Can acupuncture really increase a woman's chances of conceiving?
Research has found that acupuncture treatment can have dramatically positive effects on those trying for a baby and can actually aid the conception process.
Fertility focused acupuncture treatment can help to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, balance hormone levels, regulate the menstrual cycle and help improve the lining of the uterus and quality of eggs released. Additionally, conditions such as polycystic ovaries and endometriosis have also been shown to improve with acupuncture.
Male fertility also benefits from acupuncture, with positive effects on sperm count, morphology and mobility.
• regulate the hormones to produce a larger number of follicles
• improve the functions of ovaries to produce better quality eggs
• enhance the vitality of sperm
• relieve the side effects of drugs used in IVF
• increase the thickness of the uterine lining so to encourage successful implantation
• reduce the chance of miscarriage
People come for acupuncture to assist their natural fertility, as well as for support alongside IUI, IVF, ICSI and other reproductive assisted techniques.
Key Componants of Fertility
It is well known that stress has an adverse effect on the fertility hormones in both men and women, so maintaining a healthy sense of equilibrium and reducing stress levels is key. Acupuncture can be used to calm the central nervous system and strengthen the body systems, thereby enabling you to cope with any additional stress or anxiety you may experience during your process of trying to start a family.
Acupuncture treatment can help promote a calm, positive, relaxed frame of mind which can bring a more successful outcome for conception and a healthy happy pregnancy!
For optimum fertility, your period should be roughly 28 days long, regular, not too painful and the flow should be bright and healthy looking rather than dark and clotty. This type of cycle would suggest that your reproductive hormones are most likely in balance. If your cycle doesn't follow this pattern then acupuncture treatment will initially focus on helping you towards achieving a normal length and pain free cycle, as this will support your fertility.
A detailed case history taken on your first visit will highlight any irregularities in your menstrual cycle and details about the nature of your cycle will provide an indication about the quality of the endometrium, the growing medium for the embryo. If the endometrium is too thin or clotted, it can inhibit pregnancy. Acupuncture treatment will aim to promote blood circulation to the uterus in order to provide a healthy growing medium for the embryo.
For women with high FSH or low AMH readings the process of getting pregnant becomes even more stressful. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever produce and each layer gradually develops, a bit like the layers of an onion, throughout the fertile years. During the 3 months before each layer of eggs matures to be available for ovulation, they receive nutrients from the blood. Therefore, although the genetic make up of an egg cannot be changed, it can be affected buy the circulation and quality of the nutrients and hormones in the blood. Acupuncture can therefore be used to bring energy to a developing egg and perhaps to enhance its capacity to create a viable embryo.
Diet and digestion
There is much advice on offer regarding a healthy preconception diet, and depending on your outlook it might be helpful or overwhelming. In common with most nutritional advice, Chinese dietary therapy recommends moderation of refined foods and a good balance of healthy protein, fruit, vegetables and grains. However crucially, it recognises that some foods can be more or less healthy according to your individual constitution - a woman with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), will likely need a very different diet to someone with scanty periods. So a diet that is suitable for your particular constitutional makeup, is what is going to optimise your health and fertility.
If you would like to discuss your particular concerns and see how acupuncture can support your fertility and or pregnancy, please click here to email me or ring for a free telephone consultation.
Over the past twenty years, fertility problems have increased dramatically. At least 25% of couples in the UK planning a baby will have trouble conceiving, and more and more couples are turning to IVF or assisted fertility treatments to help them start a family.
There are many studies to be found pointing to the effectiveness of acupuncture for infertility. Among them, a 2004 study conducted by the Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Center in Colorado found that 51% of women who underwent both IVF and acupuncture treatment at the same time became pregnant, while only 36% of those who only underwent IVF did. The latter group also had higher rates of miscarriage and stillbirth (20%) compared to those women who had received acupuncture (8%).
A 2005 study conducted by Shanghai University in China found that acupuncture also helped treat male infertility. Of the men who participated, those who had acupuncture had an increased percentage of sperm in their semen; their sperm structure and morphology was also healthier than their counterparts who did not undergo acupuncture infertility treatment.
A report published in the journal Fertility and Sterility (2002) found the pregnancy rate in the group receiving acupuncture group was 42.5%, compared to the group which did not receive the therapy, where the rate was 26.3%.
Registered member of the British Acupuncture Council - South West London Listing for Acupuncturist in Battersea and Clapham. Acupuncture in Chelsea, Wandsworth, Earlsfield and Tooting. Pregnancy, Fertility and Infertility Specialist in South West London.