Our discussion about holistic modalities would be incomplete without the inclusion of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. These techniques have existed for centuries and more and more women around the world have used them to help them conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. Acupuncture is even used in some New York Hospitals to facilitate a smooth labor. I sat down with Alexandra Garcia, one of the presenters at the Fertility Fair this Saturday, October 8th.
Jamie: Alexandra, tell me a little about yourself? Alexandra: I am a doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine. This allows me to use a number of modalities - herbal medicine, cupping, bodywork, and acupuncture - to support my client’s in achieving their health goals. I’ve worked in dedicated acupuncture clinics and in typical hospital settings. This experience has give me the perspective to appreciate our good fortune to live a place where we have the ability to mix and match from various medical systems based on our goals and preferences. In my work as a doctor of acupuncture I encourage patients to learn about all their healthcare options so that they have the power to make decisions based on their personal values and expectations.
J: How did you come to work in reproductive health?
A: In my last semester of grad school as an acupuncture student, I had the opportunity to do a clinical shift at NYU Langone - Brooklyn’s Labor and Delivery Unit. It was such an incredible experience and I’ve actually been working there ever since. It set me on the path to focus my practice on perinatal care. But a real turning point came for me later when my wife and I started thinking about having children. She’s a full time birth doula so, between the two of us we’ve spent a lot of time learning about pregnancy, but hadn’t dealt too much with the “how to get pregnant” question. As two healthcare professionals we, of course, preceded by doing a deep dive into answering that very question. We organized community groups, talked to midwives and OB’s, went to panel discussions, and read stacks of academic and not-so academic books on the topic. And it was a real eye opener. In our own journey to become parents, there have been all sorts of emotional ups and downs; discoveries and disappointments. But there’s been so much growth and empowerment through this journey. And this is what draws me to this work professionally. I want to share with my clients that sense of power behind understanding your body and your choices.
J): What surprises you the most about working with people in the midst of reproduction?
A): Fertility and the desire to have a baby is such a poignant topic. It can be so overwhelming that it feels easier to just turn yourself over to a medical “specialist.” - And if you’re at the point where you need that support, it can be a real blessing to have access to it - But so many people jump to a place of substantial financial and medical intervention without realizing the spectrum of options available. I guess we spend so much time in school learning how not to get pregnant, that when we decide we’re ready - if it doesn’t just happen right off the bat - many of us realize that there’s a whole lot about baby-making that’s still just a big mystery to us.
J): In your experience, what is the most important thing that everyone considering becoming a parent should know?
A): Learn to listen to your body and trust your intuition. Both of these are skills that take time and practice but it’s worth it. It puts you - not your fears and anxieties- in charge of your decisions. It allows you to be the expert of you; not just in terms of knowing your body, but also judging the who, what, where, and when’s of your healthcare choices.
Wise advice. Thanks so much, Alexandra. To learn more from Alexandra and our other presenters, please join us this Saturday at the Fertility Fair.