For many women, poking and prodding may not seem like the ideal way to boost fertility. However, acupuncture is no longer just an exotic curiosity. People get acupuncture done for its many health benefits. The benefits of acupuncture are also being backed by medical professionals making it widely accepted among people. When it comes to infertility we’re sure many of you might be curious about how acupuncture can help you to conceive or if it really does. Continue reading the article to know all about acupuncture and how it can be used to help you get pregnant.
What Is Acupuncture?
Tiny sterile needles are inserted into certain points on the body which regulates the body functions. These points are known as the acupuncture points that influence the interior and exterior of the body (1). It has been proved to provide relief from different kinds of pain such as the neck, back, and knee pain and also for migraines and headaches (2).
Acupuncture And Infertility
Acupuncture has been known to address a few problems of infertility such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. It has been known to treat a few other cases of infertility when combined with herbal medicines. Acupuncture also helps in facilitating a thick rich lining of the endometrium by increasing the blood flow. It can be used to treat various fertility disorders including spasmed tubes. Here are a few other fertility problems that can be treated using acupuncture (3):
Elevated follicle-stimulating hormone
Polycystic ovarian syndrome with anovulatory cycles
Luteal phase defect
Repeated pregnancy loss
Sperm-DNA-fragmentation in men
Hyperprolactinemia due to other reasons than prolactinoma
However, it’s important to note that it does not address issues such as pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis which occurs as a result of tubal adhesions.
Acupuncture can help treat infertility in the following ways (4):
Balances the hormonal levels
Provides relief from stress
Increases the blood flow to sexual organs
Getting Acupuncture: When To Begin?
Acupuncture is a process-oriented treatment. So patients are most commonly treated for 3-4 months before doing the IVF, insemination, or donor egg transfer as it is better to get more sessions done to increase the chances of conception.
The patients are encouraged to get the treatment done before and after the embryo transfer. For the treatment to be most effective, acupuncture is combined with herbal and traditional medicines, according to the clinical observations from the Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness (5).
When Should The Acupuncture Treatment Be Stopped?
The treatment may be carried out towards the end of the first trimester to avoid the chances of miscarriage. Miscarriage generally occurs within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Are There Any Acupuncture Points That Have To Be Avoided After Insemination Or Transfer?
Placing needles in the abdominal or pelvic area has to be avoided if the patient is suspected of being pregnant. The other points that have to be avoided are Stomach 12, Spleen 6, Bladder 67, Large Intestine 4, Gallbladder 21, and Bladder 60 (6).
Things To Be Careful About
Here are a few things you should be careful about:
There’s a risk of miscarriage if the acupuncturist uses incorrect acupuncture points during pregnancy (7)
Sterile and proper equipment should be used by the practitioner to avoid infections
Make sure that your practitioner has received proper training and license
Can result in bruising or bleeding at the needle sites if done by an unqualified professional (8)
If you are having trouble getting pregnant and are considering getting acupuncture treatment, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor first. Also, make sure to choose a qualified professional who has received his/her license and has a good track record.