BIRTHFIT Podcast Episode 93 Featuring Jennifer Mercier
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Hello, BIRTHFIT. Happy 2018. This is Dr. Lindsey Mathews, your BIRTHFIT founder. Today on the BIRTHFIT podcast, the one and only BIRTHFIT podcast, I have a super rad woman, Dr. Jennifer Mercier, and she’s going to talk to you all about this practice, this protocol, this method that she developed. She is the creator of this method. It is called Mercier Therapy, and it is designed as a soft tissue manipulation of the abdomen. I hope I did not butcher that but those were the words that came to my head immediately. I have seen many women that either had endometriosis, trouble conceiving. Maybe they had any type of abdominal surgery prior. They were going down the conception route and had troubles. These women have had success using this therapy, and those practitioners that are trained in this therapy. There’s not a ton of practitioners but hopefully there will be more in the future. We’re lucky in Los Angeles that we have a handful around us but I would strongly encourage you that if you are a midwife, if you are a chiropractor, if you are an OB-GYN, if you are a massage therapist, acupuncturist, anybody with a professional hat that you wear, to check this method out, Mercier Therapy, and I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
Before we get into the episode, I just want to share that I absolutely love whenever I get to have a conversation and talk with people that are living out their dreams, their passion and from the moment that I said, “Hello, how are you?” to Jenny, I could feel that she is living out the path that is designed for her. It is such a beautiful thing.
Before you get to enjoy the episode, a few things. The BIRTHFIT Professional Seminar in Atlanta is sold out. There is a wait list and it’s about ten to twelve deep. If you’re on that wait list or you are trying to get into Atlanta, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s probably not going to happen. So sign up for another professional seminar in a different location. I promise you it will be just as groovy, just as fun. The BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar in San Francisco is sold out. The BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar in Houston, Texas may have two spots left. That one is happening in February. After that, we’re going to Nashville, and then later in the spring, we will be in Northern Virginia. Be sure to check those seminar dates out, sign up and get in where you fit in.
Side note. Many people ask us if we are returning to a location after we have been there for the year. Unfortunately, no. Many of us work in an office. We have different roles like moms, Air Force captains, things like that in which we have to schedule our calendar almost a year in advance. Our goal is to have eight to ten professional or coach seminars a year. That means eight to ten professional seminars or eight to ten coach seminars. If you did not get in on BIRTHFIT Atlanta, unfortunately the professional seminar will not be back to Atlanta for 2018. Just keep that in mind, especially for those that are thinking about applying to be a regional director. This seminar, either the professional or the coach, those are required to apply to be a BIRTHFIT regional director. Be sure to attend and get your booty in there.
Side note. Regional director applications will be due for the 2019 year. They will be due September 1st through October 31st of 2018. That’s basically nine months. You have nine months to gather all the application documents, details, complete any certifications that you’re missing. Make sure your CPR is up to date, stuff like that. September 1st through October 31st is when we will open applications and accepting those back in. Write that down. We have to move up the date, just had to. September 1st through October 31st, last time I say that.
One more thing, we will be travelling to Europe this summer for the BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar. We will be doing two seminars while across the pond. Be sure you’re signed up for the BIRTHFIT newsletter where you can hear the announcements about us releasing the dates and locations of those seminars. First, BIRTHFIT newsletter, sign up for that.
Now, you can enjoy the episode with Dr. Jennifer Mercier, as she’s an educator, practitioner, healer and author. Enjoy.
Can you tell everybody who you are and what you do in two minutes? But then we’ll dive right in.
Jennifer: I’m Jenny Mercier, and I’m a naturopath and midwife. I currently practice and focus most of my attention on fertility, but I also focus on pelvic pain and trauma recovery like sexual abuse trauma recover, C-section recovery, post C-section work. Backing up a little bit, I was a home birth midwife for 12 years and attended so many families that way, which was amazing during that time of welcoming a new baby into their family. It’s awesome. But then, once I was married and faced with my own fertility challenges due to sever endometriosis, I felt like I’m going to use my own therapy on me because I’m being told I need IVF. Certainly do IVF if you need it, but I really felt in my heart that I did not need it. So I had my students work on me and we conceived the next cycle, which was really unbelievable and divine at the same time.
Mercier Therapy is a deep pelvic organ visceral manipulation. We work directly on the uterus and the ovaries. We can’t feel tubes through the tummy. Tubes are like little, tiny hairs. Unless you have super ultrasonic fingers or something, you’re not going to be able to feel the tubes or see the tubes, but you are being mindful of addressing all of the pelvic organs including the bladder and the tubes and all of the surrounding structures just by working on the uterus and the ovaries. It’s awesome. It’s good stuff.
Lindsey: I’m going to back you all the way up. How did you get into midwifery?
Jennifer: Sure. I’ll just back up even further than that. My undergrad years, I was studying clinical nutrition and premed with the full intention of going to med school doing an OB-GYN residency into fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology.
Lindsey: You knew at that time you wanted to go the OB-GYN route?
Jennifer: I knew it from when I was in high school. I just felt like I needed to serve women. I just had that calling.
Lindsey: Good for you.
Jennifer: It was awesome. A lot of people don’t really heed that calling. Right out of high school, I took a job with Reproductive Endocrinology clinic called The Center for Human Reproduction here in suburb outside of Chicago. I was monitoring IVF cycles from stem to retrieval of eggs to transfer of embryos. I was also doing pelvic ultrasounds and semen analysis and IUIs and endometrial biopsies. I was doing a lot of stuff when I was 19 and 20 years old. Isn’t it wild?
Then I saw how the system was very flawed and it didn’t work, and it was making a lot of money but it was in essence kind of ruining people at the same time from an emotional and a physical standpoint. So I decided not to go right into med school. My last year of college rather, I decided to go to a massage therapy, school which I did, and I loved it. In body work for the child-bearing year, I learned about doulas and midwives, and I’m like, we have that? That’s clearly where I need to be. That’s what I dove into and became a doula first and a midwife secondary.
I trained with Shari Daniels down at the Miami Beach Maternity Center in Miami. I also worked with her at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. It was amazing. And then I also went on to the Casa de Nacimiento Birth Center in El Paso, Texas. And then I had my own home birth practice here in Illinois, a totally illegal state for midwives unless you’re a nurse midwife. I practiced with a great nurse midwife for a long time. We partnered up here and it was magical to be with these families. Anyway, during that time though, I continued to study and I entered into a Naturopathic Medical program. Because I was already a healthcare professional, I got an advanced standing into an ND program. I finished that while I was still working as a midwife.
So fast forward today, I can’t be a midwife anymore because I’m not in a really good state to be one and practice that, but also, I am a single mom of a six-year old and a three-year old. To be on call, there’s no way. I’ve been actively practicing exclusive fertility and pelvic care since 2011-ish, and it’s just been awesome. I’ve written research. I’ve made a documentary film. I wrote a book. I’m working on book number two. The work just never ceases to amaze me. It’s unbelievably healing and offers so much hope to women that have either gone through medical fertility and failed, or currently preparing for medical fertility treatments, or really have been given no hope by anybody. I know what that feels like. So here we are. I will do this work until the last breath I take.
Lindsey: You found your calling.
Jennifer: I did, I so did.
Lindsey: For anybody listening, can you explain what Mercier Therapy is?
Jennifer: It’s deep pelvic organ manipulation. We’re working to optimize the functioning of all the pelvic organs by enabling organ mobility and restoring blood flow. I very rarely come across a patient that has never had pelvic surgery. They’ve had something down, whether it’s a D&C, a C-section, a hysteroscopy, a laparoscopy, a laparotomy. They’ve had something done or they’ve had an ectopic pregnancy rupture or they’ve got a hydrosalpinx tube or some things just going on. That’s scar tissue, right? Scar tissue is fibrous and gritty, and it glues everything together and you want to increase mobility because ultimately in life, things move. When they’re not moving, they’re losing their life.
Lindsey: That makes sense.
Jennifer: Doesn’t it though?
Jennifer: Let’s keep it simple. Let’s get things moving. It’s great. That’s what Mercier Therapy is.
Lindsey: Keep it simple. Keep it moving. I love it. I guess you have a number of instructors on your site there, but do people usually find you when it’s like, “Okay, I’ve lost all hope, I’ll try anything.” That’s sometimes how they show up in a chiropractic office. What would you say are the major contributors or reasons behind fertility issues?
Jennifer: This is an actual statistic, 60% of all fertility challenges are unexplained totally. I would say in the other 40% is endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome so anovulatory cycles, maybe prolactinoma and just other like amenorrhea and women that just there’s something going on endocrine wise. The thyroid being off just a little bit is good enough birth control for the body. You’d ask me when do I typically see women, and really, I see a really good ratio of women that have failed multiple medical attempts whether it be like numerous Clomid cycles or Clomid IUIs or injectable IUI or injectable on their own with timed intercourse and trigger of ovulation or failed IVF attempts. Women that don’t want to go anywhere near the medical model and just want to do it naturally. I see women also too that are of advanced age and they’ve been given zero hope by the reproductive endocrinologist. It’s so interesting these ladies when I take their history and I read their records, they typically do have a lower ovarian reserve but that’s to be expected with someone that’s over 35, even over 40.
All the data shows that we shouldn’t be putting a woman through a super ovulatory stim cycle because she’s going to be a poor responder. But we’re doing it all the time and are we doing it for patient satisfaction initially or are we doing it for revenue or what are we doing it for?
Lindsey: Probably revenue.
Jennifer: Yes, it would be option B.
Lindsey: I would go with that. It’s really frustrating.
Jennifer: It is, it is. And I’m not against medicine. There’s a time and place. IVF is great for someone whose tubes don’t communicate with their uterus, that’s super. For instance, I had a woman come to see me who actually electively aborted two pregnancies pretty far into the second trimester, after learning that the first baby she was carrying had Trisomy 18 which is non-compatible with life. And then the second pregnancy, and honestly just a fluke, these are two natural pregnancies. Second pregnancy is Trisomy 21, which is Down syndrome, right? Her husband was not feeling good about that. So they electively aborted two pregnancies and went right to IVF so that they could have the PGS testing, which is the genetic testing on the embryo. They do have a healthy, little boy now, but we prepared her for the IVF cycle. She got pregnant the first IVF cycle and had her child a nice vaginal birth, a healthy boy. But still, there is a time and a place, and I’m not advocating abortion either or termination of pregnancy. It’s to each his own, like this couple really is very precious, and they contemplated what they were going to do.
Lindsey: We have choices, so let’s talk about them all instead of just the medical ones. There’s like a number of women going through my head right now that I can ask you about their particular cases and stuff. I want to talk about endometriosis because that’s like a common, common thing. I’m thinking of somebody right now who’s been an athlete. Hey cycle is regular now. At one point, it wasn’t. She’s in her early 30s, trying to conceive, and basically she hasn’t gone an alternative route. She’s only seen the Western med route. They’ve diagnosed her with endometriosis. You don’t know this person for anything, but like how would you typically go about a case like that just in general?
Jennifer: A diagnosis of endometriosis means that she’s had a laparoscopy because that’s the only way you can diagnose endo is by going in with the laparoscope, sampling the tissue, a very skilled surgeon is going to be able to spot it without any hesitancy. Right there, she’s had a surgery so she has scar tissue. Endometriosis is endometrial tissue adhering to the outside of the organ structures and the surrounding structures like musculature. It’s weeping, because it’s hormonally sensitive tissue, it’s weeping each time a woman has a period. She’s bleeding outward and those hormonally sensitive patches of tissue are bleeding on the inside of her pelvic and abdominal cavity. That’s causing more scar tissue. I would definitely go in and I would start manipulating. She probably wouldn’t like me very much for the first and second session because this isn’t pelvic massage. It’s not a spa treatment. It’s something that’s very therapeutic but very intentional. I would work and I would have her use an herbal formulary called Turska’s Formula. I would have her do that. I would have her use that for one full month along with the manipulation, and then I would monitor her cycles along with her.
But I tell you, endo is a big, bad bear and it never goes away. It just gets worse. To tackle it and be aggressive about it from a nonmedical perspective is what I do and what I would do for her.
Lindsey: How often would you see her, like once a week, twice a week?
Jennifer: My protocol is written for six hours of treatment, no matter what you’re bringing to me. It’s one hour a week for six weeks, or I offer a program where women have come in from out of the country and out of the states to see me for the six-hour protocol but we can wrap it up in four days. It’s 90 minutes of treatment each day.
Lindsey: It’s so intense.
Jennifer: It’s super intense but it works just as well as the six-week treatment.
Lindsey: Are there any I don’t want to say side effects because that sounds like drugs. I’m sure women are sore as you move things around, nauseous and things like that. What could somebody expect after a treatment session?
Jennifer: Sure. You said nauseous and that’s absolutely one of the effects after receiving treatment. So nausea because we’re moving toxic fluid out of the pelvis as well, and we’re initiating that process of moving lymphatic fluid as well. Nauseous and headache but sleepiness. Fatigue is huge with this work. Especially the women that come here from out of state or out of the country to do treatment with me, they’ll go back to their hotel. I’ll give them a slew of things to do while they’re here and I’ll ask them the next day when I see them, “What did you do yesterday? Did you go to that restaurant? Did you go to that juice bar?” “No, I went back to the hotel and I slept the rest of the day. I was so tired.” That’s great because if they can get that rest then, then they’re allowing their body to handle the process.
But also, some other interesting effects are urinating more because you are moving that fluid around and trying to push it out, but you are also making more space for the bladder especially if the uterus has been in an odd position. Hugging it too tightly or moved too far away from it, stretching the bladder in an odd position, women will want to urinate more. But then also, when you contact the ovarian surface, you’re initiating the process of making estradiol which lubricates the vaginal walls. Women could feel a little more sexual, too after treatment. Those are the things I see most common. The headachy, nauseous, fatigue kind of stuff, it dissipates after the first treatment, but that sexual kind of feeling, it seems to prevail which nobody is complaining about. I mean, why not?
Lindsey: Yes, keep it going. It’s awesome.
Lindsey: I had a number of clients that had LEEP procedures. This was like a hot thing, I I think, in the late 90s, early 200s. I don’t know if they do those anymore, but what’s your take on those? I’m like totally jumping around.
Jennifer: No, it’s okay. LEEP procedure, it’s a conization of the cervix to remove dysplastic cells, pre-cancerous cells mostly from HPV. They’re still being done. The procedure, it’s minimally invasive. You’re under anesthesia. You’re having that cone, that piece of cervix taken out. Moving forward, after having a LEEP procedure, the cervix is very thin, so women will probably need to have a cerclage put in place so they can hold their pregnancy. Otherwise, that cervix starts to thin out and open up too quickly and miscarriage, second and third trimester miscarriage if they’re not watched too closely. From my perspective,, it’s still surgery so you still have had surgery on your uterus, and that cervical os becomes locked down from scar tissue. When I work the uterus and someone has had a LEEP, you’re still providing more blood flow to where there are scar tissues and that can only be positive.
Lindsey: Okay, those are like the two most common things I’ve heard in the last few years. I have one client. She’s not in California with me, just like a distant client, but she might be an anomaly. She’s never had any surgeries that I know of that she’s shared. They are thinking about going the IVF route because they’ve tried and tried for two years and they’ve tried the Clomid cycles. She could do Mercier in conjunction with IVF, yes?
Jennifer: We would do the Mercier Therapy prior to her starting a stim cycle for IVF.
Lindsey: Okay. What does that look like? How would that pan out?
Jennifer: When you’re starting an IVF protocol, you’re on suppression first, whether that be the birth control pill or Lupron or both. What they’re doing is cycling 20 other women along with you. They’re shutting down your natural menstrual cycle and they’re cycling you with the group of women because they’re going to retrieve the eggs and do the embryo transfers all around the same time, all within three to five days of retrieval and transfer. It’s got to be within that three-to-five-day window. They’ll shut you down and then they’ll slam you hard with FSH injections. They’ll be monitoring you with ultrasound to measure follicular growth. They’ll also be looking at the estradiol levels. And then once those eggs are nice and big, those follicles are nice and big, they’ll retrieve the eggs. We’d never work on a woman that is going through stim. We don’t want to risk rupturing any of those follicles. We work prior to stim start.
Lindsey: What about after? Nothing?
Jennifer: Nothing, not even after retrieval because the ovaries are very hemorrhagic at that point for being poked with this giant bore needle to retrieve the eggs. We don’t want to cause any hemorrhaging. And then she goes to embryo transfer for three to five days after retrieval. Then we just let it be. Really, once she’s done the protocol, she doesn’t need to do it again unless she’s had pelvic surgery, which would create more scar tissue or some sort of accident that involves the pelvis and displacing the organs again. But once it’s done, it’s done.
Now, if a woman comes to see us for primary fertility challenges and ends up with a C-section and has trouble conceiving the second time, then we would repeat the entire six hours. Because C-section scar tissue is very invasive.
Lindsey: I was thinking could you just do it whether a mom wants to get pregnant again or not for C-section?
Lindsey: That’s good.
Jennifer: It is good. You know what? I’m hearing a lot now of women who are 50 and 60 years old who had C-sections way back yonder, and they’re having trouble with their bowels. The C-section scar tissue is actually extended as high as the small intestine, and it’s like strangling with small intestine. So then the surgeon has to go, resect the scar tissue away from the bowels, but everything is on lockdown. It’s all on lockdown with scar tissue. It’s got to be worked on. Just as you’d have shoulder or knee or hip surgery and you go to therapy afterwards to rehabilitate, you have to have pelvic rehabilitation as well, and I firmly agree on that.
Lindsey: Yes, 100% agree. That’s what I was just thinking. This sounds like every person that has had a Caesarian birth needs to be doing this.
Jennifer: Agreed. I am the midwife that prepared for a home birth and ended up with two C-sections.
Lindsey: You had your students work on you, correct?
Jennifer: I did to get pregnant. But then, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was under the care of one of my colleague midwives. She determined at 39 weeks and two days that my daughter was persistent breech. We tried Webster’s, we tried acupuncture. The next step was external version and she was so wedged up under my ribs that she just was not moving. Now, she’s 39 weeks and four days and she’s getting bigger. I ended up with a C-section. I would have loved to give birth vaginally. It was a really hard recovery. But then, I tried the VBAC with my son and my water broke on its own at 38 weeks, went into the hospital. Nobody does VBACs at home here in Illinois. Nobody does. Nobody does them here.
I went in and my medical director Kevin Hussey who’s a great OB-GYN practice. He’s very much like a midwife. He’s like, “Yes, you’re doing well and you’re confirmed that your sac your ruptured.” And 16 hours later, I was still on the same place, dilated to four and not moving. I needed to have another C-section because my kiddo was hung up so high with his short cord wrapped around his neck twice. I can say if you need a C-section, you need a C-section but the recovery is really tough. You do need to have rehabilitation following a C-section for sure.
Lindsey: And there’s none of that in our country.
Lindsey: You probably already have research and everything on this but every woman who’s had a Caesarian, like you just said, it would greatly affect their health later on in life.
Lindsey: Whether it’s bladder issues, menopause, anything.
Jennifer: Sexual issues, because we have no problems with sex in this country. None at all. We have major sexual issues and trauma and just oddities. Like it’s not normal and natural here. It’s just something. Yes, sexual function, normal pelvic organ health function. Even if you plan to go on and have more children, great, but you need to have that rehabilitation. You need to have that movement because your bladder becomes adherent to the lower uterine segment just from that scar tissue.
Lindsey: Yes, for sure. You said it like if you relate it to another surgery, whether it’s shoulder surgery, ACL surgery, Achilles surgery, they know right away what your rehab PT looks like. So write this down. I could talk for hours to you, but I want to jump around to the important subjects. You mentioned that you have a film out. Tell us about this film.
Jennifer: The film is called Fertility: The Shared Journey with Mercier Therapy. I wanted to shout it out from the rooftops, this amazing work that I’m doing. I am not one to toot my own horn because this work is a gift from God, and I believe that I am in service of women to just serve my fellow sisters, honest to Pete, really. That’s a Midwestern thing by the way, that honest to Pete thing.
Lindsey: Yes, I’ve heard Lauren say that.
Jennifer: I made a movie because I figured, people throw brochures away. They throw stuff away all the time. They’re not going to throw away a film. I’m going to spread the word far and wide. For me, it’s not about making millions of dollars. It’s about getting the knowledge out there because guess what? I’m one of those women who had fertility challenges and has stage 4 endometriosis at an early age and didn’t know how to control the pain. I’m like, yes, go big or go home, and I did. I funded my own documentary film. It was awesome. I filmed for a year and a half and I had a crew. We sent the crew out Maine to get an interview from Tom Myers, who wrote Anatomy Trains. Tom is in the film. And then we shot on location here in Illinois. We did street interviews. It was just really fun to get people’s perspectives on what would you do if you were in a fertility challenge? Almost every street interviewee was saying IVF, IVF, IVF and I would say off camera, “Do you know what IVF is?” “No, not really.” “OMG. Really?” The film has been great. It is circulating.
Lindsey: Where can people find it?
Jennifer: The best thing to do is to go to my practice website and click on the link “Watch the Film” or they can go to MercierMovie.com and they can watch the trailer. They can rent the film there if they want from Amazon. Food Matters TV also has it. Food Matters TV is like Netflix but for documentaries that are more geared towards health and healthful living.
Lindsey: That matter.
Jennifer: Yes, yes, yes. And these lovely people at Food Matters picked up my film from Film Buff who is a worldwide sales and distribution company out of New York. They picked up my film, they acquired it and they projected it far and wide back in September. I get emails from around the world and it’s just magical just how diverse these women are and how much they’re yearning for a different way. It’s just such a gift, Lindsey. It’s been such a gift.
Lindsey: I love when people find their calling. It’s pretty rad.
Jennifer: Isn’t it? Yes, it’s good.
Lindsey: What if somebody wants to become trained in Mercier Therapy? What do they do?
Jennifer: MercierTherapy.com, all of the events are listed up there, all the dates. I’m currently working on doing a class in the EU. I get emails all the time. I did a class a few years ago in Copenhagen, Denmark, and it was really good. That class was packed and we had a waiting list. It was just really awesome. So I need to go back and those people. I’m actually working with a chiropractor in Amsterdam who is helping me facilitate the class in Amsterdam. Yes, you just go to the website. All the curriculum is put right there. You can read it and see if it calls to you. And then you would email us for your registration, and then we’ll get you set up into one of our classes.
Lindsey: Awesome. How long is it? Is it like a three-day course?
Jennifer: Here is why I changed the curriculum. It used to be a three-day, 20-hour CE class and you’d get everything, the entire everything from gynecology to endocrine to fertility to pregnancy to everything. I was finding that maybe the fertility component needed to be on its own because it is so heavy. It’s so much. When you train with me, you’re going to be learning about the Shared Journey Fertility Program, which is what you have to use in your practice if you want to offer fertility care along with Mercier Therapy. It’s got to be called the Shared Journey Fertility Program. If you’re going to offer that, I want you to be able to talk to couples and be well versed about the medical treatment that they just went through. And if someone rattles off the name of a drug, I want you to know what it is.
Lindsey: That would be helpful.
Jennifer: Absolutely. If they say they had an HSG, I want you to know what an HSG is. I changed it up for 2018 because I felt like the curriculum was a little heavy and maybe too short of a time to learn it. Now, I have taken the fertility component out of the three days. The three days already has enough, believe me. You will learn and learn and learn and learn and learn in three days. People always say at the end of the class, “We’re done already? That’s unbelievable that it went that fast.” And I said, “I know, it always does.” So it’s going to be its own certification program. It’s going to be an additional two days with a written exam at the end of the two days. We are going to touch on nutrition, and yoga, meditation, religious beliefs surrounding medical fertility. We’re going to talk about all of the pathologies and hormonal issues, endocrine issues that you’re going to come across in your practice concerning fertility. It’s going to be very well-rounded. I’m adding more, it’s just going to be awesome.
Lindsey: Yes, it sounds like. I want to take this just to have all this knowledge.
Jennifer: Come on over, sister. You’re welcome anytime.
Lindsey: The whole week, whatever it is. Mercier Summer Camp.
Jennifer: Yes, that’s my dream. I’m just kidding.
Lindsey: That’s amazing.
Lindsey: When people take this training, do most of them have the touch background like maybe chiropractic or massage or PT or any of that. Do people come in learning how to palpate?
Jennifer: Most of the people that come to my training are licensed professionals. They have a license to put their hands on people. Like you just said, chiropractors, massage therapists, PTs, naturopaths, I get midwives, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, MDs, there’s a good smattering of licensed professionals. However, a doula, a yoga instructor, a Pilates instructor, they’re not licensed professionals, but they still do take my class and that’s completely fine with me. The more, the better, honestly. The more, the better out there, the better, right?
Lindsey: The more the knowledge is shared. I just do house calls in Los Angeles now, and I don’t have the practice. I don’t know what the future will hold, but it definitely hopefully has information like this in it so I could share that with somebody that calls or whatever. You’ve got to check out the Mercier Therapy or look for somebody in your neighborhood. That’s huge.
Jennifer: It is huge. You know what? When I get emails or I have an assistant, Natalie, usually answers all of my emails for me, which his fantastic. She will guide a person who is out of state to the list to see if there’s someone in their geographical area. If there isn’t, then we welcome them to come here to Illinois to do the four-day treatment protocol. Mercier Therapy is a big family. It’s not just about me. I do everything that I do including making my film for everyone that trains with me. Not only it’s a great, and I hate to say it, marketing piece but in essence, that’s what it is. Because it showcased our work and it explains this is what Mercier Therapy is, this is what we do. It’s for everybody. It’s not just for me. Spread the word far and wide is exactly what the film is doing. If there’s someone in a woman’s area that’s more convenient for her to travel to versus a two-hour drive or a plane ride, then so be it. Let it be so for her to be cared for.
Lindsey: Like you said, it’s marketing. You have to use that as marketing because big, bad media is marketing on the other side, like the pharmaceutical industry, things like that. We literally have to market for ourselves.
Jennifer: We do, and we don’t have big pharma behind us. We don’t have academia behind us either. I funded the film myself and I’m okay with that. I haven’t made a penny back from it yet. I don’t care, it’s fine with me.
Lindsey: It’s getting the word out.
Jennifer: That’s right. It’s completely fine so I’m good with it. I want to make another one. I do, I totally do.
Lindsey: What’s going to be in the second film?
Jennifer: I met his beautiful film maker. She’s Irish. She’s from Dublin. I met her when I was in Costa Rica in October. She’s taking a year sabbatical off of her work. But once she’s back in Ireland, they said, “All right, Dell. We’re going to make a film and it’s going to be about IVF all around the world.” She’s like, “Okay, I’m in.” I’m like, “Okay, great.” Because now, medical tourism to India to do IVF is insane. I don’t know if you know anything about it.
Lindsey: No, what’s going on?
Jennifer: Insane. Women go and they do a quick stim cycle, get retrieved and transferred like in record time. I don’t know about you, I don’t know what your audience has read, if they’re read anything at all, but IVF takes time. We don’t need to be ramrodding these ladies in Speedy Gonzales timing.
Lindsey: Is it just cheaper over there if they do that?
Jennifer: So much cheaper. You could do an IVF cycle for $4,000. To not be very good for your ovarian, breast and urine and vaginal health overall, like over time. I don’t know. No one’s doing that study. It doesn’t make money for anybody. But like really, we should be really thinking in that direction. That’s probably not good is my guess.
Lindsey: Yes, not safe.
Jennifer: Not safe. I would like to maybe do some exposure work and unveiling and just not to say IVF is trash. But just to show that even in Denmark, the women, they don’t get any kind of anesthesia for their egg retrievals. They’re on the table having this giant needle go through their vaginal wall to puncture their ovary to retrieve their eggs, whereas here, women are put under twilight anesthesia.
Lindsey: That just sounds painful.
Jennifer: It is.
Lindsey: What the reasoning behind that? Because they don’t want to administer more drugs than they have to?
Jennifer: I don’t exactly know. I do get a lot of Danish students here for classes because I did the training in Copenhagen. They come here because they’ve missed the training in Copenhagen, and I would definitely go back to Copenhagen and train because it was an amazing, amazing place. Yes, I don’t know exactly the reasoning. Maybe it’s to save money because they’re on the National Health System. Because the anesthesia is costly but it’s also barbaric to not give a woman anesthesia and do an egg retrieval. So who knows what it is?
Lindsey: Where is the best country to do IVF right now?
Jennifer: The States, definitely the States. I’m working with a clinic exclusively now that I refer patients to. It’s called VIOS.
Lindsey: In Chicago area?
Jennifer: Yes, they’re amazing. It’s headed by Dr. Angie Beltsos. She’s got an amazing group of female reproductive endocrinologists. They’re also tender-hearted and sweet and kind and caring. They’re just an unbelievable group of lady doctors.
Lindsey: So, the States. That’s interesting.
Jennifer: Yes, it is. I know it’s crazy to say, but there are definitely better clinics than others. I mean there are some here that are just giant cattle factories. But then, this one that I’m talking about that I work with, they are just very genuine and they’re just good and they’re very honest, which is sometimes difficult to find too when you’re talking about a $20,000 cycle per patient.
Lindsey: I was just about to ask you if you know of any good, nice clinics anywhere else in the US.
Jennifer: I can’t say yes with great certainty because I have not worked with them directly so I wouldn’t feel comfortable referring. Like I said, I do get women from all over the country that come in and they have not had great things to say. I can honestly say, no I don’t. But the doctors or the practitioners that have trained with me, I always tell them to make nice in the sandbox. Bring some cookies in to this practice or just go and meet and let them and let them know what you’re doing. I certainly hope that they’re out there doing that because that’s the only way to spread the word and to say, “Hey, I don’t do what you do. You don’t do what I do. Let’s work together to optimize the cycles for women.”
Lindsey: Yeah, 100%.
Jennifer: I would hope that they would be able to guide that their client/patient to a good reproductive endocrinology practice if it became necessary.
Lindsey: What’s one of two things somebody, like a woman or her partner, they can look for when they’re like I guess interviewing an endocrinologist or going down that route.?
Jennifer: Most of their practices are standard. They’re going to take you through a cycle of investigation. They’re going to look at some cycle day 23 labs. They’ll monitor you with the ultrasound to see if you have any follicular growth. They’re going to test your cycle day 21 progesterone to see if you’ve ovulated. And then you come back together and you sit down and you make a plan. I would say make sure you’re working with someone who doesn’t want to put you through IVF right away, because certainly, it’s an option but it’s not the first option. There are other things that can be done first, definitely. Clomid, by the way, is not my friend. It’s not anyone’s friend.
Lindsey: Talk about that.
Jennifer: I don’t think anybody should be using Clomid. It’s a distant drug to DES, and DES was a drug used back in the 50s to help women with nausea during pregnancy and caused major birth defects on reproductive organs. Clomid is an estrogen-inhibiting drug, and guess what we need when we’re growing a follicle and an embryo.
Lindsey: I feel like it’s estrogen.
Jennifer: Yes, estrogen grows the vital organs of the baby, the heart and the brain. If you’re stuffing off with a deficit or estradiol, then you’re sending yourself up for a miscarriage. So, Clomid is a big, bad bear. If it’s depleting of estrogen, not only is it not giving you the most healthy follicle and possibly the most healthy embryo, but it’s depleting your vagina of healthy lubricant which is hospitable to sperm. It’s also drying out the endometrium which is supposed to be nice and plush and cushy for an embryo to implant in. If women are doing Clomid by itself and not doing an IUI, coupled with Clomid, then they’re defeating the purpose because the vaginal environment becomes hostile to sperm and the sperm are typically dying before they get even up to the cervix.
Lindsey: Yes, they have no chance.
Jennifer: They have no chance. Most OB-GYNs will do this and/or reproductive endocrinologist will use Clomid because it’s cheap and it’s garbage and they know it doesn’t work. And then they’ll send you under the bigger guns. I hate to say it but Clomid cycles do not make revenue. Clomid is cheap and it was originally put on the market to decrease estrogen levels in men with prostate cancer. It’s being used off label to ovulate a woman and it’s just a very poor option, a very, very poor option.
Lindsey: I’m glad you elaborated on that. I feel like there’s a lot of off-label use of medication that happens in the birth world or the fertility world.
Jennifer: Yes, I think you’re probably also talking about Cytotec too.
Lindsey: Yes. That was like the second thing that just popped in my head. It’s a shame.
Jennifer: Yes, I got you.
Lindsey: All right, hopefully I haven’t jumped all over the place. Have I missed anything about Mercier Therapy that you want to add?
Jennifer: I don’t think so. I think you covered it really good.
Lindsey: I know of three that are going to listen to this and be like, “Okay, where do I go? What do I do?” They can come to you, right?
Jennifer: They can come to me or you’re in LA and there are so many wonderful practitioners of Mercier Therapy in LA that you just have these women that are major blessings out that way. If you just go to merciertherapy.com and look under California, you’ll find them all right away. I wouldn’t recommend one over the other. They are all just absolutely lovely.
Lindsey: What about your trainings? Do they happen in Chicago or Copenhagen only?
Jennifer: They’re mostly in Chicago just because it’s easier for me at this point. My practice is very, very busy. For me to leave my practice and go travel and do a class, it’s challenging. I will do the EU class, for sure. I will do that, because we’ve got so many people over there, from Africa that want to take the class, in the Middle East, in the EU, I’ll make it easy for them and go over there and have a minute of a vacation while I’m there.
Lindsey: That’s awesome.
Jennifer: Yes, but most of the classes are here in Chicago.
Lindsey: How many days a week are you in practice?
Jennifer: I see patients on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and every other Saturday.
Lindsey: Go, you, all over the place.
Jennifer: Well, I have two little ones in two different schools, and then I write. Doing that and then writing in the interim and researching in the interim, I keep pretty busy but not too busy. I’m not a crazy workaholic, but I do love what I do. Fertility doesn’t stop just because it’s a Sunday. If someone is doing day 3 labs on a Sunday, I’ll go up and draw their blood for them. It doesn’t matter. I’ll have my two little ones in tow. My kids are just used to it. They just go with the glow and it’s all good.
Lindsey: I’m trying to figure out in my head how to get you at the BIRTHFIT Summit next year which is in Austin, Texas in June. I’ll brainstorm this and then shoot you some emails and stuff. I’ve certainly enjoyed talking to you and I won’t take up too much more of your time. Tell people any websites or social media or anything where they can find you at.
Jennifer: My practice website is expectamiracle.life. To learn more about the classes, it’s merciertherapy.com. The film is merciermovie.com. That’s me. That’s all my stuff.
Lindsey: I love it. If there’s one piece of advice you could share with women going through this fertility journey, what might that be?
Jennifer: Trust yourself. Trust yourself. Trust that you know that you are capable of getting pregnant and carrying a baby to term and having a beautiful birth. There’s no reason to allow anyone to tell you otherwise.
Lindsey: I love that.
Jennifer: Always have hope.
Lindsey: Thank you so much for hanging out with me.
Jennifer: So good to meet you virtually, Lindsey, and hang out with you, my friend. Thanks for having me on.
Lindsey: For sure, thank you.
All right, people. How rad was that episode? Let it sink in because I want to go and learn the Mercier Therapy right away. But more importantly, I want to go through the Mercier Therapy sessions with a skilled practitioner. I hope you all felt the passion, the drive, the love, everything from Dr. Jenny. She’s super rad and I cannot believe I haven’t met her in person. I hope to in the very near future. So be sure to check her out, merciertherapy.com, and her practice website is expectamiracle.life. If you go on Amazon, you can look up her movie called Fertility. Go watch that. It’s like $5 to rent, $10 to own. It’s an awesome, awesome thing to do like in movie night in your office or if you have a doula classroom setting. Awesome movie to just drop some knowledge.
One thing to take away from this conversation is I think many of us are finding out that there’s not a one-size-fits-all model for healing, conceiving and things like this. For many of us, myself included, I grew up a very standard American diet, Western medicine approach. It’s definitely worth exploring alternative options before investing your whole bank into things like IVF or even if surgical procedure or something like that. So I’d encourage you to take a look at all your options, whatever the obstacle you are dealing with right now, and weigh all the risks and benefits and decide what works best for you and your family. Thanks for listening.
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