Acupuncture for Fertility

Many women may find themselves needing to consult a physician when they have been trying to get pregnant for a while, usually when they've been trying for at least a year or more. At this point their fertility doctor may also recommend they see an acupuncturist as studies have shown that acupuncture can increase the odds of having a successful in vitro fertilization (IVF). For this reason, acupuncture has become an important part of a fertility treatment regimen.

Acupuncture helps to boost fertility by addressing underlying hormonal issues related to the thyroid function, either an over-active or under-active thyroid. Additionally, it can improve ovarian and follicular function. When undergoing IVF treatment, increasing the number of follicles produced in a cycle can mean an increased chance of pregnancy. It can also improve blood flow to the endometrium, the lining in the uterus, which can facilitate embryo implantation. Additionally, it has the benefit of decreasing the stress and anxiety that may occur around the IVF process.

Acupuncture can be started months before intrauterine insemination or IVF are begun. It is common to see a patient at least once a week for 3 or 4 months before any other treatment is done. Often, patients come in to regulate their periods so they can more accurately predict ovulation while they are trying to conceive naturally. In this case it is recommended that the patient be seen for several months to ensure the period is occurring monthly. If a patient is not getting a period every month or is having very painful periods acupuncture can help regulate and improve the symptoms related to their cycle. In these cases, the use of herbal medicines might also be indicated. For example, a noticeably light period could mean that the patient needs to supplement with herbal formulas or vitamins to help their body have a more normal blood flow. A trained acupuncturist can recommended the best herbal medicines for their specific case, in addition to the acupuncture.

Acupuncture treatments can also continue into the first trimester of pregnancy to prevent miscarriage and to help with common issues such as morning sickness. Treatments during pregnancy tend to be gentler in that less points are used and certain specific points (such as in the lower abdominal area) are avoided. Further along during pregnancy acupuncture can be used to increase comfort by helping to treat back pain.


If you're looking for a natural, gentle and effective way to support your fertility consider trying acupuncture!


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Alexandra Ruiz, L.Ac., MSTOM

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