Acupuncture for Fertility

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine practices have been used for thousands of years to treat fertility.

Among specific conditions addressed are endometriosis, painful or heavy periods, blood flow and cramping, irregular cycles and ovulation, amenorrhea or light periods, PCOS and ovarian cysts, short cycles and luteal phase defect.

 

What to expect with your treatment

On your first visit we will discuss your health and fertility history in detail, as well as your diet and lifestyle, and come up with a treatment plan which may involve one or all of the following: weekly acupuncture, herbal therapy, dietary and lifestyle changes and recommendations for supplements.

 

Herbal and acupuncture treatments are tailored to the phase of your cycle that you are in. Each time you come in we will check in and discuss the fertility and cycle-related signs and symptoms you are observing, how you are feeling physically and emotionally, and the changes you are observing in response to the acupuncture and  herbs. 

 

After one or several treatments you will start to notice positive changes in your health and well-being. Although our primary focus is improved fertility and a healthy pregnancy, whatever is bothering you is an important clue about your overall health. As everything is connected, we must treat your whole being to support the desired outcome of optimal health and fertility.

 

Patients often report increased energy, reduced anxiety and stress, better sleep, improved digestion, reduction of headaches, skin problems, and other health concerns. There will also be positive changes in your menstrual cycles. If you are experiencing pain, clotting, excessive bleeding, disagreeable premenstrual symptoms, irregular periods, shortened luteal phase, long cycles, or anovulatory cycles, you will notice improvements as your ovulation and cycles become more regular and your periods normalize. These changes tell us that your cycles and hormones are normalizing, and that your health and fertility are improving.

 

Acupuncture with IVF

If your journey involves treatments such as ovulation induction through medication (such as Clomid or Letrozole), intrauterine insemination (IUI), or in vitro fertilization (IVF), you can benefit from complementary care with acupuncture. Acupuncture helps increase the chance of success with your medical fertility treatments, and can also reduce the side effects of the medications so you feel better emotionally and physically throughout the process.

 

Thanks to the many studies that have been done and through clinical observation, most fertility doctors now recognize the benefits of acupuncture, and encourage their patients to pursue acupuncture as a complementary therapy. It is also one of the only known methods to increase blood circulation to the reproductive organs, a key factor in fertility.

 

Each acupuncture treatment will be tailored to where you are in the IVF, IUI, or medicated cycle and is designed to enhance the effects of the medical therapy, increase the chance of success while keeping you relaxed and calm, and reduce the side effects of the medications.


Studies have shown that acupuncture can increase the success of IVF
The landmark German study in 2002 by Wolfgang E. Paulus compared pregnancy rates of two groups of women undergoing IVF. The group receiving acupuncture 25 minutes before, and 25 minutes after embryo transfer had a pregnancy rate of 42.5% compared to 26% for the non-acupuncture group. This study has been repeated a number of times with similar results. (Manheimer et al, British Medical Journal, 2008).

 

The effects of acupuncture pre- and post-transfer acupuncture:

    1) Improves blood flow to the ovaries and the uterus.

    2) Relaxes uterine spasms at transfer time, which correlates with improved pregnancy rates.

    3) Calms the nervous system.

 

Laurie administers pre- and post-transfer acupuncture treatments for IVF patients at the facility of their choice.

 

Pre-Cycle Treatments
Our acupuncture treatment plan for IVF patients can include treatments pre-conception and pre-egg retrieval and goes far beyond just the pre- and post-embryo transfer treatments. Wherever possible it is strongly recommended that patients receive consistent acupuncture treatments in the four to six months prior to the IVF retrieval-fertilization-transfer cycle.


Patients undergoing in vitro fertilization can use acupuncture to:

  • Increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries

  • Improve the lining of the uterus

  • Regulate fertility hormones which may improve the quantity and quality of follicles

  • Minimize IVF and medication symptoms

  • Reduce stress pre- and post- transfer

  • Decrease chance of miscarriage and increase chance of implant and full-term birth

  • Prevent uterine contraction post-transfer

  • Improve male factor—volume, motility and morphology

 

Acupuncture also helps with the following:

  • egg quality

  • advanced maternal age

  • decreased ovarian reserve

  • thin endometrial lining

  • decreased estrogen levels

 

Acupuncture helps with the following male factors:

  • infertility

  • sperm production

  • motility and morphology

  • improves hormone levels

  • varicocele

  • low testosterone and sex drive

 

Other fertility conditions addressed by acupuncture and herbs:

  • pregnancy loss and miscarriage

  • hypothyroidism and hashimotos

  • hyperthyroidism and graves

  • hormone balancing

  • secondary infertility

  • irregular cycles and ovulation

  • amenorrhea or light periods

  • PCOS and ovarian cysts

  • heavy periods

  • short cycles or luteal phase defect

 

Acupuncture during pregnancy:

Pregnancy can bring on its own set of symptoms, the most common of which is nausea. Acupuncture is a safe and effective therapy for mothers-to-be and is well known to alleviate nausea during the first trimester. As pregnancy advances, acupuncture can help resolve such conditions as nausea, vomiting, constipation, hip and back pain, swelling and insomnia.

 

As your due date nears, some women use acupuncture to facilitate a faster, easier delivery. Between weeks 39-41, acupuncture can be used to induce labor naturally, reducing the need for medical induction or the possible need for a c-section.

 

Moxibustion is a painless therapy famous for its ability to turn a breech baby to head down position in order to allow for natural delivery. Moxibustion treatment is the burning of an herb called Ai Ye, or mugwort, over an acupuncture point which is located near the outer corner of the nail on the little toes. It warms and stimulates acupuncture points causing the turning of the baby into the correct position.

1580 East Washington St., Suite 102A, Petaluma, CA 94954  | 805-312-3380 |  Laurie@LaurieSacupuncture.com

 

© 2016 by Laurie Schneider