A majority of women (and men, in fact) have grown up with the idea that pregnancy happens easily and that one must therefore take precautions. However, pregnancy followed by the delivery of a healthy baby does not happen as easily as one might think.
Acupuncture has become widely recognized as effective for fertility, on its own or in conjunction with orthodox reproductive medicine, such as IVF, IUI, GIFT or ICSI.
Acupuncture and IVF work really well together. Starting acupuncture before you begin IVF treatment, then continuing acupuncture after IVF and then acupuncture throughout pregnancy is the best plan (acupuncture… IVF… acupuncture…pregnancy). What acupuncture does is to help prepare the ground, much like a gardener, so that seeds can be nourished, can implant and grow.
There are many barriers to being able to conceive. I treat many women who are experiencing problems such as PCOS (polycystic ovaries), endometriosis, hormonal imbalances, problems with endometrium, fibroids, and polyps. As well as the above, there are the mental and emotional stresses that increase as the time it takes to conceive goes by. The longer it is taking, and as each monthly cycle comes and goes, the stress levels increase.
It is very easy for someone to tell you “you will stand a much better chance of conceiving if you just relaxed and didn’t worry about it”. I really do appreciate this is easier said than done. You may know it is true, but it is not easy.
This is where the acupuncture really helps! Not only will it address the physical and hormonal problems listed above, but it really helps you relax. Whether you are having acupuncture to get pregnant naturally, or having acupuncture with IVF. Five Element Acupuncture is treating you as a whole person – not just the ‘symptoms’ you may have, but your emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing as well.
And it’s not just for women. The chances at all ages are further reduced if the man has a low sperm count, poor morphology, or low motility. So men benefit just as much as women from acupuncture. Acupuncture can greatly improve low sperm count, problems with sperm morphology and motility, again whether you are having acupuncture to conceive naturally, or having acupuncture with IVF.
For all age groups, acupuncture improves the chances of conception through stimulating ovulation, increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs, balancing hormones, regulating menstrual cycles, helping improve the lining of the uterus and quality of eggs, and increasing the flow of blood to the uterus.
The important role of acupuncture in reducing stress has a direct impact on a woman’s ability to conceive and also her ability to carry the baby to full term. In many cases, especially in those who have unexplained infertility, acupuncture which treats any underlying distress is often enough to turn things around. However, in some of these cases both partners may have a sub-clinical imbalance in energies, i.e. they may not suffer any noticeable symptoms but according to acupuncture theory they may have an underlying yin or yang deficiency, or a blockage in one of their meridians. Treating both partners can make a big difference to the chances of, and speed of, successful conception. Physical, mental and emotional components are all important, and the harmonious integration of these more subtle aspects of our being can help create the fertile conditions necessary for conception and a full-term healthy pregnancy.
I have previously practiced at KITE CLINIC under Gerad Kite and completed many KITE CLINIC post-graduate courses/seminars under Gerad Kite. I also practiced at ZITA WEST clinic, and SOURCE CLINIC in Fitzrovia.
Come and see me and my home clinic in London SE9.
Research on Acupuncture for Fertility
Research has shown that acupuncture increases the success rates for women having in-vitro fertilization – IVF – by almost 50%. The studies show that acupuncture reduces stress and increases blood flow to the reproductive organs, all of which improves the success rate of IVF and IUI. Importantly, acupuncture helps prevent cramping in the womb after IVF treatment, and this not only helps prevent expulsion of the embryo after IVF but it is also important in helping to prevent ectopic pregnancy, as well as assisting implantation of the embryo.
Acupuncture can counteract the effects of polycystic ovaries or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, commonly known as PCOS.
It can help women with higher than normal FSH levels to conceive naturally.
Acupuncture promotes ovulation, whether you have irregular cycles or lack of periods with polycystic ovaries.
Acupuncture provides more subtle enhancements such as reducing anxiety and hot flushes, all of which is helpful for those who are taking fertility drugs.
In endometriosis the endometrial tissue found outside the womb can trigger an immune response which can prevent successful conception. In these cases acupuncture can help by dampening the specific immune response, as well as reducing painful periods commonly associated with this condition.
I have also successfully used acupuncture for low sperm count, poor morphology and slow motility.
In one study it was shown that women who used acupuncture without any other fertility treatments were just as likely to conceive in the same period of time as women who took a fertility drug.
[Source: Reuter’s Health: Fertility and Sterility 2002;78:1149-1153].