Pregenvy 😡😱💔

Pregenvy (def): strong emotional jealousy and desire to conceive which is aggravated by people falling 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 đŸ‘¶, 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 and 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, try 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

 

 

 

Wild RoseđŸŒč: 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.

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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

 

 

Top fertility food: uovo sbatutto the jing tonic

Recently I mentioned the benefits of eggs for fertility, especially while you are getting your acupuncture to optimise the benefits of your treatments. My nonna (Italian grandmother) swears by this dish for breakfast to restore and rejuvenate your health if you have been sick or exhausted.

Uovo sbatutto translates in Italian to ‘beaten egg’ in English. It certainly is an acquired taste, like most weird healthy food does but I must say it is quick, easy, and satusfying to eat and prepare!

Ingredients:

one raw, fresh organic egg

a dash of maple syrup/honey

a dash of whiskey or Marsala

Method: Place whole egg maple syrup and whiskey in bowl. Beat for 2-3 minutes until it is a thick foamy consistency. Eat from bowl in the sunshine or place in a fancy glass and enjoy!

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You can mix up what you add to your uovo sbattuto, a pinch of cinnamon or turmeric, a dash of coffee or some organic milk. I added freshly grated ginger to mine today because I felt a bit phlegmy.

What is it good for?

So many things, it’s great for teeth and bones, essential fats to build sex hormones, it’s nourishing for women who are pregnant (just make sure your eggs are super fresh and clean), breastfeeding and kids too. It is a jing tonic, given the Chinese consider pure egg as pure essence, pure substance that is very nourishing like other eggs and seeds found in nature are good for our gametes (eggs and sperm).

So give it a try, it is like a frothy mousse with a slight sweet flavour. A traditional Italian breakfast that deserves some appreciation. Buon appetito!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five ways to beat period pain – naturally

A recent study by the University of Modena in Italy found that over 84% women suffer from period pain. Dysmenorrhoea or period pain is a common complaint women come to see me for in my acupuncture practice. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are excellent for helping women manage their pain and cycle naturally. In Australia, most women take medicines such as neurofen or panadol to alleviate the pain, but there are ways to prevent period pain, especially by teaching young women how to look after themselves from menarche (when the period begins) and also by incorporating some very useful practices that are passed on in Chinese medicine.

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Artwork by Harini Iyer

Every month during menstruation the ‘heavenly substance’ or tian gui as they call it in China is lost. This reflects the essence or jing of a woman, so once a girl begins menstruating her essence has peaked to allow fertility to begin. I believe getting a period is a very important part of being a woman and not something that we should hate or despise every month. It is a time to take it easy, rest, nourish and reflect. When we menstruate our body is weaker, because it is losing blood so it is more vulnerable to becoming exhausted or catching a cold.

Here are my five ways to reduce period pain:

  • Change your attitude to your period: if we constantly think that our period is a drainer to life… it will be! Start thinking about the positives about having one. Such as it means you ovulate and that you are a woman. As a woman we go through a hormonal rollercoaster every month; the period is shed and rest, at ovulation we are full of creativity, drive and vibrance, and we can get moody and strong pre-menstrually. Start loving your body for who it is and what it does and it will bring you a better period.

Affirmation for period pain:

I reclaim my power as a woman and lovingly accept the normal and natural way my body flows and functions. I love and approve of myself.

  • Heat is friend, cold is foe: avoid cold drinks, food and ice especially before and during your period. When the bleeding starts you want it to flow and move out, not to be stuck, stagnant and painful inside you. Heat packs and hot water bottles can be applied pre-menstrually and during the period to your lower abdomen or lower back to aid the flow. Drinking hot water and teas such as raspberry leaf, ginger and chai blends can be of great help.
  • Rest: please don’t feel like you have to be the Carefree tampon girl riding horses bareback and  catching waves on cycle day 1. The period is your allowance to be lazy, rest and rejuvenate! Avoid intensive exercise, overworking or lifting heavy things. Exercise such as a going for a nice walk, practicing gentle yoga poses or jogging briskly are great ways to gently help it flow.
  • Eat well: enjoy a healthy, balanced diet based on natural food that is full of vegetables, good fats such as animal fat, butter, ghee, coconut oil, high quality animal protein, healthy carbs such as legumes, sweet potatoes, potatoes, rye sourdough and semi-polished rice, some nuts and fruits. Eat clean and well, your body will thank you for this and you will see benefits.
  • Acupressure:
  1. Locate the acupoint Valley of Harmony (LI-4), acupressure point 1 for menstrual cramps: valley of harmony LI-4 between thumb and fingerin the web between your thumb and index finger on your right hand. Apply steady pressure with your left thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 2 minutes. Repeat on the left hand.
  2. Find the acupoint Great Surge (LIV-3), acupressure point 2 for menstrual cramps: great surge LIV-3 between toesin the web between the big and second toes on your right foot. Apply steady pressure with your left thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 2 minutes. Repeat on the left foot.

Massaging these points helps promote the smooth flow of qi, moves stagnation, and helps alleviate painful menstruation, cramps, and stress.

If you suffer from period pain and it is very difficult for you to get relief, please book in with me for some acupuncture treatment. A holistic consulation can reveal the true cause to your period pain and you don’t have to suffer or pop pills endlessly.

For more information on wellbeing during your period please see this post.

May your period be a gain, not a pain!

xx Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, @Ivanhoe

Post-partum during Winter in Melbourne is…

beautiful! And freezing cold! Life has been wonderfully hectic with moving from Sydney to Melbourne, leaving my beloved practice at House of Fertility and Healing, being pregnant, halfway through my Masters degree in Chinese Herbal Medicine and then mothering this gorgeous little baby girl, Chiara! After birthing a baby, this “post-partum” period is sacred, time to rest as much as one can, stay indoors… yes, winter is ideal for this time as you are less tempted to go outside and be busy. It is a time of surrender, eating soup and drinking warm herbs and teas, breastfeeding, doing pelvic floor exercises and looking after your teeth (they can be more sensitive during pregnancy and neglected once you have your tiny bundle of joy to attend to!).

Post-partum is life after giving birth

Some things I have really enjoyed doing and would love to share with you and anyone you know who is about to enter this space:

  • Chicken Soup – easy and simple for the new mother, keep the ingredients simple with ginger, spring onion, rice, salt, slow cooked to get the nutrition from the bones. Here’s a nice recipe.
  • Acupuncture & Moxa – I have had regular treatment from myself and my acupuncturist Anoushka from Restore Acupuncture in Alphington and she has kept me amazingly well! She just miraculously “fixed” my very sore left hip 8 weeks after birth!
  • Herbal Tea: calendula, raspberry leaf, nettle and ginger along with a cup of roasted dandelion root tea with milk – yummo
  • SRC Recovery Shorts: I wore them religiously for the first six weeks as I had diastasis (transverse abdominal muscle separation) now every second day and lots of pelvic floor exercise which is helping immensely.
  • Hug-a-bub Baby Carrier: by two weeks postpartum I was walking my six-year old son to school to and fro in the freezing cold Melbourne winter (ok it’s not that cold compared to many places) in my ski jacket and baby Chiara tucked under in a hug-a-bub she was happy and toasty warm as could be!
  • Chinese Herbs: for three days postpartum I took Sheng Hua Tang, a classical formula and then on to the Shi Quan Da Bu Tang the warming, all great qi and blood tonic! When I caught the flu three weeks after birth, I took Yin Qiao San and later Qi Qing Hua Tan Wan and recovered really well compared to most who keep getting sick.
  • Herbal Sitz Baths: from inspiration Wellness Mama.
  • Teeth Care: brushing teeth well, flossing, Himalayan salt gargle and then oil pulling with coconut oil.
  • Lots of Love: this is a time to be good to ourselves and adore our healing bodies which have miraculously birthed a beautiful baby not criticise them for soft pudginess and weight gain! Slowly but surely if you are good to yourself you will regain your strength and vitality. And soak up that love from your partner, family, friends and baby, such a special time!

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xx Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, @Ivanhoe

The Low Down on How To Keep Healthy During Your 
 PERIOD

Fertility and menstrual issues can arise from the way you care for yourself during your period. Working hard and long hours, inadequate rest and sleep, lots of cold drinks and food, too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and processed foods are all key offenders. Allegory with phases of the moon, our menstrual cycle is comparative to the lunar cycle whereby both recount a waiting period of approximately 28 days. The state of period reflects our womanly wellbeing. An ideal period has adequate flow, is punctual (give or take a few days), regular, without discomfort or clotting and looks fresh red in colour. This reflects that blood circulation, production and hormones are in order. This is something that most Western women are unaware of. If you have issues with your menstrual cycle, such as PMS, dysmenorrhoea or dark, clotty bleeding, it’s possible your lifestyle habits are contributing to these signs and symptoms.

What can cause menstrual irregularities?

A stressful lifestyle, poor diet or eating habits, emotional upset encourages blood being weak and stagnant qi (energy movement) .

10 Tips for Menstrual Self-Care

1. Keep clean & hygienic – avoid sex (unless it is your fertile time), nor tampons or vaginal examinations. Wear organic pads – click the link to read why. Don’t use soap or vaginal hygiene products on your vagina.

2. Avoid intensive exercise, overworking or lifting heavy things – exercise such as a good walk, gentle yoga poses or brisk jog is great.

3. Keep warm – avoid swimming, drinking or exposing yourself to cold water, drafts, rain, leaving your hair wet or damp and midriff exposed to cold or drafts.

4. Eat well and nutritious eg. soup, porridge, cooked fruits, whole grains and vegies, no cold, little raw, uncooked foods. Drink hot teas like raspberry leaf, nettle and ginger.

5. Protect yourself from overly emotional situations if you can during the period, you are weaker and we don’t deal so well with it. Rest more and go slow, getting sick during the period can mess with your hormones.

6. Keep your legs, feet and lower back to abdomen warm, the qi in the acupuncture meridians on this area of the body need to circulate well. Wear warm slippers/boots and socks, no bare feet on cold tiles!

7. Yoga during the period is fantastic. Seek a professional teacher or try some of these poses if you are experienced.

8. Reduce salt, caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake the days before and during your period. They can increase cramping & PMS.

9. Foods rich in Vitamin C, Magnesium and Potassium.

10. Drink plenty of warm water to cleanse salt and electrolytes out of your body and reduce bloating.

Most importantly, be good to yourself, and be grateful that you are a woman who menstruates, and can experience the wonder of our femininity.

Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, @Ivanhoe

Natural Support for Uterine Polyps

A Uterine Polyp is an overgrowth of endometrial tissue or uterine lining. Polyps may arise when this lining grows in excess. They can be oval or round and can occur in the uterus or cervix.

Uterine polyps are composed of endometrial tissue, whereas uterine fibroids consist of muscle.

Causes

Hormonal factors, with oestrogen sensitivity. Uterine polyps will grow when stimulated by oestrogen as does the endometrium cyclically.

Symptoms of Uterine Polyps

  • Irregular Periods (oligomenorrhoea)
  • Unusually Heavy Menstrual Flow (menorrhagia)
  • Vaginal Bleeding or Spotting in between periods (metrorrhagia)
  • Fertility Challenges

Diagnosis

Uterine polyps can be diagnosed via transvaginal ultrasound, sonohysterography, hysteroscopy, endometrial biopsy and curettage. Regular gynaecological check-ups are important to monitor them. Risk factors include obesity, tamoxifen (breast cancer drug), and high blood pressure.

Supporting Your Body To Reduce Uterine Polyps

1. Reduce Exposure to Xenohormones – Exposure to environmental toxins can increase xenoestrogen levels in your body and promote the polyps to grow. Xenoestrogens are a subclass of endocrine (hormonal) interruptors. Eating cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and kale can support excess oestrogen clearance.

2. Increase Fibre – Fibre supports your body to remove excess oestrogen naturally.

3. Chinese Herbs – Chinese Herbs for Uterine Polyps move blood, qi, resolve dampness and warm the kidney yang. Make a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of ground clove a day (drink when it has cooled a little), is excellent for your kidney yang energy.

4. Eat Clean – Avoid damp/phlegm producing foods that are greasy, spicy or too sweet, and enjoy fresh vegetable, fruits and grains (gluten-free type grains such as millet, quinoa, brown/white rice & buckwheat).

5. Angelica & Red Dates – increases circulation to bring fresh, new blood to the area and remove excessive tissue growth, it is healing and can reduce the tissue being scarred or damaged. Good circulation is vital for uterine health.

6. Drink a Pot of your own Fertility Tea everyday – you can make a herbal tea with equal parts of Pau D’Arco, Goldenseal Root, Dandelion Root, Fresh Ginger Root, Raspberry Leaf & Nettle Tea. These work synergistically to reduce inflammation in the uterus, cleanse, nourish and improve circulation.

7. Castor Oil Packs & Uterine Massage – Massaging your lower abdomen and then placing a castor oil pack on the area for 15-30 minutes. This is best done every second day from after your period to ovulation (if you are actively trying to conceive). Otherwise every second day in your cycle but not when you are menstruating.

8. Vitex Agnus Castus – taken daily throughout your menstrual cycle at a moderate dose can balance progesterone levels. Not to be taken during the period.

Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, @Ivanhoe