Ingredient Story: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract

September 23, 2014

At Nine Naturals, we’re on a mission to make beauty simple, smart and safe for moms and moms-to-be. Integral to that is understanding our ingredients’ science and benefits. Today’s Nine Naturals Ingredient Story Series featuring Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract is part of an ongoing series featuring the natural, plant-based ingredients behind our high performance beauty products.

Aloe barbadensis, more commonly known as Aloe vera, has been used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes as far back as 4th century BC. In fact, historians have suggested that it was once a part of the beauty routines of Egyptian royalty. Today the extract of aloe barbadensis is widely used therapeutically to treat various skin conditions and cosmetically as a moisturizer for skin and hair.

The Science & Extraction of Aloe Barbadensis

Extracting the pulp from the aloe barbandensis plant simply entails separating the gelatinous inner material of the leaf from the outer husk. Once separated the extract can be concentrated to increase the potency and dried to allow for long term storage. That said, the gel extracted from Aloe leaves can actually be used for many applications even in its crude form. This aloe extract has a number of active ingredients that contribute to its effectiveness. For instance it contains vitamin E and salicylic acid, both of which are commonly used in acne washes. Aloe extract also includes an array of poly-saccharides that play a role in healing and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract’s Benefits for Skin and Hair Care

Aloe barbadensis extract is one of the few moisturizing agents on the market that has been scientifically proven to be effective. This is why it’s so well suited to use in both conditioners and lotions. Aloe extract not only moisturizes, but also reduces skin irritation and erythema. Additionally, a recent clinical trial showed that topical application of aloe extract significantly increased the effectiveness of acne treatments. As if that wasn’t enough, aloe barbadensis extract has also been shown to help with skin repair during wound healing.

We would like to note that while topical use of aloe extract is a safe and effective, oral consumption should be avoided during pregnancy and while breastfeeding because of potential complications with contractions and infant gastrointestinal distress respectively.

Why Nine Naturals Loves Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract

Cosmetic use of Aloe barbadensis is both pregnancy-safe and highly effective, which is why we’ve made it a star ingredient in many of our products. We’ve taken advantage of its moisturizing properties in our conditioner and body cream, its acne fighting activity in our bodywash, and its ability to speed healing in our regenerative belly butter cream. Although aloe barbadensis extract does so much on its own, it is just one component of these products and you can learn more about all our great ingredients in our Ingredient Glossary.

Finding the Right Shade of Grey

September 22, 2014


Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

5 post-baby work options you might not have thought of.

It’s often the second or third question on any early awkward mommy date: “So, are you going back?” i.e.: Are you worth investing in? Or are you going to disappear the second that the clock strikes 12 weeks?

That question doesn’t have to be as intimidatingly black and white as it may seem–mommies are, after all, officially recognized as the world’s most resourceful species. There are many work gradients in between “all” (head back to work and relish the quiet at your desk–there’s a lot to be said for that), and “nothing” (100% mommy all the time, don’t miss a smile…or a tantrum–which there’s a lot to be said for too.)

Be creative and inventive. A few of the modern evolutions of working mommy life might not be so readily apparent but are absolutely worth pursuing. Here are five.

Your first line of defense:

1) Extend your maternity leave. Postpone reality–and any major decision-making–past 12 weeks. The world looks very different at four or five months than it does at three months. (For one thing, you may actually be getting some sleep.)
How to plan: Ask for the most time possible upfront. A mother who calls to ask to return a few weeks early starts off post-baby work life on a much better foot than one who calls begging for more time at the last moment. Once you’ve verified your company’s official maternity leave policy, explore other options. Can you extend it with sick, personal or vacation days? If it’s financially feasible on your end, is unpaid leave an option? Plan for the most, and cut back later.

2) Ease back in. Many mothers find the return to work less daunting if they can re-enter at least somewhat gradually. At a minimum, try to come back on a Wednesday or Thursday so that the weekend with your baby doesn’t feel quite so far away. Or arrange to work two or three days a week for the last month of your maternity leave.
How to plan: Schedule your return date accordingly, and talk to HR or your boss about a part-time ramp-up period (either at a decreased percentage of pay or by spreading out your remaining days of maternity leave).

3) Find flexibility at your current job. This is the easiest place to seek a flexible arrangement of some sort. You have goodwill and knowledge built up, and the cost of replacing you is much higher than the cost of letting you work an 80% schedule or at home on Tuesdays. In other words, you’re Beyoncé and the rose-scented candles in your dressing room are yours for the asking.
How to plan: No one will know you want those roses if you don’t ask. Most mothers who have been through it recommend asking during your maternity leave, once you have a sense of what you want, but before you return to work. Others highlight making sure that you proactively schedule a trial period or regular check-ins with your boss from the get-go to ensure that the arrangement is working on both sides.

Other options:

4) Look for a new job with an element of flexibility. You work at Bank of Overachievers with long hours and lots of face time, and you just don’t see the flexibility thing happening. The stories of Fridays from home and job-sharing from your friends at Bank of Highly Rational People are just too tempting. It’s time to find something else that suits you a bit more now that you’re a mom.
How to plan: Be wary of the grass being greener on the other side. Your friends may only have those great arrangements because of the goodwill that they built up, and you will be putting in plenty of face time at any new place at the start, regardless of the culture. Head back to your old job and give the whole thing a bit of rational thought from your desk. If it still seems to make sense, MomCorps or MayBrooks can be great resources–these companies help connect moms with jobs that have some flexibility. It’s much easier to interview for something that’s clearly understood to be flexible upfront than it is to ask for flexibility when you’re accepting a job offer.

5) Freelance, consult or take on project work. This is the holy grail for many mothers. Work when you want to. Make it to that morning music class, and head downtown for a meeting in the afternoon. Work at night after bedtime. Don’t accept any projects in August so you can lie on the beach with your baby and rub Butt Paste on sandy diaper rashes. Stay just engaged enough in the workforce that fully on-ramping when Tinkerbell heads off to kindergarten isn’t an issue. There are some downsides, however, that any mother excited to whip out her MacBook at the local Starbucks should be well aware of. Half of the job of any freelancer is looking for the next job. This becomes less of an issue over time as you develop a stream of recurring clients, but networking to find clients early on is time-consuming, and often not at the best times for a new mom (industry happy hours at 5pm anyone?).
How to plan: Again, the devil you know–would your old company be interested in using you in a project-based or consulting capacity? If you’ve been in a client service business, is there an opportunity to work directly for some former clients? (And–a shameless plug–consider Prokanga, which does the time-consuming networking for you, and helps connect qualified mothers with project work.)

The most important thing to remember: there is no right answer. ‘Leaning in’ isn’t for everyone…and neither is ‘reclining’. Explore a few options, and find what works for you. Then tune out the peanut gallery.

This article is by Jamie Cheney courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

A Major Step Towards Ridding Children’s Products of Harmful Toxins

September 21, 2014

Flame Retardants In Children's Furniture

Nine Naturals is based in New York. And oh how we do love New York City. This week, we were particularly proud of our state when Senator Chuck Schumer announced that he is introducing a bill to ban flame retardants from children’s products.

The announcement follows new research released by the EWG and Duke University that found evidence of exposure to TDCPP (also known as TDCIPP), a known carcinogen, in the bodies of all 22 mothers and 26 children tested.

And this study is only the tip of the iceberg.

Nine Naturals has been following research on this for years. Well-intended but poorly designed California legislation to minimize the flammability of furniture – particularly children’s mattresses – has led to widespread use of flame retardant chemicals in homes. Last year, the Chicago Tribune exposed the widespread presence of the flame retardant TDCIPP in children’s crib mattresses.

TDCIPP is part of the chlorinated tris family which were found to be carcinogenic endocrine disruptors in the 1970′s (even before many of us moms were born). TDCIPP has been banned from children’s clothing for most of our lifetimes, but it still appears in household furniture and children’s cribs.

One of Nine Naturals’ raisons d’etre is to minimize children’s exposure to toxins in the womb. On a pound-for-pound basis, fetuses face high vulnerability to the risks of environmental toxins. From the moment your baby is born, their exposure to environmental toxins only rises.

We are thrilled with this week’s news. So cheers from all of us at Nine Naturals to this non-trivial step towards making homes safer for our babies.

Things We’ve Read: Week of September 15th

Pregnancy News Nine Naturals Things We've Read

Sen. Charles Schumer Proposes Ban On 10 Flame Retardants In Kids Products (CBS New York): These chemicals in upholstered furniture and children’s products have been linked to developmental delays and cancer.

Motherhood Penalty, Begone: What Being a Mother Should Say to Bosses, According to Mega-Successful Working Moms (Glamour): What motherhood should say to employers.

Crest Will Eliminate Microbeads From Its Toothpastes (Yahoo! Health): Citing public concern about the beads’ effects on marine and human health, Crest has pledged to eliminate microbeads from its toothpastes by March 2016.

Dramatic British PSA Will Make You Want To Go Home And Read To Your Child (HuffPost): The things that could happen if you don’t read to your child…

Part I: When Mad Men Met a Sedative — How U.S. Doctors Were Duped Into Doling Out a Toxic Drug (HuffPost): The background behind the introduction of thalidomide to pregnant women in the 1950s and 1960s.

Text4Baby expands on SMS success with app, numbers show public health impact (iMedical Apps): The app, Text4Baby, is improving awareness about pregnancy healthcare and improving communication between patients and their doctors.

Glycated Hemaglobin Can Identify Diabetes in Early Pregnancy (HCP Live): Early glucose tolerance tests can identify diabetes in early pregnancy if HbA levels are above 5.9%.

Kids exposed in the womb to plasticizers more likely to have asthma (Environmental Health News):  A new study showed that NYC children exposed in the womb to plasticizers, or phthalates, have a 72% higher chance of developing asthma.

8 Components of the Perfect Dad Brain (HuffPost): The perfect dad brain is a blend of traits from eight awesome movie dads.

10 ‘Mom Activities’ That Are Harder Than Running a Marathon (theStir): Parenting activities that are harder than they seem.


Pregnancy Safe Perfumes: A Mom’s Story Behind Her Creation Of Pour le Monde Parfums

September 19, 2014


Many women consider putting on perfume as an essential beauty step to add a spring in their step and start the day. But what if that beloved fragrance is actually toxic and harmful to use during pregnancy? That’s precisely the dilemma that Wendi Berger, who was then an executive in the beauty and fashion magazine industry, found herself in when she was pregnant. Inspired by her love of fragrances, Wendi created Pour le Monde Parfums, a collection of certified 100% natural, fine fragrances that smell luxurious and are safe to use.

Wendi shares her story:

I Didn’t Know Fragrance Can Be Toxic

“What do you mean I shouldn’t be wearing fragrance?” I said to my health editor. “How could smelling gorgeous be bad for me and my baby?” I knew I was going to be eliminating a lot from my daily routine now that I was pregnant, but perfume? Seriously?

Seriously. I had no idea I was breathing in and putting on fragrant, toxic chemicals all those years, such as:

  • Parabens: A commonly used synthetic preservatives in many fragrances, they can interfere with the production and release of hormones.
  • Phthalates: This popular fragrance preservative is usually highly concentrated in most commercial perfumes. A known carcinogen, health effects may include damage to liver/kidneys, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast development in girls and boys.
  • Synthetic Musks: Studies have shown that several types of synthetic musks not only may disrupt hormones, but traces have been found in: fat tissue, breast milk, body fat, umbilical cord blood, both fresh and marine water samples, air, wastewater and sludge.

Did heavy perfume usage cause my fertility issues? Synthetic musk, an endocrine disrupter, is found in almost every commercial fragrance on the market. Then there are the chemical extenders that can activate allergies. Were these the true source of my migraines? Fragrance also is a big source of indoor pollution and can trigger asthma in young children. Why would I want my baby to breathe this in while growing up?

I Learned That There Was No Legislation For The Word NATURAL

I knew that I had to stop using my favorite scents, but to not finish my wardrobe with a spritz of scent was the equivalent to my leaving the apartment naked. I tried essential oils but the scent reminded me of ground or grass and the application was too oily. Eventually I found a nicely scented body lotion with the words “natural” on the label that got me through the rest of my pregnancy. Afterwards, I learned that it too was synthetic and filled with other toxic ingredients as companies are able to use the word, “natural” on packaging even if the product only contains less than 1% natural ingredients.

It Takes A Mom To Do Something About It. It Took A Fragrance Lover To Make It. 

Frustrated by my search for a wonderfully scented, but truly 100% all natural product, I created Pour le Monde Parfums. The collection is certified by the prestigious Natural Products Association, is certified by and is animal-cruelty free by Leaping Bunny.

The Pour le Monde Parfums (meaning “for the world”) collection took over two years to develop. Our formulas are free of absolutes—a form of essential oil that is extracted by using petroleum ether or hexane—which are considered natural, but not at the 100% level. In addition to being luxurious and safe to use, all three Pour Le Monde fragrances benefit a different charity. 10% of the proceeds from each bottle sold benefits the following charities:

  • Empower: a unisex citrus scent helps Guiding Eyes for the Blind/Heeling Autism.
  • Envision: a sensual lavender, spicy mix benefits National MS Society.
  • Together: a classic woodsy floral supports Cancer Support Community (Gilda’s Club).

As a mom who missed out on that special scent during my pregnancy, I want all moms to make a new fragrance memory around this important time in their lives. We are offering Nine Naturals customers $13 off each bottle of Pour le Monde Parfums Collection. Just use this special code: NATURAL (Hurry! Expires 10.15.14).

Here’s to a safe and healthy pregnancy and smelling beautiful, naturally!

Wendi Berger, Founder of Pour le Monde ParfumsWendi Berger is a former beauty and fashion magazine executive (ELLE, InStyle, Vanity Fair). When she was pregnant, Wendi discovered that the chemicals in perfume could have an adverse effect on her health and her unborn child’s health. Seeing a hole in the marketplace, Wendi was inspired to develop a luxurious collection of safe, all natural spray eau de parfums. After two years of development, Pour le Monde (for the world) the first certified 100% natural fine fragrances was launched.




6 Pregnancy Books You Need To Read

September 17, 2014

Top 5 Pregnancy Books To Read

Walk into any bookstore, scour the shelves in the prenatal/childbirth section, and be both amazed and terrified at the magnitude of books offered for expectant parents to consume. To save you time and money, we’ve hand-selected our six favorite books to read during pregnancy, which cover everything from getting pregnant to soothing a fussy baby. Upon completion of each book, you’ll close the back cover feeling informed, empowered and prepared for motherhood.

Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy

This 500+ page guide book of the pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and newborn stages, expertly written by a team of medical experts from the renowned Mayo Clinic, offers non-biased advice on everything from spotting and pre-natal sex to preparing for labor and post-partum work decisions. Written in the voice of a wise friend, this book contains many valuable features, including: a 40-week pregnancy calendar, week-by-week updates on baby’s growth, month-by-month physical changes for mom, colored pictures, a decision making chart, and a symptoms guide. Although recommended for all moms, first-time moms will especially appreciate this comprehensive pregnancy and parenting handbook.

The Expectant Father

Armin Brott—parenting expert, author and talk show host—presents an honest look at pregnancy from the perspective of an expectant father. He touches on everything from overcoming infertility and taking childbirth classes, to adopting a baby and becoming the father that you want to be, while being both reassuring and funny. The 350+ pages of this modern man’s guide to pregnancy feature expert advice from obstetricians, childbirth instructors, psychologists and sociologists, which leaves expectant fathers feeling more knowledgeable about, and more prepared for, the emotional, financial and physical changes that will occur during their partner’s pregnancy.

The Best Birth

A 20-year veteran of the labor and delivery ward, Sarah McMoyler, RN, has crafted an easy-to-follow guide for expectant parents, especially first timers, who are having a planned hospital delivery. Within the pages of this modern book, McMoyler offers practical, realistic advice for moms, including the importance of labor position changes, vocalization and partner support (both during and after childbirth). Her goal is to prepare readers for their upcoming, unpredictable labor and delivery experience, while encouraging them to be flexible with their birth plans and open-minded with their health care providers. The Best Birth takes you through various delivery scenarios, while reiterating the fact that “any birth after which the mother and child are healthy is a success.”

The Happiest Baby on the Block

Harvey Karp, MD., a successful California pediatrician and assistant professor at the School of Medicine, UCLA, has combined research, ancient wisdom and experience to craft this easy-to-read guide on remedying colic. Dubbed “perhaps the most important parenting book of the decade,” The Happiest Baby on the Block delves deep into the following four principles that Dr. Karp developed to soothe baby’s senses and improve sleep: the missing fourth trimester, the calming reflex, the 5 “S’s” (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking), and the cuddle cure. While infant colic syndrome typically presents itself during the first three months of baby’s life, these tactics can be applied past the “fourth trimester” to aid in calming baby. The Happiest Toddler on the Block, also by Dr. Karp, is a great follow-up book for parents of children ages one- to four-years-old.

Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating A Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home

Christopher Gavigan, Former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, which is the leading national non-profit devoted to protecting children from dangerous environmental exposures, has written a book that empowers readers to “clean up” their daily lives, starting with the smallest of changes. Gavigan consulted over 40 experts, including doctors, environmental scientists, public-health experts like Dr. Harvey Karp, and even celebrity parents like Sheryl Crow and Tom Hanks, to offer a comprehensive approach on greening the home, greening your nutrition, and most importantly greening your pregnancy by switching to natural beauty products and setting up a nontoxic nursery. Readers will also get a 27-page buyers guide, packed with resources to aid in the “going green” process.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Ina May Gaskin, a founding member and former president of the Midwives’ Alliance of North America, gives a comprehensive overview of the practice of natural childbirth in this guide book. Focusing on the midwifery model of care, Gaskin discusses the importance of the mind-body connection of childbirth to empower women in their natural abilities to give birth. The first half of the book is filled with personal narratives shared by former clients, whose stories Gaskin hopes will ease the worries and fears will-be expectant mothers may have. In the second half, Gaskin delivers practical advice on topics such as avoiding medical intervention that may be unnecessary. In this combination, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth offers an alternative view to childbirth practices and is a good read for both expectant moms and expectant dads.

Take your time getting through this list of must read books, so that the information doesn’t overwhelm you, and consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Cravings Made Healthy: Strata

September 15, 2014

strata recipe

Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

Nourish your pregnant or new mama body with teeny tiny foodie’s easy recipe for a comfort food fave.

There are few dishes I love more than a strata. A strata is basically a frittata but with a layer of bread, which makes it a complete dish of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables all in one. It is a really easy and healthy meal to prepare and it is a perfect choice for a pregnant mama-to-be, nursing mama or a star-struck, busy family just bringing baby home from the hospital.

For a pregnant mama-to-be, not only is a strata a healthy way to nourish your growing body and baby bump, but by using fresh vegetables, lower-fat cheeses and whole grain bread, this meal gives baby a super nutritious start and helps to lay the foundation for a lifetime of choosing healthier food options. The same benefits apply to a nursing mama trying to help her body heal while maintaining optimal health for nursing her baby. For a family just bringing baby home, this meal gives everybody in the family healthy energy to keep going during round-the-clock feedings and days and nights that seem to have no beginning or end.

To make a strata, you can use whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand or prefer. If you are able to use vegetables that are local and in season, you will get the most nutritional bang for your buck. I like to use carrots, parsnips or zucchini because, when grated, you don’t need to cook them before adding them to the egg mixture. They will cook in the oven while the strata bakes and save you time on food preparation. Many recipes call for creating a few layers of bread, then the egg and vegetable mixture, and then the cheese, before repeating the steps. Or, you can cut down on the preparation time even more by creating one layer of bread and one layer of the eggs, vegetable and cheese mixed together as I’ve suggested below.

Additionally, you can freeze the strata to enjoy later by wrapping individual cooled pieces in plastic wrap and storing them in an airtight zipper-topped bag for up to 4 months. So this is a great meal to make if you’re thinking ahead to your own bun coming out of the oven.

Simple Strata
Serves 6-8 adults

8-10 slices of day-old bread or ¾ baguette, cut into ¼ inch chunks (You want enough to fill the bottom of a 9×12-inch baking dish)
6 egg whites and 6 whole eggs, whisked
¼ cup milk
3 raw carrots, peeled and grated OR 3 raw parsnips, peeled and grated OR 2 zucchini, grated
1½ cups of shredded cheese (I like to use 2 parts mozzarella to 1 part parmesan, but use whatever you prefer)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Chili powder and/or cumin, to taste

1. Heat the oven to 325° and grease a 9×12-inch baking dish.
2. Slice the bread chunks and spread them in an even layer on the bottom of the baking dish.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and spices.
4. Grate the carrots, parsnips or zucchini. If using zucchini, it is a very wet vegetable so you want to get rid of the excess water after grating it. Do this by placing the grated zucchini into a clean kitchen towel, cheesecloth or a few paper towels and squeezing out the excess water.
5. Stir the vegetables and cheese into the egg mixture and mix well.
6. Pour mixture into the baking dish and bake for 45-55 minutes or until set.
7. Let rest around 5 minutes before enjoying.

Happy Cooking!

This article is by Jory Lieber courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

Things We’ve Read: Week of September 8th

September 14, 2014

Pregnancy News Nine Naturals Things We've Read

How to Put a Toddler to Bed in 100 Easy Steps (HuffPost): The 100 steps it takes to put your toddler to sleep.

NYFW Street Style, Day Five: The Bump is the Best Accessory (Refinery29): Pregnant & stylish women rocking the baby bump all over New York Fashion Week.

Bored Kid At The White House Really Can’t Be Bothered With The President (HuffPost): Sorry, Mr. President!

The New York Times’ Irresponsible Look at Antidepressants During Pregnancy (HuffPost): The New York Times’ article “Pills May Put Babies at Risk” failed to include expert views on reproductive mental health and the research they stated is rather limited.

What Is Hyperemesis Gravidarum? (International Business Times): Facts about hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as acute morning sickness.

Longer breastfeeding linked to better nutrition (Ob Gyn News): Study has shown that a longer breastfeeding leads to less likelihood that children will suffer from ear, throat or sinus infections.

Low Dose Aspirin Effective To Prevent Dangerous Pregnancy-Related Condition (Forbes):  A panel of medical experts found that women at high risk for preeclampsia can reduce their risk by taking a low dosage of aspirin after the 12th week of pregnancy.

Pilot Intervention Eliminates Autism Symptoms in Babies (HuffPost): A preliminary pilot study sought to locate children younger than 12 months with autism symptoms and develop an intervention by changing the way parents interact with the babies.

New Autism ‘Cure’ for Babies Sounds Way Too Good To Be True (CafeStir): The results of the pilot study showing that therapy can eliminate delays for children with early signs of autism may be promising but needs more basis and more conclusive data.


3 Roles Acupuncture Could Play In Your Pregnancy

September 12, 2014

Acupuncture & Fertility

The female endocrine system is vast and delicate. Our hormones can respond to the most- subtle changes in our modern lives. We women often feel like our hormones regulate us – and not the other way around. But, the truth is, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine offer tools that help us understand our hormones and take an active role in regulating our hormones. The science of acupuncture helps elucidate our bodies’ delicate hormone balance and provide a blueprint for lasting symptom relief and optimal fertility.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of ultra-thin, sterile needles into specific points on the body which reside on channels or meridians. Acupuncture improves blood flow and circulation to the reproductive organs and glands. Blood carries oxygen, hormones and nutrients to the developing follicles in the ovaries, uterus and testes; and to the hypothalamus and pituitary glands – thus regulating the hormones these organs secrete, and promoting healthier cycles, egg quality, endometrial and sperm health.

Acupuncture and The Menstrual Cycle

According to Chinese Medicine, the only symptom of a woman’s period should be regular bleeding about every month and not the pain, bloating, acne, and other symptoms that most women experience. Menstrual discomforts arise from hormone imbalance. This imbalance can be caused by a host of reasons, but environmental, lifestyle and stress are usually at the top of the list. What Chinese Medicine strives to do is find the first domino in the symptom chain – and offer individualized therapeutic treatment with acupuncture, herbs, nutrition and lifestyle suggestions to bring the body back into balance and reduce our hormonal “side effects”. It can be extremely helpful in regulating a variety of hormone imbalances – such as: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome; Amennorrhea; Annovulatory Cycles; Endometriosis and Pre-Menstrual Symptoms (PMS).

Acupuncture & Fertility

Chinese Medicine is a proven therapy for treating cases of functional infertility, such as irregular ovulation or idiopathic sperm factors. The most effective way for Chinese Medicine to be used as a ‘primary’ treatment in functional fertility is in adjunct to Basal Body Temperature (BBT) charting. Usually within three menstrual cycles of weekly acupuncture, visible changes in follicular, ovulation and luteal phases can be seen. Within six cycles, pregnancy can be achieved. For male factor, elevated results in sperm count, motility and morphology tests should be expected after three consecutive months of regular treatment. The optimal time to begin using a modality like Chinese Medicine for optimizing fertility is 3-6 months before you’d like to become pregnant. This can resolve cycle imbalances without the stress of timed intercourse and “trying to conceive,” and also lay the groundwork for a healthy pregnancy If you have already been trying to get pregnant for some time, Chinese Medicine can still support you. Treatments can begin immediately wherever you are at in your cycle. Appropriate herbal formulas that are safe for conception can also be provided, along with stress relief and symptom management. Wherever you are at, holistic modalities like herbal medicine, acupuncture, Mayan abdominal massage or reiki can be incredibly supportive throughout the whole process – and improve pregnancy outcomes.

Acupuncture and IVF & ART

Acupuncture can also be used as an adjunct to IVF & ART as it can improve pregnancy outcomes, alleviate stress and reduce side-effects associated with hormone therapy. It is cost- effective, minimally invasive, has no side-effects and will not negatively interact with other forms of treatment. Optimum recommendations for acupuncture during IVF & ART are one- three months before cycling to improve egg quality; pre- and post-embryo transfer to improve pregnancy outcomes; and post-transfer through week 13 of pregnancy to prevent miscarriage. Of course, as with all treatments, consult with your health care provider first.

Erin BorbetErin Borbet

Erin Borbet is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Board Certified Herbalist, Labor Doula and Founded Grow Wellness Acupuncture in 2008, a Holistic Health Clinic specializing in the treatment of Women’s Health Concerns. She secured her Masters in Oriental Medicine from Pacific College and has trained all over the world, including a year clinical rotation at a TCM hospital in Hangzhou, China. Erin and her team offer gentle and effective treatments through the use of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Nutrition consultations at their Midtown Office and through Skype Consultations. Grow Wellness Acupuncture: Email:



Labor + Delivery Options: Give The Birth You Want

September 10, 2014

Birth Options

You will make a series of important decisions during your pregnancy, but none greater than choosing where and how you’ll welcome your child into the world. Sure, family members, friends and even strangers will want to share their childbirth stories and opinions with you, but remember that every childbirth experience is different. Here’s a brief guide to educate you on typical locations to deliver, as well as common childbirth options:

Where To Deliver Your Baby

Hospital: A hospital, the most common place to deliver a child in the United States, will provide you with standardized care led by an OBGYN and/or a midwife. You will deliver your baby and then be placed in the hands of a team of caregivers for, on average, a period of one to five days, depending on your childbirth experience and insurance coverage.

Birthing Center: Led by a midwife, your labor and delivery experience at a birthing center will include more personalized care, including coaching both during and after childbirth. The use of interventions and anesthesia are not commonplace, and most birthing centers cannot provide for emergency care, so it is vital that you have a back-up hospital notified, in case a transfer is necessary.

Home: The least common of all three locations, but rising in popularity, is within the home. Similar to a birthing center, your labor and delivery will be led by a midwife, who will provide you with specific, personalized care. Delivering at home appeals to expectant mothers who seek a comfortable labor and delivery experience, in addition to a natural transition for baby from womb to world. Again, it is essential to have a back-up hospital notified, for neither medication nor emergency care can be given within the home.

How To Deliver Your Baby

Natural Birth: Free of all pain medication, a natural, vaginal birth is achievable with the support of a physician, labor coach and/or partner. You will power through the discomfort by focusing on deep breathing, visualization and body positioning learned during prenatal childbirth classes, thus making you an active participant in your labor and delivery experience.

Medicated Birth: Given during labor, an epidural is regional anesthesia injected into the lower back to provide pain relief from contractions and delivery. While many expectant moms plan for a natural birth, some laboring moms will ultimately decide that anesthesia is necessary. You will have the option to change your mind up to a certain point in your labor; so don’t feel bound to what is documented in your birth plan.

Water Birth: For a planned water birth within a hospital or birthing center to be approved, expectant moms must meet specific medical criteria. Once approved and when the times comes, you’ll labor in a large tub of warm water to help reduce contraction pain. When the urge to push begins, you will remain in the water allowing your baby to experience a gentle, calm transition as he or she enters the world. A physician and/or a mid-wife will be present to aid in the process, especially after childbirth to ensure that your baby is healthy.

Cesarean Section: Although sometimes planned, most C-sections are recommended as a solution to an emergency situation where either mother and/or child(ren) are in distress. A C-section is a surgical procedure used to deliver your baby through a primary incision in your lower abdomen and a secondary incision in your uterus. If no complications arise for either you or your baby, you can expect to stay in the hospital for at least three days post surgery. You’ll feel discomfort at the incision site for many days and/or weeks following your C-section, so try to avoid heavy lifting and bending.

To make the best childbirth decision for you and your child, you must be informed. Keep this information with you as you interview caregivers, visit potential locations for delivery, and create your birth plan. As always, remember to consult with your healthcare provider before making any final decisions!