Top Tips to Help You Beat Stress and Conceive [Podcast]

Dr. MaizesGot stress?  Trying to conceive? Dr. Maizes, respected educator, doctor of integrated medicine and author of Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child recently sat down with me to discuss stress and its impact on women with PCOS, particularly those trying to conceive. During our 45 minute interview, she made clear the link between fertility and stress as well as provided some excellent, easy to use advice and coping strategies. 

Listen in and hear about:

  • 7 Tried and True Relaxation Techniques
  • The link between stress, your hormones and fertility
  • Managing stress and well-being with Chinese medicine and Ayurveda
  • Preconception care and the “Fetal Origins Hypothesis”

A Full Transcript Follows. 

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Fabrics that goDr. Victoria Maizes is Executive Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and a Professor of Medicine, Family Medicine and Public Health at The University of Arizona.  Internationally recognized as a leader in integrative medicine, Dr. Maizes is committed to helping individuals live healthier lives and pioneering change efforts that solve US health care system problems. Together with her team at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, she created and implemented national educational programs that have reached thousands of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals; developed an innovative, integrative primary care clinical model; and is carrying out research to assess clinical and cost effectiveness of integrative care. A highly sought after speaker, she is the editor of the Oxford University textbook Integrative Women’s Health and the author of Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child. In 2009, she was named one of the world’s 25 intelligent optimists by ODE magazine.

 

 

Amy: Hello. This is Amy Medling. I’m a certified health coach and I’m the founder of PCOSDiva.com. Welcome to another interview in our expert series interviews. I am just so thrilled and honored to have Dr. Victoria Maizes with us today. I’m a big fan of Dr. Maizes and I have both of her books on a very prominent spot on my shelf. She is the co-author of Integrative Women’s Health and also, Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child, which I recommend to all my clients who are trying to conceive.

 

Just to tell you a little bit more about Dr. Maizes, she is the Executive Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and is a Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Arizona. She’s an internationally-recognized leader in integrative medicine. She’s committed to helping individuals live healthier lives and pioneering change efforts that solve U.S. health care system problems. Together with her team at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, she created and implemented national education programs that have reached thousands of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals. She’s developed an innovative, integrative, primary care clinical model, and she’s carrying out research to assess clinical and cost effectiveness of integrative care. Welcome to our podcast, Dr. Maizes.

 

Dr. Maizes: Thank you. It’s a great pleasure to be here with you.

 

Amy: Why don’t you give our listeners a little education about what integrative medicine is? I think a lot of women with PCOS are certainly seeing conventional doctors, OB/GYNs, reproductive endocrinologists, and gynecologists, dermatologists, and they kind of have a whole series of people on their health care team. What makes integrative medicine different and how can you find an integrative doctor?

 

Dr. Maizes: Terrific question to start with. A lot of people confuse integrative medicine with alternative medicine, and in a sense that’s what it’s not. It is wonderful to have a variety of people on your health care team. Sometimes, as you mentioned, women who have PCOS need a variety of team members to help them be healthy. Integrative medicine is really a thoughtful synthesis of the best of Western conventional medicine with other systems of medicine. We do include, when it’s appropriate, traditional Chinese medicine or Ayurveda.

 

We pay a lot of attention to lifestyle, so the nutritional influences on health, the mind-body connection, spirituality and its relevance, physical activity, environmental chemicals. We pay a lot of attention to the doctor-patient or provider-patient relationship. We really believe that there are two experts in the room. There is the patient who is expert by virtue having lived however long she’s lived in that body and having a sense of intuition, what is going to work, having a history of what has worked and what hasn’t in the past, having a set of preferences about how natural or how invasive, how aggressive, or how slowly she might want to be treated. There are her beliefs about the pros and cons. All of that gets taken into account in an integrative medicine visit.

 

You asked how to access integrative medicine providers at our center, as you mentioned. We have a very large training program. The largest in the world, actually. The graduates who wish to be listed are listed on our website, which is azcim.org, so the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine initials, dot org.

 

Amy: That’s great. What a refreshing approach to treating patients. I know that whole description felt so good to me, and I know that it will really resonate with a lot of my listeners. I’m going to absolutely post that at the bottom of the interview, so if anybody’s interested in exploring finding a functional medicine doctor that’s trained at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, I will post that below so you can take a look at it.

 

I want to talk a little bit more about your fabulous book, Be Fruitful. I bought this, gosh, about a year ago and I can tell you it’s very well-worn because I’m referring to it often. I really loved your approach, that being fruitful and maximizing your fertility, it’s really so much more than just getting a prescription of Clomid, which I think a lot of women with PCOS have probably have had been on Clomid. Why don’t you just give us an overview of your approach to writing this book and what are some of the key things that you are trying to get across to women who are embarking on a fertility journey?

 

Dr. Maizes: Great. I have been in medical practice for thirty-three years, and I’ve spent a lot of my time in practice taking care of women, and I was noticing in my practice in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona, I was having more and more women coming in and asking about fertility. Both because they’re having trouble, but also because they wanted to do all they could to be as healthy as possible.

 

One of the things that I’m passionate about, and is a major part of integrative medicine, is health promotion. It’s clear to me that if we’re going to talk about health promotion and we’re going to talk about prevention, we actually have to begin before baby’s even conceived. That’s because we know now and Dr. David Barker’s work points this out, that the experience in the womb sets us up for a lifetime of better or worse health. I know your listeners are, of course, concerned with conception and getting pregnant and having a viable pregnancy, but of course in the larger scheme, they’re very concerned with having a healthy baby. To have a healthy baby, we have to be healthy before we conceive.

 

There’s a lot of things, sadly, that set us up in our society for poor health. We live in a society where the least healthy food is the most affordable food and the most convenient food. We live in a society that is filled with chemicals, mostly chemicals that haven’t been tested to see what their impact is on our health. This is getting back to that experience in the womb.

 

The fetal origins hypothesis basically says that if you’re exposed to some of these chemicals in the womb, they actually change your wiring. They can increase your risk of having a lifetime of poorer health. Things like ADHD or autism or diabetes or, even later in life, cancer or Parkinson’s, neurodegenerative diseases. Being healthy before you conceive not only helps you conceive more easily, it also helps to up the odds. It helps you to do all that you possibly can to have a healthier baby.

 

Given my concerns about health promotion, I was eager to give women a roadmap. What can you do from the perspective of your diet? Your mind-body practices? Your appropriate vitamins and supplements? How can you reduce environmental chemicals that you may be getting exposed to in your home or at your work? Even what’s the right amount of exercise? How does spirituality factor in? All of the aspects we think about in integrative medicine can actually be brought to bear of this central question of how do we do everything within our power to increase the likelihood of having a healthy baby?

 

Amy: I love that you bring up, and I call it these primary food areas, it’s what feeds us on a deeper level that food never can. Like spirituality, like relationships. These are the things that holisitically really bring balance and health. It is so much more than just, I tell my clients, it’s more than just going on a low-carb diet and killing yourself at the gym.

 

Dr. Maizes: Yes, absolutely. In fact, you know from the mystical perspective it’s said you need three partners to create a new human life. You need the female partner, the male partner, and you need God’s presence. This is something that we have to pay attention to because we actually in conventional medicine, and again, I’m someone who completely values what conventional medicine can bring the table. I think in vitro fertilization can be miraculous for couples who might never have been able to conceive a child.

 

Having said that, in vitro fertilization can bring people to an embryo, a multi-celled potentiality. Life is not that embryo, right? It is something else that is beyond our understanding. I think that holding that awareness, that what we do is we create of ourselves as healthy and as prepared, a vessel for creating a new life as we possibly can. Then we kind of open to that. There’s a mystery and it’s not all under our control.

 

Amy: Yeah, I often find that it’s in that place of surrender and I really, when I’m working with a client who’s trying to conceive, sometimes it’s really healthy to just take a little time off and just surrender and I think stress plays a part in that. I know I suffered from infertility related to PCOS and it probably, through that infertility process, was one of the most stress-filled times of my life.

 

I love that in your book there’s really a main section that you devote to explaining the physiology of stress and how that impacts reproductive hormones. Then you go on to give some really wonderful ways to help your body to relax and elicit that relaxation response. I was hoping that you could kind of give us a little bit of an overview about how stress is impacting our fertility and then maybe giving us some of your favorite ways to relax.

 

Dr. Maizes: I would be delighted. You mentioned it being perhaps the most stressful point in your life and actually there are studies that show that being told that one is infertile ranks up there as a stress producer with being told that you have cancer or even HIV. This is incredibly stressful for women and men alike. Sometimes men and women deal with this differently, but it is incredibly stressful. Unlike some things, it’s often held in isolation. Often, people don’t share with others that they’re going through this incredibly difficult trial. That isolation makes it harder to bear and often people are surrounded by others in their age group, in their circle of friends who are having babies. There’s this regular confrontation with what’s not happening. The stress and the sadness and the challenge is all there.

 

Having said that, life gives us stress, and I think it always has. The question is not are we going to experience stress. The question is how skillful can we become at managing that stress? In our Western society, we don’t typically teach people a lot of tools to manage stress. When I sit across from one of my patients and I say, “Tell me about what are sources of stress in your life,” and they tell me. Then I say, “How do you manage that?” Often it’s something like, “Well, I watch TV or I go shopping.” It’s much less often, “I meditate or I do yoga.” I am not anti-TV or shopping, those can be pleasant pastimes, but they don’t activate our nervous systems in a way of neutralizing or reversing the stress response. I think it’s really important for people to have a variety of practices.

 

There’s another thing, and that’s that when we think about stress and that getting a diagnosis of infertility is stressful. We have to be aware that this actually has a direct physiological effect on our hormones. What happens is from a big perspective, our body basically goes into survival mode. The body says, “This is the time to focus on surviving,” and that is exactly the wrong time that we would easily be able to conceive. Reproduction is a luxury, in that sense of a human organism or an animal or whatever. That is safe enough and has enough abundance of food, of fresh air, of physical activity, of whatever it needs to be healthy, that’s when reproduction happens. It doesn’t happen during those times of really high stress.

 

Our body has systems. The brain gets signals that the body’s under stress and then the hypothalamus and the pituitary sends signals to the ovary, or in men to the testes, that basically say, “Shut down. Shut down production because this is the wrong time for conception. This would not be the time to sort of squander resources because that baby wouldn’t survive.” That’s a little bit of, at a high level, the physiology of what occurs.

 

Amy: Yeah, it’s kind of like if you’re running from the proverbial tiger, and I think that our brains haven’t changed all that much from thousands of years ago when we were running from the wild beasts. A traffic jam can kind of elicit that same response. Your body is going to shut down. It’s going to be harder for you to become pregnant when you’re under that kind of a threat.

 

Dr. Maizes: That’s exactly right. While we aren’t normally chased by tigers anymore, we have lots of things that provoke that stress response in us. It could be traffic. It could be a bad day at the office. It could be a fight with someone we’re close to. We’re actually so good at activating that side of our nervous system, what’s called the sympathetic nervous system, the stress response, fight-or-flight, all these names for it.

 

What we’re less good at is activating the opposite side, the calming side of the nervous system, which is also called the parasympathetic nervous system. What we can do is we can’t eliminate all the stressors in our life, but we can change our response to them by learning and by really developing these practices that regulate the parasympathetic nervous system, that quieting side of the nervous system.

 

Amy: Why don’t you share some of your favorite techniques? I know I have a few that I’m curious if they’re sort of in your list. If not, I’ll share a couple of mine as well.

 

Dr. Maizes: Great, I always think it’s good to start with a breath. The breath is free. It’s always with us. We can learn breathing techniques pretty easily. We don’t need any special equipment to do it. We can do it in really short little segments. For example, if you know you’re going into a meeting that’s going to be quite stressful, you can do this to activate the quieting part of your nervous system right before or right after. I’m just a big fan of breathing.

 

In fact, in most of the different mind-body practices, having your breath get slower and deeper and more regular is a part of almost every practice. For example, yoga could be considered a mind-body practice. In yoga, most yoga teachers will remind you to breathe and remind you to quiet your breath and sometimes they’ll teach you particular breathing practices like nadi shodhana, alternate nostril breathing.

 

At the very basic level, to do this slower, more regular, deeper breathing, we’re doing something called diaphragmatic breathing, where we’re taking deep belly breaths and one really simple way to do this is put your hand on your belly and notice that when you breathe in, your belly expands. When you exhale, your belly falls back. You can just simply sit with your hand on your belly for thirty seconds and notice that belly expanding and then falling back. You can exaggerate. By exaggerating that inhalation, so that your hand moves really far out, you’re taking a nice, deep belly breath. You can do this lying down. You could even put a book on your belly and, again, watch it rise as you inhale and watch it fall back as you exhale. That’s the simplest kind of breathing exercise of all.

 

Once you get that sense of taking that deep diaphragmatic breath, you can do a variety of other kinds of practices. A favorite breathing practice that I teach almost all the patients who come to my clinic is called the four-seven-eight breaths, and this is from yoga breathing, or pranayama. What you do is you inhale through your nose to the count of four and you hold your breath to the count of seven. Then you exhale slowly through your mouth to the count of eight. That’s why it’s four-seven-eight. You do this four times. While you’re doing it, your tongue is resting on a little ridge behind your upper front teeth and it means, therefore, when you exhale with your mouth open, it’s going to make a whooshing sound like this. It’s going to be a noisy, audible exhale because of the air coming around your tongue. Four in through your nose, hold to seven, and then exhale to eight, and do it the four times.

 

This is on my website and I actually have a demonstration of Dr. Andrew Weil, who I learned this from demonstrating it. The reason this is so helpful is that it extends that exhalation, which helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system and is just a great technique.

 

The last breathing technique I want to mention is one that I learned from a Vietnamese Buddhist teacher and poet, Thích Nhất Hạnh. I think this is so beautiful, especially for women who are struggling with PCOS because sometimes when our body isn’t behaving as we would like, we could get down on our bodies. We can be, “Oh, why can’t I ____,” and then fill in the blank. In all different ways, we can be self-critical and negative.

 

Thích Nhất Hạnh has this very simple, very beautiful breathing meditation. He has you sit quietly, start to notice your breathing. Again, you could use that diaphragmatic, deep belly breath I shared with you before. Then he has you recite in your head, in sync with your breathing, “Breathing in, I notice my body. Breathing out, I smile at my body.” Thích Nhất Hạnh says that the quality of the smile should be that of a mother smiling at her newborn baby, so that absolute loving, unconditionally adoring point of view that we hold for our baby, but don’t always hold for ourselves. What a beautiful, gentle, kind, generous way to hold your body, especially if on some level you’re wrestling with it. I’m interested in hearing some of yours.

 

Amy: That’s beautiful. Yeah, you know I really love that and that sense of self-love, that essence of self-love is something that I really believe is at the core of healing your PCOS. I love that practice because I think that really helps women to get in touch with appreciating and love their bodies because it’s hard when your body’s not doing what you want it to do. I think a lot of times women with PCOS are in this place of, I call it “diet, deprivation, and denial.” They’re kind of in this place of punishing themselves. Learning to shift that paradigm and breathing out, I smile and love my body, gosh, that’s just really beautiful.

 

I think what modality I really like is the emotional freedom technique, EFT, or tapping. I will put a link to an article I wrote about it below this interview as well. I think what’s really neat about tapping is that you’re actually tapping with your fingers, and like the breathing, this can be done anywhere. It’s free and easy to do. When you’re tapping on these energy meridians or acupressure points, it’s actually proven, and science supports it, that the stimulation of these acupressure points decreases the activity in that amygdala part of your brain or that kind of fight-or-flight response. It sort of reprograms that response.

 

While you’re doing the tapping, you’re saying to yourself, “Although I’m really stressed about,” whatever that stressor is, “my infertility, I completely love and accept myself.” You’re also giving yourself that affirming statement, which I think is really powerful. The whole process can sound a little out there, if you’ve just heard about it, but I promise you if you practice it, it really will change your life.

 

The other thing that I like, and it kind of builds upon really deep breathing pranayama, yogi breath, is using a biofeedback device. They are a little bit pricey. I know I bought mine for about a hundred dollars last year through HeartMath. It’s called Inner Balance and it connects with your iPhone and it actually tracks your heart rate variability. Your heart rate is always changing. You can sync your heart rate with your breath and slowing your breath into this relaxing state, which they call coherence. It’s where your heart rate variability becomes less erratic and conquered with that relaxed breath and a more relaxed emotional state. That has really changed my relaxation response and has really helped me become more calm. I have less anxiety and anxiety is something that a lot of women with PCOS deal with. It just has really increased my quality of life. Those are sort of my two favorite techniques.

 

Dr. Maizes: I think those are both fabulous tools. Just to say another word about the biofeedback. Some people want evidence. They really want feedback, that’s why it’s called biofeedback, that they’re making a difference. The HeartMath tool can be a wonderful tool as you described. You get that information that you’re in that zone of coherence, that you are indeed impacting your nervous system with the practice.

 

The thing that I want to say about mind-body practices is this is not a one-size-fits-all, that there are so many different ways to tone your parasympathetic nervous system. There are very quiet ways like meditation and meditation can be a wonderful way to do this. You get people who say, “I can’t meditate. I tried. I can’t sit still.” They just feel like they’re failing. Why direct them to that? Some people do better with a guided meditation and there’s guided imagery, including some beautiful guided imagery to help with fertility. Belleruth Naparstek is one person who has guided imagery tapes- very inexpensive. You can load it onto your iPhone or other smartphone and listen. Steve Gurgevich is another person who’s long trained in clinical hypnosis who has a guided imagery tape for fertility.

 

People who want more active forms. They’re not the sit still kind of person, can also find practices to help them tone their autonomic nervous system. For example, progressive muscle relaxation. Also free, doesn’t take very much time, and it’s a systematic way of tensing and then relaxing the muscles. Ultimately, tensing the entire body all at once and fully relaxing it. I describe a little bit how to do this in Be Fruitful, but there’s many other resources as well to figure out how to do it.

 

Yoga can be a wonderful, active form of mind-body. Often people come to yoga class. It’s obviously guided. There’s a teacher. It’s good to tell your teacher if you’re focused on fertility because there’s some different poses you do in the first half of the cycle that are different from the second half where you may be in an early pregnancy. That also can be a wonderful, active practice where you come in with that busy mind and by the time you’re done, you’re sort of single-pointed, and you find yourself in the last pose, shavasana pose, in this deep relaxation.

 

Some people like more cognitive approaches where they really wrestle with their mind. They ask themselves questions like, “Okay, there’s that thought coming up again. I can’t get pregnant,” for example. “Well, does that thought contribute to my stress?” Oh yes, it does. “Where did I learn it? Is it even true? Do I even believe in it this point? Who put that thought in my head? Oh yes, I went to that one doctor who said, “You have PCOS. You’re going to have trouble conceiving.”” Well, doctors are fallible. We make mistakes all the time. Is the thought true?

 

Amy: I love that.

 

Dr. Maizes: You can wrestle with your own mind in this structured way and find out that many of the things we tell ourselves have no basis in fact.

 

Amy: Yeah, I think that, “Is it true?”, and I love the work by Byron Katie.

 

Dr. Maizes: Yes, she does this work. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Amy: Yes. Is it true? It’s so important. I know I was told when I was 18 in a Fairfield University Clinic that I would never have children.

 

Dr. Maizes: Wow, and you have three, right?

 

Amy: Yes, I had three, but removed, that was never my truth. I think if I let that be, I’d probably be in a very different place. I love what you say. By questioning those limiting beliefs in your life with that wonderful question, “Is it true?” I also want to link to, and we’ll have it underneath this podcast, the demonstration on that four-seven-eight breaths and also the link to where you can get more information on the guided imagery for fertility.

 

Dr. Maizes: Yes, I know you have a wonderful website with lots of information. I also put on my website information and some links to these mind-body practices. That’s victoriamaizesmd.com. There is a page about mind-body practices with lots of links to guided imagery and to four-seven-eight breath and all of these other things that are either free or very inexpensive tools that we all can use.

 

Amy: Right, we will definitely post that. In the beginning of the interview when you were talking about what integrative medicine is, you talked about how integrative medicine brings in those Eastern philosophies. You have wonderful chapters in your book about Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. I was just wondering if you could kind of briefly give our listeners a quick overview of what Chinese medicine and what Ayurveda is and maybe how that can help with fertility.

 

Dr. Maizes: Yeah, be happy to. Traditional Chinese medicine is more than just acupuncture, but sometimes it gets conflated with acupuncture. Traditional Chinese medicine is a whole system. In other words, it pays attention also to stress levels and to the diet a woman is eating and how physically active she is. It has its own way of thinking about a woman’s health. We’ve heard some of these terms like yin and yang and chi. There’s this very complex way that it sees women and women’s bodies.

 

One of my teachers, a Chinese medicine doctor named Ching Hi Jan said that in traditional Chinese medicine, the whole purpose of medicine can be summed up in just a few words: to dispel evil and support the good. I love that. I think Western medicine focuses almost entirely on dispelling evil and it can be incredibly helpful, as we talked about, but we also want to support the good.

 

Often the metaphor of a garden is used. We think about all we need to have a healthy plant grow in the garden. The soil needs attention. It needs water, but not too much water. It needs the right balance of nutrients, so nitrogen and other fertilizers. You may have to prune sometimes. We think, “How can we prune something away?”, but sometimes that’s what leads to a healthier plant. If we plant something too early in a season, frost can come and kill it. If we plant it too late, it could be too hot and miss the growing season. Those ideas are all part of supporting the good and, in this sense, supporting a healthy pregnancy.

 

If you go to see someone who practices traditional Chinese medicine, they’ll ask you a different set of questions. They’ll examine you in a different way. They’ll feel your pulses in both wrists and they’ll look at your tongue. They may feel your belly. Then they’ll do things that are different from what we do, whether it’s using Chinese herbs or acupuncture or moxibustion, which is using a heated herb on certain acupuncture points. They have a different strategy of treating, but the overall philosophy is to bring the body into better balance so that it can do what’s natural. What’s natural in this sense is to conceive and carry a baby.

 

I am a very big fan of traditional Chinese medicine. Where I live in Tucson, Arizona, I have been fortunate to work with a number of different, very skillful Chinese medicine practitioners, and I find that when someone’s wrestling, and I would include this to be women who have PCOS, that the traditional Chinese medicine provider can be so helpful in helping to restore that overall balance that can help with conception.

 

Ayurveda is often known as the traditional medicine of India, and it is less well-known in the United States and we have not actually recognized it with national certifying boards and so you have to ask a lot more questions about how someone got their training in Ayurveda. Whether they went to one of the few schools in the U.S. or whether they studied in India. Again, they look at people as being whole and thinking in very different ways about what their health is consisted of and what the practices they’re doing. What is the diet? What are the things that are building up? Decay in the body and how could we eliminate it? What type are you? Are you a vata, kapha, or a pitta? Are you eating the appropriate diet for your type? How are your menstrual periods going? Are they really light and infrequent? Are they heavy? Depending on what that menstrual period looks like, they’re going to recommend very different practices.

 

I think Ayurveda, I have to say, living in Arizona, I’ve had less opportunity to work closely with practitioners of Ayurveda, and yet there are long-standing historic traditions. They are herbs like shatavari that are traditionally used. There are meditations that are often recommended. There are healing ceremonies. We should be aware that these resources can be available to us as we wrestle with that greater difficulty in conceiving.

 

Amy: I love that you gave us so many concrete ways to really help impact our fertility. I think it often can feel so out of our control and we kind of feel helpless. These are really some concrete ways that we can make a difference and bring more balance into our life and help our fertility.

 

I’m so pleased that you were able to join us and share your knowledge. I really want to encourage women who are trying to conceive to absolutely pick up a copy of your book, Be Fruitful. I really think it’s one of the best fertility books out there. Also, your Integrated Women’s Health. It’s more of a textbook, but boy, if you enjoy health and wellness and want to have a reference for your library, it’s really a fantastic book.

 

Dr. Maizes: I do have to just say, full disclosure, about the Integrative Women’s Health, the textbook, it is written for health professionals and of course anyone can read it, but there is a second edition coming out, probably in September if it doesn’t get delayed. In that one, they’ll be a chapter that I wrote about fertility, so if you don’t own the book, maybe wait for the second edition because it’s all updated and there’s some wonderful new chapters, including a new chapter on PCOS.

 

Amy: Oh great. Good to know. I always like to ask the experts that come onto my podcast to leave us with a message of hope. I know women with PCOS often just feel like it’s so overwhelming. It’s this chronic condition that is going to be with them over a lifetime. In terms of how it relates to fertility, leave us on a hopeful note.

 

Dr. Maizes: Well, I have to say that in my practice, I have seen many women with PCOS successfully conceive and bear healthy children. I think that is certainly possible and we have to remember that statistics are just statistics. There’s you and there’s all of the things that you’re doing to make yourself as healthy as possible, whether it’s diet, whether it’s taking the appropriate vitamins and nutrients, avoiding the environmental chemicals. We didn’t talk about that, but of course some of those are driving PCOS and seeing more PCOS. Eliminating as many as you can from your overall. Thinking about what else you could add, whether it’s the stress reduction practices we talked about today to tone your nervous system. Whether it’s traditional Chinese medicine or Ayurveda. Not being afraid of conventional medicine. It can be very helpful in PCOS and certainly can play a central role.

 

I just want to leave, as you said, with that message of that it is obviously possible. I wish all of you the blessing of fertility and of an easy conception and of a healthy baby.

 

Amy: Well, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you all for listening. Until next time, this is Amy. Bye-bye.

 

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