Weighing up complementary therapies

More and more people are looking to alternative or complementary therapies to optimise their health. Couples who want to have a baby are no exception and those who're infertile are often keen to try anything that may help them conceive.

Many of the available therapies are geared towards improving general wellbeing and emotional health. Massage therapies, reflexology, yoga, meditation, stress management, relaxation and aromatherapy are all ways to help you handle the stresses of life and many infertile couples find these forms of therapies helpful.

Think carefully, though, about using ingestible therapies like naturopathy, homeopathy and Chinese herbal treatments, which involve taking substances for specific conditions. The effects of most herbal therapies haven't been tested in the way that society expects prescription medication to be tested and little is known about their safety, benefits and potential side effects. Many people believe that anything herbal is good for their health — or at least not bad for it. However, often the herbs used to improve fertility are quite potent and they can interfere with the fertility drugs that your doctor prescribes.

If you're undergoing infertility treatment, you must discuss any herbal treatments you take with your doctor to make sure that the herbs don't mess up your treatment. For example, the following herbs used to enhance fertility may be harmful during IVF treatment:

^ Black cohosh and red clover: May increase oestrogen levels. ^ Dong quai: Has a blood-thinning effect.

^ Mugwort and feverfew: May be harmful to the unborn baby. ^ Red raspberry leaves: Can cause uterine contractions.

Avoid these six herbs at all costs.

Pregnancy Guide

Pregnancy Guide

A Beginner's Guide to Healthy Pregnancy. If you suspect, or know, that you are pregnant, we ho pe you have already visited your doctor. Presuming that you have confirmed your suspicions and that this is your first child, or that you wish to take better care of yourself d uring pregnancy than you did during your other pregnancies; you have come to the right place.

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