Photos by Staci Just Photography
Why did we pick Tara?
Tara Brandner is a doctorate nurse practitioner and fertility coach who knows all too well the struggles of infertility. Through her own experience, treatments and traumatic pregnancy, Tara founder herself on a quest to find answers.
She owns and operates her own women’s health and fertility clinic that offers a personalized approach to care. She offers 1:1 coaching services and hosts a women’s health and fertility podcast, “Hopeful Hints: An Infertility Podcast.” She also founded a nonprofit called Everlasting Hope, an organization dedicated to creating public awareness that infertility is a treatable medical condition while also supporting “North Dakota and South Dakota families experiencing infertility through resources, education, events, support and grants to offset medical expenses.”
Did you know?
1 in 8 couples experience infertility issues according to resolve.org
5 Places To Go in Fargo
1. Amend Healthcare Family Practice
Opened in 2022, Amend Healthcare is a family medicine clinic in West Fargo. Its founder, Dr. Stephanie Hendricks, has worked in the healthcare field for almost 20 years. According to the Amend Healthcare family practice website, her passions include “pediatric and adolescent health, chronic disease management, women’s health, dermatology and treating both TMJ and chronic migraine with the use of Botox.
Did you know?
Botox has been approved by the FDA as a treatment for migraines since 2010.
“I want to feel like a person, not a number when I need healthcare services. That is exactly what Amend Clinic creates with an environment built on a more personal and relationship-centered basis. They offer comprehensive primary care for individuals and families of all ages. I believe this is exactly how healthcare should be! Many feel annual wellness exams aren’t necessary if you aren’t ill. Or if you are busy and place your family’s or others’ needs before yours. Please don’t skip this. During those exams, you will receive information, education and tips for staying healthy that may prevent chronic disease or address those symptoms you have been putting off. It also allows you to ask any questions on those ‘little things’ that have been bothering you all year long.”
Get that Vitamin D!
“Nutrient deficiencies are pretty common in people. today. The most common one in the midwest is vitamin D! You could eat a diet full of supposed nutrient-dense foods yet still be deficient in key nutrients due to environmental factors, hormone imbalances, stress, medications and more. Knowing which supplements you need versus having a cabinet full and guessing is key. Find a healthcare provider who understands supplements and can help you find the one that is best for you.”
2. FM Acupuncture
FM Acupuncture offers acupuncture and cupping services as well as some awesome add ons like moxa, ESTIM and gua sha.
“I love the personalized approach Dr. Lexi offers for acupuncture and cupping. There are so many health benefits from these two therapies that are available right here in Fargo! Acupuncture Treatment is beneficial for men and women. This care promotes blood circulation and assists with regulating hormones. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Acupuncture aims to restore balance in the body through qi (chi). Practitioners will place needles at specific points along the interconnecting meridians (channels) of the body. Would you believe me if I told you that you will likely take a nice nap during this session?!”
Did you know?
Acupuncture has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since 100 BCE.
Staying Mentally Well
“Caring for your mental health and wellness is a hard topic to talk about, let alone seeking care and resources when we aren’t feeling well. I want to encourage you to make that appointment if you aren’t feeling like yourself. Find a counselor that you connect with and a healthcare provider who listens to support your needs. Mental wellness is a lifelong process and one we often forget to nurture. You are not alone in this journey.”
3. Cultivate Family Chiropractic
“The moment you walk in the front door, you will notice the welcoming environment and big smiles from Dr. Emily Acosta and her team. Chiropractic care is a wonderful modality to incorporate into your healthcare routine.”
4. Belle Ame Luxury Skin Studio
“Did you know that our skin is the largest organ of the body? I have started to place more care into my skin routine over the last few years. Do yourself a favor and book a hydrafacial with Maggie. She is the sweetest soul and will make sure your skin is healthy and glowing.”
Tara is not the only fan of Belle Ame in this magazine. Head to page 76 to see our feature on local yoga instructor Allison Grippe who is also a big fan of what is offered at Belle Ame Luxury Skin Studio!
5. Apex Physical Therapy & Wellness Center
Apex Physical Therapy & Wellness Center offers many of the services you would find at PT clinics, helping patients rehab their knees, back, ankles shoulders, etc. They also go above and beyond to offer pelvic floor physical therapy, massage therapy and postural restoration therapy.
The facility is also one of two places in the FM area offering an EGYM, with the other being at the YMCA Schlossman.
“We often think of seeking PT care when we are injured and definitely not for our pelvic health. The team at Apex is so comprehensive and can help you with absolutely any needs you have. I highly recommend adding pelvic floor PT to your next appointment. Many are unaware of the benefits that come with receiving care from a physical therapist other than when we sustain an injury. Both men and women experience issues in the pelvic region of the body therefore, you need to receive care to train your pelvis to relax and restore balance and alignment. While the pain emanates from the pelvis, the effects of chronic pain cause issues with core activities such as movement and coordination. Manual techniques are directed at loosening and relaxing muscles and relieving abdominal and pelvic pain while restoring your overall wellness to other parts of your body.”
7 Things to Avoid
1. Skipping meals and snacks.
“Eating every 3-4 hours has been shown to keep your blood sugar stable, which has many benefits for your health. Schedule meals and snacks into your busy schedule. This will greatly benefit weight goals and also hormone health.”
2. Blue light in the evening.
“Blue light in the evening can trick our brain into thinking it’s still daytime, disrupting our circadian rhythms and making it hard to feel sleepy. Many know this but we forget where blue light is, such as TV, phones, computers and tablets.”
3. Sunflower, sunflower, soy, sesame and corn oils.
“When consumed in high quantities, these create inflammation and hormone disruption. Instead, use avocado oil, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil and flaxseed oil.”
4. Reheating food in plastic containers.
“BPA lives everywhere nowadays, but microwaving plastic allows for releasing this and other chemicals into your food. Switch to glass or ceramic items for those tasty leftovers and meal preparations.”
5. Do not avoid symptoms that you feel are concerning.
“If you have a symptom or symptoms that concern you, seek care. If your provider overlooks it, seek a second opinion. You are your own best advocate and know if something isn’t right with your body.”
6. Don’t skip caring for yourself.
“It is so easy to get busy, be consumed by the needs of others and place ourselves last. Please make a strong conscious effort to put yourself in your planner and on your calendar.”
7. Do not avoid carbs or restrict yourself nutritionally.
“Substitute for healthy carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, berries, chickpea and lentil pasta, and oats. Work with a trained provider to help create a plan that best fits your nutritional needs.
“Sweet potatoes might be my favorite carb in my diet!”
-Brady Drake, Editorial Director
1. Jovi Pain Patch
“This amazing drug-free reusable pain patch is marketed for period pain, but don’t be deceived, it can be used anywhere on the body for those unexpected moments of injury or pain. For those with painful periods, this can be life-changing.”
2. Mira Home Hormone Tracker
“This lab-accurate hormone tracking machine can be used from conception, prevention, pregnancy and into menopause. This machine makes it easy to understand your hormones and spot potential imbalances.”
3. AIRSEE Sound Machine
“Sleep and hormones follow a circadian rhythm. Research demonstrates a disturbance of the natural circadian rhythm can disrupt hormones. Sound machines generate particular sounds that stop those inconsistencies in sound from reaching our ears while we’re asleep and waking us up.”
4. Probiotic-GI Assist Protea
Probiotics have been shown to have so many benefits for our health but specifically for hormone health. GI Assist also contains several other ingredients that help with overall GI health and tastes delicious.
What are some of the common causes of infertility that we don’t think about?
Many don’t realize infertility is equally a men’s and women’s disease, with research showing it is ⅓ male, ⅓ female and ⅓ both or unexplained. Many women lack the understanding of how to properly track their ovulation cycle or use products that lack reliability to really show what their hormones are doing. Additionally, in my practice, I see so many women who have had symptoms overlooked and led to the diagnosis of contributing diseases such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid disease and their partner having impaired sperm quality.
What are some things people who are experiencing issues can do right now to improve their chances of procreating?
Individuals and couples have the power to create a healthcare team versus just receiving care from one provider. Creating their own healthcare team that provides a variety of cares that they feel is best for them. Many diseases take a multisystem approach to care with various healthcare professionals involved, but this gets missed in reproductive healthcare. Often patients feel one healthcare provider will hold all the solutions or if that provider doesn’t fully understand other cares, they may disregard the patient’s desire to add them to their plan. Always listen to your “gut” feeling and find providers who listen to you while providing care that feels best suited for your needs. You are your own best advocate.
Do you have any other general wellness tips for people?
Protein with all meals and snack the best you can to help with blood sugar stabilization which in turn will help with hormone balance. Find a fitness program or routine that you enjoy and that creates a fun environment you enjoy attending. Enjoy the outdoors, even in the winter. Sunshine helps boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin, which will give you more energy and provide a calm, positive and focused feeling. Create a sleep routine or seek a healthcare evaluation to determine why you are having issues if this is challenging. Sleep plays such a vital role in our overall health, including immune health, food cravings, memory and so much more.
What are some health/beauty options in town that you have utilized that have not already been listed?
I really like Praireland Counseling as they specialize in women, couples and infertility. Catalyst Medical Center r + Clinical Spa offers great wellness services.
Prairieland Counseling’s women-focused services include care for people with postpartum, empty nest or self-esteem issues. And that is only the tip of the iceberg!
How can partners be supportive during times when there are fertility and miscarriage issues going on?
Partners being aware of the difference in emotions, coping and how each person deals with this disease is so important. Do not judge your partner or compare them to how they may or may not be feeling. Each person can find support in each other but also different sources, knowing its okay to reach out to others as well. Using supportive comments and words during conversations is key. Feeling safe and comfortable to express feelings and emotions without judgment will allow for safe conversations to take place.
What was the most helpful resource you came across during your fertility journey?
Support groups were so important and nowadays there are even virtual ones. Mindset work was something I didn’t start until later in my journey and I wish I had incorporated it earlier. This includes meditations, affirmations and hypnosis from Circle + Bloom and Her World Hypnosis.
Tara Brandner’s nonprofit, Everlasting Hope, hosts a support group monthly. Fertility Rally is a national organization that hosts support groups as well.
How to Support Tara
Podcast: Hopeful Hints: An Infertility Podcast