Acupuncture takes an holistic approach to treating infertility or boosting your chances of becoming pregnant. In Chinese Medicine, the body, mind and spirit are very much interlinked and treated as one. Trying to conceive can be a very emotional time, especially during assisted fertility treatments such as IVF. To have the mind, body and spirit calm and balanced gives couples the best chance of success alongside making lifestyle improvements.
Acupuncture helps by
- correcting irregular menstrual cycles
- balancing hormones
- reducing stress
- increasing the endometrial lining (the uterus)
- improving sperm count and quality
- improving the pelvic blood flow
- balancing the immune system
- improving general health and energy levels
- induce ovulation for women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
The optimum time to begin seeing an acupuncturist is three months before trying to get pregnant either through natural or assisted means. That said, I do frequently see clients who are just about to start an IVF cycle or have been trying for a long time to get pregnant. Ideally, a treatment every other week is recommended, just before ovulation and just before a period. If having IVF, an ideal time for treatment is soon after egg collection and before embryo transfer to the uterus. The next important time is as soon as possible after the embryo is implanted.
Of course, acupuncture is not a stand alone therapy in promoting optimum fertility – you and your partner’s nutrition and lifestyle is very important. Male fertility has been declining for the past 20 or so years. Smoking for example, affects sperm and there is research to show that chemicals in plastics affect fertility. Certain prescription drugs can affect sperm quality as can drinking too much alcohol. These are just some of the things that can have an affect. It is worthwhile researching known factors and adjusting what you can three months before starting a family as it takes this time for new sperm to develop.
So how do you know acupuncture is working? Common ways some women have shared that they know it’s working is that they see a shift in their menstrual cycle, experience a reduction in menstrual cramps or PMS, notice an improvement in skin, energy levels, improved cervical mucus production, increased libido and mood. Some people find they sleep better too. Men who have a reduced sperm count or poor quality sperm or suffer from low libido or stress should see sperm changes after three months. Some people feel no different until they experience conception. You may or may not feel tired just after a treatment but most people experience a feeling of wellbeing.
If you have any questions about how acupuncture can help you improve your fertility, please call or email me and I’ll be happy to help.