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Improving Your Fertility With Compassion With Aimee Raupp

Welcome to Episode 3 of Season 7 of The PCOS Revolution Podcast:

Improving Your Fertility With Compassion With Aimee Raupp

This week on PCOS Revolution Podcast, I am having a conversation with Aimee Raupp. Aimee is an acupuncturist and knows a lot about PCOS and the right ways to prep for pregnancy. She’s a renowned health and wellness expert and Author of Chill Out and Get Healthy, Yes, You Can Get Pregnant and Body Belief. She holds a Master’s degree in Traditional Oriental medicine as well as a Bachelor’s degree in biology.

When first starting out, Aimee began a general practice. She realized most women have hormonal issues, and most conditions stem from a hormonal issue. Aimee has a passion for helping women address their symptoms and improve their lives and loves to see the lab numbers reflect this.

Aimee believes everyone needs to prepare for pregnancy. Many of us prepare for marriage, buying a house and many other things yet we think we can just stop taking the pill and get pregnant. It’s actually not recommended that you get pregnant right after going off birth control pills.

During this episode, we chat about emotional inflammation and its importance. It is just as critical as physical inflammation. We also talk about a holistic approach to treating a patient, high testosterone and pregnancy, how to go about preparing for pregnancy and undoing toxic damage. We also dive into the topic of trauma. If we can pass down trauma, we can pass down healing.

Learn more about Aimee, her journey and how she helps her clients get healthier and feel better on this episode of The PCOS Revolution Podcast.

READ the entire transcript here:

Read Full Transcript

Farrar Duro
Hello everyone and welcome back to the PCOS Revolution podcast. Today I’m here with Aimee Raupp, who’s a licensed acupuncture physician and a renowned women’s health and wellness expert, and also the best selling author of the books “Chill Out And Get Healthy”, “Yes, You Can Get Pregnant” and “Body Belief”, She is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and private practice in New York. She also holds a Masters of Science degree in traditional oriental medicine from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Rutgers University. I’m so happy to have you here, Amy, I’m excited to speak to one of my colleagues, we don’t get to speak to a lot of acupuncturist, sometimes on this show, and especially when so knowledgeable in women’s health. So, welcome to the show.

Aimee Raupp
Thank you so much for having me. I’m honored to be here, and fun to talk shop with another acupuncturist.

Farrar Duro
Yes, it’s exciting. I feel like the word is finally getting out that acupuncture and Chinese medicine are beneficial for PCOS and it’s great, because not only first cycle regulation, but also for having a healthy pregnancy it’s really what we focus on, it’s not just the part of getting pregnant, but having a healthy pregnancy as well. As we know, with PCOS, there are some roadblocks as far as preparing for pregnancy and trying to really do all that you can. Tell us a little bit about why you got into women’s health and working with fertility, what inspired you?

Aimee Raupp
Well, I’ve been in clinical practice now, it’ll be 16 years, at the end of 2019, which is crazy to think about. I just started the general practice when I first started practicing, and just was super passionate about any health condition. But what started to come to me, client after client was that mainly women were seeking out alternative medicine, especially 15-16 years ago, and most women have hormonal issues, most of their conditions stem from a hormonal issue. It just started to be what I was treating. I was a scientist and a researcher before I became an acupuncturist. I’m not gonna lie, I think I really like to see numbers change on a lab, and I like these very tangible results and Chinese medicine gives a very subjective analysis, and how the patient’s improving on the subjective measures. Sso with hormones, I could see a PCOS patient, I could see testosterone decreasing, or for a fertility client, I could see estrogen shifting or FSH improving or AMH improving, and that was very exciting to me.

Aimee Raupp
As I started to learn more, I had my strong Chinese medicine background, and I had a western medicine background, but then I really got into nutrition as well. When I started to coupe all of that, together, I really saw shifts in my clients and fast and it just automatically became the thing I treated rather than I didn’t really seek it out, it just started coming to me. Then I start to get known for helping balance hormones or helping balance women preconception, so they would get pregnant faster. Another thing from a Chinese medicine perspective, which I know you’ll relate to is that I had read the books on balancing hormones from a Chinese medicine perspective, and I had taken the courses on treating PCOS or treating fertility from a Chinese medicine perspective. And one thing I noticed was that if I just solely focused on what I was taught in those classes, I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. But rather, if I focused on the whole picture and treated this patient very holistically, the way we’re trained in Chinese medicine school and looked at everything single component, they got better and fast. And, you know, I noticed that too, with my clients that will come to me for digestive issues or anxiety issues, that once they tried to conceive, they got pregnant a lot faster than the girls that I was solely focused on helping them get pregnant, right? It taught me a lot to really step back and really practice our medicine the way we were taught to practice it rather than compartmentalizing it, like Western medicine practitioners do. It’s still my passion, it’s tremendously rewarding to balance someone’s hormones, and you really changed their life. And that’s tremendously rewarding.

Farrar Duro
Definitely. I know you’re in Manhattan, so you must see a little bit of older population, I mean, not old, but definitely not 25 or 30 years old seeking to get pregnant.

Aimee Raupp
I see a whole range, I do tend to get more and more women that are preparing for pregnancy, because their friends have had challenges, or they’re coming into it, really wanting to get all their ducks in a row, because they don’t want to be faced with challenges, strictly out of fear, and maybe what they saw friends go through or what the media talks about all the time now. I am seeing a downward trend in age, however, yes, I see a lot of executive type women very strong career women that their careers have come first for the last 20 years, and now they are in the late 30s, early 40s and want to get pregnant. I see a lot of that, which was the route of writing my book, “Yes, You Can Get Pregnant” because that’s what I saw. In Chinese medicine, we talk if you live in accordance with the Dow, you should be able to conceive later in life, even into your late 40s. And I think we adjust that a little bit these days and age, I think 45-46 is pretty doable for a natural pregnancy, if one really takes it seriously living in accordance with the Dow. But that’s really what inspired “Yes, You Can Get Pregnant” was all these women living in fear that they missed their boat, and they didn’t freeze their eggs early enough. And they’re never going to get pregnant. IVF is the only option or donor egg is the only option. I really want to change that conversation, because I think there are a lot of things we can do to prepare at any age, no matter what, you should prepare for pregnancy, we prepare for buying a house, we prepare for our weddings, we prepare for all these other major life decisions. And yet, we still think that we can just stop taking the pill and get pregnant the next month without a child.

Farrar Duro
Now we know that’s definitely not advisable either.

Aimee Raupp
Not at all.

Farrar Duro
More and more research comes out about high testosterone and how that’s affecting pregnancy as well for women with PCOS. I feel like that’s even more of a reason why to address the hormones prior to getting pregnant. Because it feels like we don’t know everything but we do know every time some research study comes out showing that yes, you do need to work a little bit more on balancing hormones and optimizing your health prior to getting pregnant. I don’t think that there’s anything that will disprove that, so it’s always a good idea. And what do you recommend, because I know Chinese medicine, when I studied in China, it was basically targeting a lot of women in their 20s. As far as all of the old fertility protocols of herbal medicine and that sort of thing. I always tell our patients, while we have to do a little bit more than just give you an herbal formula for a year and say, take this for a year and come back, if you’re not pregnant, the way it has been done. We have to do a little bit more since our patients are older. What do you feel is the first step when someone comes to you who is let’s say, over the age of 35, who perhaps does have PCOS, and who’s looking to get pregnant within the next year?

Aimee Raupp
I still individualize the case, no matter what, just depending on their presentation. What are their cycles like? Are they eating regularly? What’s their BMI? Is it in a healthy range? What’s their lifestyle? Are they sleeping enough? Do they exercise too much or too little? Right? I still always do, as I’m sure you do, my intensely detailed intake to really understand the whole picture, because as I always say, I could have a 25 year old who’s more unhealthy than a 45 year old, it doesn’t matter. At least I see that the whole system has to be looked at holistically, and I try to move at the pace of my client, but I agree with you, when they are approaching 40, or in their 40s I say something similar, where I’m like, Listen, we have to be a little more aggressive about this case, and we can still do it, but these are the things, it’s not just Chinese herbs and acupuncture, it’s diet, it’s lifestyle, it’s supplements, it’s meditation you know, it’s exercise, sleep patterns. Especially with PCOS I find that sleep is so imperative and sleeping in complete darkness, New York City super hard for that, but everybody gets the blackout shades, and they wear the night masks and things of that nature. I think really important, especially today’s day and age is your bath and beauty products going non toxic with them, because of the endocrine disrupting chemicals, foods being organic, non genetically modified, all of these things, these are the extra steps we have to take. Because in our 20s, I think we can get away with these toxins, they haven’t yet accumulated to a mass in our bodies. But as we approach our 30s, and especially our 40s, we really have to undo all that damage. It is a more aggressive approach ad for a minimum of 3, 6, 9 months, it just kind of depends on the case.

Farrar Duro
Do you recommend any detox programs or anything like that? Or do you just start with detoxing your house?

Aimee Raupp
I have in both “Body Belief” and then “Yes, You Can Get Pregnant” pretty detailed lifestyle recommendations, I have elimination diets and will detox bath and beauty so I give them lists of things to avoid and list of things to incorporate, which I try to make it easy. I have my Aimee approved list of like, here’s all your bath and beauty products, so I make it super easy for them. Diet wise, it just depends if I got a PCOS girl or an endometriosis girl, which we can say majority of women with fertility challenges probably have one or the other. I automatically put them in the autoimmune category, I automatically put them on my body belief diet, which is basically an autoimmune paleo. I’ll have them do an 11 day purify phase. I’ve prepped them, they can prep for a week to two weeks, three weeks, whatever sounds wherever they’re at in their diet, slowly remove things like gluten and dairy and soy and sugar and night shades and nuts and beans, all of them. Then they go through 11 days of a purified phase, which is a very basic diet of protein, vegetables, fat, healthy carbohydrates, lots of bone broth. And then we move into the reawaken phase where we slowly reintroduce foods. But typically in that purify, in the early reawaken, which we hang out, and about for three weeks, they’ll see dramatic shifts in their health and in their hormones and in their cycles. We also learn through that because as you know, certain people are triggered by gluten, and some are by dairy, and some are by nuts, and some are by beans. And not everybody is everything. We kind of have to figure out their trigger. My mental approach is all about reducing inflammation physically, nutritionally and emotionally and coming at it from that perspective.

Farrar Duro
So it is true, because a lot of these tests out there, they’re not the most accurate. I mean, I’d say the best way to know if you’re sensitive to something is the elimination, it’s the only way.

Aimee Raupp
I asked every doctor under the sun when I was researching body belief, I talked to every functional medicine doctor that I know and trust and that you guys know and I’ve heard of, and every single one of them was like those allergy tests are bogus, they don’t really ever show you anything, no one can really outwardly state that in their eyes, their platform sometimes because of relationships maybe they have with companies or things of that nature, unfortunately, but the hands down surefire way to know for sure is you got to do an elimination diet. I think Cyrus has some decent labs that you can like double check yourself with if you want but eliminate and, what I find too is that clinically, when I get them to commit the elimination diet, they feel so empowered, because they’re doing something really good for themselves and they see the change in their body, and then when they deviate or “cheat”, which I don’t really like that word, but that’s the word they’ll use. They feel it. And it’s a game changer for them to like, Oh my god, I had gluten. I had pizza yesterday, I can barely get out of bed and then I had diarrhea for half a day. I got a pimple, and you’re like, Okay, see, there’s your answer.

Aimee Raupp
I’m not an extremist in the sense of like, I might sound extreme right now. But that that’s the first three, four weeks is kind of what I do with my client, but then I say, Okay, listen, we’ve learned what works for your body and what doesn’t. Now everything in moderation, ideally, 90% of the time you’re following this kind of diet, but you’re allowed to have deviations here and there and they shouldn’t completely set you back. I know other people maybe disagree with that. But I do think we also have to make this livable. And if I’m talking about reducing emotional inflammation, I don’t want to add to emotional inflammation to start hating their diet and hating the things they have to do to balance their hormones. So to try to get people to enjoy the lifestyle, but then also know like, okay, on Fridays, I get to go out to dinner with my partner and I can eat whatever I want, and typically what you see is they start to do it less because they notice the impact of the foods on them. I do think you have to, even if I got a 25 year old with PCOS I’d also recommend her to be super aggressive because the sooner you get to manage it, the better. And PCOS has some serious implications if not well managed. There’s argument now that it is an autoimmune condition, you’re definitely going to wind up with more autoimmunity, you’re probably going to wind up with diabetes if you don’t manage it, you’re going to wind up with gestational diabetes.

Aimee Raupp
Once you get pregnant, you might have miscarriages, and I don’t mean to sound Doomsday, but it is a serious condition that has systemic impacts. This isn’t just about fertility and hormones and a regular cycle. This is a systemic issue and so is endometriosis. I work with a well known autoimmune fertility doctor, he always says to me, you manage the autoimmunity with diet and lifestyle, I’ll help get them pregnant. But how he sees my work is for long term health, if we’re going to get these women pregnant, we want them to be able to be playing with their children 15 years. I always joke that my job really isn’t to help you get pregnant, my job is to get you into the healthiest version of yourself so that you can have a healthy pregnancy and bring that child into a healthy home and then live a healthy life with that child. I don’t think that concept is completely caught on to the population. I want that positive pregnancy test. And I don’t care about anything else.

Farrar Duro
So good, and I hope that all of you listening right now know that, and I know that you do know, but we do have patients that we come in contact with quite a bit, who will say, I got pregnant naturally so I’m good, right? My daughter doesn’t think that my PCOS is an issue. And it’s like, it is an issue because we can measure your inflammation, we can see it right here. You’re pre diabetic, there are changes we have to make. And yes, you can get pregnant with PCOS naturally, all the time. But that is half the battle.

Aimee Raupp
I think that’s a good point to touch upon is like it can happen and listen, even if you aren’t really on day 40 you could still get pregnant, I feel like that’s something PCOS girls know, like, I have PCOS, girls that will have like 100 day cycle, and I get them down to a 50 day cycle. So they’re still operating on day 34, 36. And guess what, they can still get pregnant, we’ve made enough of an impact, right? It’s not about getting to this perfect 28 day cycle, which you and I know doesn’t really exist. I mean, everybody fluctuates from there, it’s really just about getting the body back into balance. Inflammation is key to manage before you get pregnant, because there is a lot of research as well, that shows the higher amounts of inflammation in your body when you do get pregnant impacts the health of your child and their likelihood of issues down the road, so this is not just about you, it’s about your children, and it’s about your children’s children. I think that’s work to me, the emotional peace comes in of like, how in your power are you to think about motherhood from this grander perspective that this is not just the short term goal, this is impacting your family for generations. And so to take it quite seriously.

Farrar Duro
Yes, and I read this amazing book on introverts, I wish I could remember the name of it, but it actually talks about the whole thing about breaking the pattern and your family, emotionally as well. And certain, certain times I find that people I know that have PCOS, do have that quality as well of kind of pattern interruption. They’re deciding, you know, what stops with me. In my case, my father is diabetic and I made a conscious effort, when I found out I had PCOS to really exercise and eat well, and even if I didn’t want to, and I still don’t want to sometimes.

Aimee Raupp
I think that’s to have like breaking that pattern in a compassionate, forgiving type of way, we can approach it like, food becomes the enemy, or we can approach it like food becomes, are these lifestyle choices as well become the way to support and nourish ourselves. And to just being easy on ourselves too. Because if we do think about that auto immune component, and I talked about this a lot in “Body Belief”, and you’ll understand this from a Chinese medicine perspective. Autoimmunity is when the body begins attacking itself for unknown reasons and creates antibodies. And there’s research that shows in PCOS patients, we have an antibody to the Granada trope and releasing hormone receptor in the body which is actually they think may be at the root of them the kinetic hormone goes berserk, over creates testosterone, and there you have this metabolic issue.

Aimee Raupp
But to take it back one step further from like a spiritual, esoteric emotional perspective, if the body is attacking itself on a physical level, I really strongly basket you, where are you attacking yourself on an emotional level, it’s like emotional inflammation is just as important as regulating as physical inflammation. And that’s part of that family story that you want to shift to, right? Because our parents mean the best. I try to approach life that everybody’s doing the best they can from their level of consciousness, and no harm was intended. But we can unlearn those patterns too, right? Do you know that there’s this level of maybe trauma or healing that they were going through, and they’re going to pass that on to us, and we’re going to be able to heal even more than they healed in their lifetime? And then we pass that on to our children? I do think that perspective is a really important one to to contemplate and look at, I posted something on Instagram the other day about it, almost like that transgenerational thing, if we can pass down traumas, we can pass down healing, we can do that. It’s one in the same with just another side of the coin. Right?

Farrar Duro
Definitely. And I think that the reason why what we do is so powerful is because it affects people’s life forever. I think that it’s life changing to actually know, and it’s very empowering to say, I did reverse my insulin resistance, I was able to lose weight, all those things that you did, it’s not anyone else but you. It’s so empowering, that that’s something you can help your children that they do have a little bit more of a greater risk factor for your daughter to have PCOS, and you’ve had PCOS, and you already have the tools, how great is that, and especially as they hit puberty or teenage years, you can actually really make a difference, and I teach them. I really think that it is a journey, and it’s not an overnight process. But if you’re listening, and you are considering seeing an acupuncturist, or trying to look at herbal formulas, and that sort of thing to start with, I think it’s great to find someone like yourself, who really works with pregnant women and works with infertility on a day to day basis. And who probably understands reproductive hormones. We know that Chinese medicine is very helpful for so many things. But I think it’s very helpful to have that additional understanding as well.

Aimee Raupp
I agree, I feel like I always say this too in the clinic that like, I could just treat you with acupuncture and put some herbs in the mix, based on your pulse and your tone and the diagnosis I come up with, which is the traditional way to do it. But I do feel like if we do it just that way, we’re doing a disservice to our clients, especially in this day and age when there’s so much information out there on nutrition and supplements and lifestyle. Also we’re abandoning some of our training, if we don’t incorporate these lifestyle and diet changes. In the end, unfortunately, I do see a handful of acupuncturists out there who don’t recommend dietary changes or supplements or aren’t staying on top of their clients. If you follow the recommendations from the diet and the supplement and the lifestyle, you will see faster and greater results from the Chinese medicine, from the acupuncture and herbs. I always say it because the body is cleaner, it’s easier for the two to move, so I’ve kind of eliminated the inflammation and now the acupuncture and the herbs can be a lot more effective. But if you’re eating a poor diet and foods that are continually causing inflammation, and I give you herbs on top of it, you’re not even going to absorb the herbs, you’re absorbing, like 20% of them. That’s just a waste of your money and your time. I feel like, for me, that’s a disservice. I think to all acupuncturists out there that your responsibility is to also understand nutrition and how it impacts things, understand supplements, and if you don’t refer out for that, but make sure your client is getting that care as well, specially PCOS. PCOS is, so it’s so imperative that their diet is well balanced with a lot of protein, and healthy carbs and healthy fats.

Farrar Duro
For sure.

Aimee Raupp
It is so important and no alcohol if you can’t. I mean, alcohol just seems to just wreck PCOS patients, eating in timely manner, there’s just so many things that we know about insulin resistance, or even non insulin resistant and PCOS. That was how I learned, right, that’s probably how you learn to or have just like a little backwards at times, I would get a patient with PCOS and I’d go to like my Jane Littleton book, and then I’d go over here, and I was like, This isn’t totally making sense. Everybody says boys are fooling one, but that’s not right, it’s the Chinese herbal formula. That’s not her case. And so then I was like, oh, there’s this non insulin resistant type, oh, there’s like this skinny PCOS patients, we learned about it so differently in Chinese medicine, like, there was the cysts, and they’re very flimsy. And there was just one kind of approach and then now in the modern times, to really you have to be on top of your game and understand all of the environmental influences and how to best work for your patients.

Farrar Duro
Definitely. If you read the classical text, the first thing is they say food is medicine, food is the first medicine.

Aimee Raupp
My client, colleague and friend, Nicole Jordan, I always quote her, she says, you cannot supplement a crappy diet, and it’s true. It’s just like, and even in like the physicians Desk Reference they say 15% of supplements are absorbed by the body. So you got to buy good quality supplement, you have to think about that. Basically, if you’re eating a diet that your body can’t absorb, or digest or transform properly, those supplements are waste of your money and your time. You got to work on your diet first and your food should be your primary medicine and your primary foremost, supplementation. And then we add on top of it, but even for me and my clinic, I mean, all the supplements I recommend are actually food so just kind of put into pill form, that’s how I try to approach it

Farrar Duro
Definitely, if you could recommend a resource for someone that perhaps wants to know more about with definitely are going to list your books also but a real helpful resource for someone out there who you know is kind of sinking

Aimee Raupp
We created an opt in for you guys. It’s my PDF on how to get an 80 grams of protein a day and that is really key for PCOS West points, If you go to www.aimeeraupp.com/80grams we divide that free option for you guys. So you guys can have that and I think additional resources beyond that. I think my book “Yes, You Can Get Pregnant” is a great place to start. And if you want to learn more about me www.aimeeraupp.com, and I also host weekly Facebook and Instagram lives on Thursdays at noon, where I’m always talking about different women’s health topics, and a lot of them are hormone related. I have a ton of resources, if you can head to my website, and you’ll see that we have a fertility quiz, we have a fertility starter kit, and we have this 80 grams of protein opt in for the PCOS, women as well.

Farrar Duro
Very good. Well, this has been so inspiring and helpful. I think that we’re living in a time where there’s just a whole lot of options available, I really think that we need to change the way we think a lot about our diagnosis with PCOS as you think about it, as an opportunity. That’s what I always try to emphasize.

Aimee Raupp
That’s it, it’s all an opportunity to not get too lost in the identity of it, but rather use it as a means to empower yourself. I always say PCOS of all of the conditions, I feel like it’s pretty easy to treat, so don’t be hard on yourself. We know so much, and there’s so much you can do to empower yourself and to radically shift your health and beyond just taking spiritual lockdown and Metformin. There’s so many things that you can do. You want to do, too, for your long term health. I hope you don’t get too overwhelmed by the diagnosis and rather use it as a means to really educate yourself and empower yourself.

Farrar Duro
Sure. Thank you so much, Aimee. I really look forward to reading your books and looking at your website a little more. I’d love to jump on a facebook live with you one day, it’ll be really fun.

Aimee Raupp
I love it. All right. Thank you.

Farrar Duro
And thanks, everybody for listening. Have a beautiful week and I look forward to talking with you next week.


Episode Spotlights:

  • Why Aimee got into women’s health and working with fertility ([1:37])
  • Treating a patient holistically ([4:02])
  • Preparing for pregnancy ([5:08])
  • Changing the conversation around pregnancy ([6:15])
  • High testosterone and pregnancy ([6:55])
  • First step for someone over the age of 35 looking to get pregnant ([8:08])
  • Undoing toxic damage ([10:05])
  • Elimination diet ([13:00])
  • Impact of PCOS if not managed ([15:07])
  • Inflammation management ([17:32])
  • Where are you attacking yourself on an emotional level? ([20:02])
  • Unlearning patterns ([20:38])
  • Recommendations and resources ([26:42])

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

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About the author, Farrar

Farrar Duro here, reproductive acupuncturist at Florida Complete Wellness and founder & host of The PCOS Revolution, a cutting-edge podcast where I interview PCOS experts and cysters who share their pearls of wisdom on how to kick PCOS symptoms to the curb once and for all!

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