How to support implantation of the fetus in early pregnancy is one hot topic in the fertility world right now. Is it even possible to support implantation? What makes implantation successful? A healthy, properly functioning uterus, healthy ova (egg) and sperm, as well as balanced hormones are of utmost importance. Even if the ova and sperm are healthy and pregnancy is progressing forward in the very early stages quite normally, the new blastocyst still must make its way to your uterus for implantation. Once there, it must imbed itself into the wall of the uterus for implantation. Implantation is necessary so that the fetus, placenta, and amniotic sac can begin to form in a safe environment.
Some women struggle to maintain pregnancy due to implantation problems. There have been a variety of names associated with this pregnancy issue; slippery womb, irritable uterus, spastic uterus, and so on. Sometimes implantation problems can be directly linked to fertility problems such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, Asherman’s syndrome, autoimmune disorders, and uterine fibroids. But what if you don’t have those issues and you are still having problems? There are some very specific herbs and other natural therapies that may help secure implantation. These ideas may also benefit those women who have the fertility problems I just mentioned and have been shown safe to do even if you have any of those problems I listed.
How to Support Implantation
Calm the Uterus with Specific Herbs
A calm uterus is one that works best. Calm does not mean weak. A uterus that is calm works accurately and efficiently in all aspects of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. For hundreds, possibly thousands of years by Native Americans, the use of specific herbs have been shown to calm the uterus. Today, modern herbalists continue to rely on these herbs to prepare the uterus for pregnancy, reduce or eliminate cramping, inflammation, pain of the reproductive organs, tone the muscles of the uterus, relax the nervous system and, in some cases, prevent miscarriage and aid in securing pregnancy.
The uterus can be a mystery in its workings. The uterus is made up of layers of muscles, and it is one part of the female body that is most likely to spasm and cramp, causing pain. Uterine spasm and pain do not just happen in labor; in fact, many women experience painful menstruation known as dysmenorrhea each month.
The following herbs, when combined in a liquid extract, may greatly help prepare the uterus for implantation and support the uterus in sustaining pregnancy, thus helping to prevent miscarriage. It is important to note that miscarriages due to random genetic defects are nature’s way of helping to ensure healthy babies. Miscarriages due to this reason are meant to happen and the body will miscarry despite any sort of efforts on behalf of the mother or health care provider’s support. In the case of recurrent miscarriage or failed IVF due to dysfunction of the uterus, including weak uterine muscles, spastic muscles of the uterus, inflamed uterus, or the presence of foreign tissue growth within the uterus, which may cause implantation problems, certain herbs and natural therapies may help.
Uterine Calming Herbal Blend
Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus)
Used traditionally as a preventative for recurrent miscarriage. This herb has been shown to reduce spasm of the uterine muscles and ovaries. Specialists in complementary and alternative medicine, Dr.s Tieraona Low Dog and Marc Micozzi share in their text Women’s Health in Complementary and Integrative Medicine: A Clinical Guide of how Cramp bark works to relieve uterine irritation, relax the muscles, with specific action on the uterus as a smooth muscle antispasmodic. This herb slowly relaxes the nervous system as well. This combination of actions may help prevent miscarriage in women with a history of miscarriage.
Some herbalists consider Cramp bark a bit less effective than its close relative Black haw (Viburnum prunifolium), but I find them both very effective and interchangeable, plus they work well in combination. I consider Cramp bark and Black haw to be “sister herbs.”
Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium)
Black haw and Cramp bark are considered among the most important uterine antispasmodics. These herbs have the ability to relax smooth muscles, for example: intestines, uterus, and airway. They also are relaxing for striated muscle as well. These are muscles attached to the skeleton, like the ones in your limbs.
I personally feel this herb is one of the best herbs to have on hand at all times for any sort of menstrual pain. Another beneficial use may be for threatened miscarriage. It has been used for hundreds of years to help prevent miscarriage. If there is uterine cramping without cervical dilation, Black haw and Cramp bark have been used to help stop uterine spasm, contractions, bleeding, and nervous tension in early pregnancy. Black haw has also been reported to help strengthen a weak cervix.
“In threatened abortion it is our best remedy.” -Fred J. Petersen, M.D. published in The Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics, 1905, of Viburnum prunifolium
Trying to conceive can be stressful, worry about implantation is stressful, and the nagging questioning of possible miscarriage is even more worrisome. Both of the above herbs have a mild sedative action, aiding the body in reducing anxiety, nervous tension, and irritability, while promoting a sense of calm and well-being. They are not so sedative you will be knocked out; they just help to take the edge away.
Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens)
This herb is toning and supportive of the tissues of the body, mainly the uterus, ovaries and urinary tract. Partridgeberry is often used in the case of a weakened uterus due to lack of menstruation, pelvic stagnation (related to many fertility problems), previous surgical procedure to the uterus, and hormonal imbalance. Partridgeberry is helpful when the woman is experiencing painful cramping, uterine spasm, bleeding, and/or passing of blood clots in the first trimester of pregnancy.
The Eclectic physicians used this herb for a century to relieve false labor pains, as it is a tonic for both the nervous system and the uterus. The Eclectics learned the value of Partridgeberry through the Native Americans, who had been using it for hundreds of years to prepare women for childbirth. Traditionally it was given to mothers daily for 2 months prior to expected time of delivery to prepare them for childbirth.
In 1911, physician Eli G. Jones claimed he always used Partridgeberry as the main herb in his remedy to prepare his clients for an easy labor. Jones states, “In my own practice of forty years I have never used the forceps or had a pair in my possession. During that time I have attended three hundred cases of confinement and have never lost a woman during or after her confinement. I have never had a case of laceration of the perineum or puerperal convulsions in my own practice although I have seen them in the practice of other physicians. Why did I not meet with such cases in my practice? Because I always put the woman under the proper course of preparatory treatment, before the expected labor.”
After reading this you may be wondering, how does this relate to miscarriage? It relates because it shows that this herb does not bring on labor, it is safe for pregnancy, and it helps to make the uterus strong and efficient. In fact, herbalists, American midwives and Native Americans have used Partridgeberry in pregnancy for years, with no adverse effects to mother or fetus. According to Dr. R.S. Clymer, Native American Indians use Partridgeberry to ensure proper development of the fetus.
If there could be one herb that stands out in its benefits for helping to prevent recurrent miscarriages due to weak uterus, Partridgeberry is it! Partridgeberry helps the uterus to work smoothly and efficiently, aiding in proper function of the uterus. This does not mean it is going to stimulate contractions, it simply means it is going to help the uterus to function as best it can. In the case of miscarriage due to a spastic, dysfunction of the uterine musculature, it is going to help calm the muscles of the uterus, promote relaxation, thus aiding in prevention of miscarriage. Partridgeberry is excellent for women who have experienced miscarriage in the past.
Oat Flowers (Avena sativa)
The fresh milky tops of the oat plant are extremely nourishing to the central nervous system. Only the fresh tops of the Avena sativa plant bring about real change in the body. This plant is great support for stress related fertility issues. It has been shown to help support function and health of the central nervous system. Oat flowers are effective for PMS, mood swings, sexual weakness, adrenal fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic immune deficiency, autoimmune disorders, chemical sensitivities and sleep disturbance. This herb is really one of the best herbs for long-term stress support.
The Eclectics used this specific part of the oat plant for over 150 years to treat emotional instability, anger, stress, depression and “shattered nerves”.
Important Caution for Oat Flower: Persons with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance must check with the manufacturer of the product they purchase to make sure there is no cross contamination of gluten during the manufacturing process.
Uterine Calming Blend: General Suggested Use
The combination of these herbs is very balancing for the reproductive organs. When the above herbs are used together, they are both cooling and warming, creating a balance within the body. This blend may be helpful for preparing the uterus for implantation, preventing miscarriage due to overactive uterus and uterine cramping without cervical dilation.
These herbs have been shown safe to use in the first trimester of pregnancy, while the mother is under the care of an herbalist, ND, midwife and/or doctor that supports the use of natural therapies in pregnancy. They would be best used beginning 3 months prior to pregnancy, in preparation for conception and pregnancy, and then continued 2 weeks past previous miscarriage. For example, if the last miscarriage was at 9 weeks, the formula should be continued up until the 11th week of pregnancy.
According to the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, Black haw, Crampbark, Oat Flowers and Partridgeberry are all considered safe for pregnancy based on their use by experienced herbalists and pregnant women for centuries.
Eat Pineapple After Ovulation
While there is no scientific evidence to back this, or even clinical observation of this working; this suggestion is sworn to work by hundreds of women all over fertility forums. The information is so rampant, I could not hesitate to share it with all of you. It is very safe, easy to do, and easily accessible.
Bromelain is a Protease plant enzyme, found in the core of the pineapple fruit. Bromelain is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to increase cervical mucus and promote optimal immune system function, which may help prevent implantation issues (common for women who have inflammatory fertility-health conditions).
“Conception and implantation require an intricate shift in the immune system, specifically a shift from TH1 immune cells to TH2. Basically, this means conception requires an anti-inflammatory shift. It is possible that bromelain helps with this shift which allows implantation to occur…” shares women’s-health specialist, Naturopathic Doctor Elise Schroeder.
To support implantation, beginning on the day of ovulation, eat 1/5 of a fresh pineapple core. Eat 1/5 of fresh pineapple core over 5 days total, each cycle you are ttc. Only the core of the pineapple will do. While the flesh is so tasty, it is the core that is packed full of bromelain. According to the women who swear by it aiding in their successful pregnancies, many also state it should not be used past the 5 days, as this may inhibit implantation. At first, I thought this was crazy, but the more stories I read and the more I researched the anti-inflammatory support bromelain provides, I began to think, “There just may be something to this.”
Additional Supportive Natural Therapies
Consider including the following herbs, supplements, and physical therapies to prepare and strengthen the uterus to aid in implantation prior to pregnancy. Each of these are best done for 3 months prior to pregnancy, to help prepare the body for pregnancy.
- Self Fertility Massage
- Castor Oil Packs
- Red Raspberry Leaf
- Fertility Yoga
Other Supportive Therapies to Learn About:
- Petersen, F. J., MD. (2010). The Materia medica and clinical therapeutics. Nabu Press.
- JONES, E. G. (2015). DEFINITE MEDICATION: Containing therapeutic facts gleaned from forty years practice (classic… reprint). S.l.: FORGOTTEN BOOKS. Chapter XIX. Special Remedies for the Pregnant Woman. Retrieved from: https://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/jones/pregnancy.html
- Viburnum Opulus (U. S. P.)-Viburnum Opulus. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/kings/viburnum-opul.html
- Lowdog, T. and Micozzi, M. Women’s Health in Complementary and Integrative Medicine: A Clinical Guide. hurchill Livingstone; 1 edition (August 12, 2004).
- Barton-Schuster, D., CH, Doula. (n.d.). Menstruation Cramps: Benefits of Cramp Bark and Black Haw. Retrieved from: http://natural-fertility-info.com/menstruation-cramps-benefits-of-cramp-bark-and-black-haw.html
- What your baby looks like at 3 weeks. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.babycenter.com/fetal-development-images-3-weeks
- Avena Sativa. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/petersen/avena.html
- Franca, O. (n.d.). The Pineapple as Implantation Aid. Retrieved from: http://conceivewithpineapple.blogspot.com/
- Bromelain. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/bromelain
- Westfall, R. E. (2001). Herbal medicine in pregnancy and childbirth. Advances in Therapy, 18(1), 47-55. doi:10.1007/bf02850250 Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02850250
- Winston, David and Maimes, Steven, Adaptogens Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, Healing Arts Press, 2007
- Partridgeberry Mitchella repens by Susun Weed in Planting the Future: Saving Our Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar and Pamela Hirsch, pg. 182-190, Healing Arts Press, 2000
- Shinde, Poonam; Patiil, Pankaj; and Biragi, Vinod. Herbs in Pregnancy and lactation: A Review Appraisal. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 2012; Vol. 3(9): 3001-3006 Retrieved from: http://ijpsr.com/bft-article/herbs-in-pregnancy-and-lactation-a-review-appraisal/
- Pineapple and IVF Success- It’s all about Embryo Implantation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.blossomclinic.net/2013/05/30/pineapple-and-ivf-embryo-implantation-ivf-success/
- Barton-Schuster, D. (n.d.). Fertility Herb Partridgeberry for Miscarriage Prevention & More… Retrieved from: http://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-herb-partridge-berry-for-miscarriage-prevention-more.html