If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for 6 months or more, acupuncture can give you the support and extra help you may need to conceive naturally.
Acupuncture helps women and men achieve a natural pregnancy by improving general health. 30% of all failures to conceive are often described as ‘unexplained.’ Chinese medicine can often identify and effectively treat these unexplained causes because it looks at the person as a whole and by balancing hormones, improving blood flow to the uterus and pelvic area and reducing stress it can avoid the need to for more invasive medical interventions. It also treats specific medical conditions that might affect your fertility.
During the initial treatment your diet, lifestyle and work-life balance are all discussed; sometimes making some small but important changes in these areas will make a significant difference to your fertility.
For women, acupuncture can benefit:
- Irregular cycles
- Short/long cycles
- Amenorrhoea – lack of periods
- Dysmenorrhoea – painful, heavy periods
- Spotting, bleeding outside period time
- Recurrent miscarriage
- Ovulation pain
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Fibroids, cysts, polyps
Research shows that acupuncture can help to regulate the menstrual cycle, lower raised levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), relieve symptoms of endometriosis and induce ovulation in women with polycystic ovaries (PCOS).
For men, acupuncture can benefit:
- Sperm count, morphology, motility, antibodies
- Immune system issues
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction/impotence
- Testicular health
Assisted Reproduction (ART)
If a woman or couple decide to undergo assisted reproduction, (IUI, IVF, ICSI), acupuncture treatments carried out at various key stages during the assisted procedures can help in the following ways:
Down regulation – where the body’s natural menstrual cycle is being ‘switched off’, women often experience menopausal symptoms such as migraines, hot flushes, mood swings and bloating, symptoms which acupuncture can help relieve.
Up regulation/ovarian stimulation – acupuncture treatment helps egg maturation and the thickening of the lining of the uterus. Acupuncture can also help to prevent ovarian hyper-stimulation, which can have serious consequences.
Day of embryo transfer – acupuncture treatment immediately before and after the transfer ( if possible within an hour or so of the procedure ) has been shown to increase clinical pregnancy rates ( 42.5% with acupuncture, versus 26.3% without acupuncture. See “Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy” by Wolfgang E. Paulus MD, Christian-Lauritzen- Institut, Ulm, Germany 2001. (PDF)
Post transfer and prior to taking a pregnancy test – acupuncture treatments help the embryo stay attached to the uterine wall and ensures a good blood supply to the endometrium, (the uterine lining). women and their partners often feel “abandoned” and on their own awaiting a pregnancy test; acupuncture can help relax the body and mind during this difficult and often stressful waiting period.
IUI – Acupuncture can be a good support during IUI, helping to thicken the lining of the uterus and enhancing relaxation both prior and post the procedure.