghee, butter and coconut oil. Lots of veggies. Stick to grains or carbs which are properly processed and cultured such as basmati rice, light rye sour dough and potatoes. Whole grains are high in phytic acid, yes think weet-bix and oats! Phytic acid blocks absorption of minerals and excess can cause cavities. Aim to obtain fibre from vegetables.

Other foods that are high in physics acid are coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Seafood, grass-fed meats and eggs are all excellent sources of protein and fat.

Drink enough filtered water, especially after meals. Green tea is beneficial for oral health.

In terms of oral hygiene, flossing gently and daily is important. Oil pulling with extra-Virgin coconut oil for twenty minutes is healing too, just ensure to rinse with salty water or gently brush teeth afterwards. Use a natural, fluoride-free toothpaste such as homemade tooth powder or earthpaste. A daily gargle of some water with half a teaspoon of sea salt is great for the gums too.

And of course minimise sugar, one study found that plaque, calculus and tartar still form on teeth even if it doesn’t touch them because of the high sugar levels in the blood.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are excellent to support your body naturally through these changes in hormonal states, especially if you are feeling unwell or have noticed some health issues arise. Supplements are also important to ensure your body is getting enough Ā minerals, the body is robbed of them during pregnancy and breastfeeding especially.

From a metaphysical perspective gum and tooth problems relate to being wishy washy and indecisiveĀ about life.

Wishing you healthy and happy gum and teeth health.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

Natural teeth care: during IVF, pregnancy, post-partum & menopause

The old adage goes you lose one tooth for every baby… what! šŸ˜­. Unfortunately when a woman goes through any major hormonal change, this affects her gums and teeth.Ā Changes in the natural or artificial production of oestrogen and progesterone can increase or reduce blood flow to the gums thus changing the way the gym tissue reacts to irritating constituents in plaque.

This means we really need to look after our teeth and gums. Pregnancy and breastfeeding post-partum demand extra minerals and nutrients from the body, and a lot of women find with the combination of hormonal changes and physical depletion cause an increased risk to receding gums, cavities, tooth pain and sensitivity.


Seeing my gums had slightly receded post two babies and a total of nearly 4 years breastfeeding; I went to a sustainable dentist, ‘Bytes of Northcote’ who told me that I was brushing too hard and recommended I have AUD$1800 of dental work done with no advice to treat or prevent the receding gums. Not feeling satisfied with her treatment plan, I received a trustworthy word of mouth recommendation to holistic dentist Dr Ben Olstein in Malvern Road, Prarhan. As I sat in his chair full of fear, although it was very comfortable with calm lighting and relaxing music he tapped away at my teeth and said they were in excellent condition. He recommended some supplements for gum health and even endorsed oil pulling! No work needed to be done, just some serious deep-cleaning from the hygienist.

Visiting your dental hygienist every six months is vital for dental health. I missed out on two six monthly dental visits because the last dentist I had seen when pregnant put the fear of God in me about my teeth!

Tomorrow, in my next post I will discuss natural tooth and gum care to prevent further damage to your pearly whites.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs



Anxiety: understanding and managing it with acupuncture

Anxiety is a common experience we all go through. If you have never had it before it can be quite a shocking ordeal; feeling like you are trapped within your body and know that something is wrong but are unaware of what it is.


I really remember the first time I ever felt anxious. I had fallen out with a good friend, and I believe my heart was literally freaking out as I absolutely believed in my mind that we would be lifelong mates forever. As challenging as a heartbreaking experience that was for me, it was a lesson life was teaching me: to surround myself with people I am resonating, growing and evolving with.

Chinese medicine pertains anxiety to the heart energy, which houses the shen or spirit of the body. People who experience anxiety may constitutionally have a weak heart energy or perhaps suffered a lot of emotional trauma and hardship in life. Anxiety can be due to truly being unhappy about a significant aspect of life, so it is very important to reflect and look deeper to what is missing or needs requires changing. The heart energy is in full flight during summer so people can be more sensitive to anxiety during this time of the year. Practising meditation and mindfulness can endure a calming effect on the heart energy.

Acupuncture is very calming and relaxing for the heart, when combined with the right Chinese herbs anxiety can be managed and alleviated. Ultimately the patient will be willing to do the inner work to see if there is a deeper level to their anxiety with these tools and psychology, meditation and goal planning.

Medication should be a last resort, as there can be serious side effects given the cause is not being treated, just the symptom. Louise Hay says that when out body becomes ill or unhappy it speaks to us through signs and symptoms: to pop a pill for every ailment that presents is like telling it to shut up. Be kind to yourself and to the body you live in!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe

Bringing good qi & health into the home with indoor plants

My friend Margi is a big fan of indoor plants, her house is full of clambering ivyĀ and propagated succulents. Did you know that by having indoor plants in your home or office, air can be recycled and cleaned?

Propagating plants

I always encourage my acupuncture patients to explore some of the vast and fabulous parks that Melbourne has to offer. Getting out into green parks and nature is so good for you, and if you are too busy to get out… then bring the plants to you!

Your local nursery, (I recommend Bulleen Art & Garden or CERES in Brunswick) will have a range of indoor plants or you can propagate your own. Take a fresh, green cutting of ivy, geranium or a succulent and place it in a glass of water. Change the water daily and eventually you will notice roots emerge. Then it is ready to place in a pot with soil.

Benefits of indoor plants include improving immunity, plants can increase humidity in the air so that pathogens are less likely to survive. Bringing an indoor plant to a loved one who is ill or hospitalised can speed up recovery. Ā Green is a calming colour for the liver energy in Chinese medicine and would you believe that having plants around you at work can increase your productivity?!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture, Melbourne