Optimising Ovarian Reserve

Ovarian reserve refers to the number of eggs or follicles a women has left in her ovaries. This decreases naturally with age but for some women (roughly 10%) their ovarian reserve is lower than expected for their age (known as premature ovarian aging). A lower than expected ovarian reserve may be caused by ones genetics, environmental stress factors (such as smoking) and other emotional or physical stressors. Tests to measure ovarian reserve include the anti-mallerian hormone (AMH) test, FSH test and antral follicle scan.

Ovarian reserve is just one indicator of fertility and does not tell you any information about the quality of each egg or your reproductive system. Each egg takes about 4 months to mature and be ready for ovulation -during this time it's super important for the egg to be well nourished by the ovaries; this will increase the integrity of the DNA which decreases the chance of birth abnormalities, it will support the mitochondrial development to ensure the egg has enough energy to develop once it becomes fertilised to improve your chances of conceiving and carrying a healthy baby.

Here are some simple steps you can take to improve egg quality and optimize ovarian reserve:

  • Rest and relaxation especially during your period.
  • Reduce your stress levels and do regular exercise.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, smoking, too much sugar or fatty foods.
  • Eat a diet rich in anti-oxidants - this means lots of fresh, healthy foods, preferably organic, to reduce oxidative stress on the body.
  • Chinese dietary advice recommend eating eggs, avocado, mango, pears, sweet potato, pomegranate and other Yin nourishing foods.
  • Regular acupuncture treatment can support blood flow to the ovaries whilst nourishing the yin and blood.

For more information about fertility and how acupuncture may help -please contact Deborah at Wholebody Acupuncture, Plymouth.


Deborah Tanguy BHSc, MBAcC
Lead practitioner at Wholebody Acupuncture and a registered member of the British Acupuncture Council with a special interest in treating women's health and injury recovery.