Anxiety and stress are common for women who are having difficulty conceiving. For that reason alone, I believe in acupuncture for fertility problems. If your body is more relaxed, you are more likely to conceive.
It certainly worked for Bianca.
She came to me in June 2015 after a series of miscarriages and IVF treatments. Now, in April 2016, she’s at home with her baby girl, born last month.
Please note, though, that western scientific studies have not found evidence that acupuncture itself improves fertility. There are studies showing it improves the success of IVF, and research is ongoing.
What are the generally received theories around acupuncture and fertility?
Acupuncture works on the energy systems of the body. It’s not just qi, it’s also blood circulation. The whole aim of acupuncture is to release blockages.
Better flow of blood and qi in general means less stress. There’s also a suggestion that acupuncture may improve blood flow to the uterus, release blockage in the female organs and boost the ovaries.
I still remember my very first acupuncture patient who became pregnant, nearly 20 years ago. I was actually treating her for back pain at the time! She was quite a large lady, with 2 prolapsed discs. She was booked in for IVF, and when she went to the doctor, he told her she was already 7 months pregnant! Imagine her surprise! He asked what she’d been doing, and the only change she’d made to her life was the acupuncture with me.
Another interesting case is women who have been on the Pill, but now want to become pregnant. The Pill suppresses the body’s natural hormones and rhythms. Even when you stop taking it, your body is out of sync. Acupuncture can help to realign the body and get natural cycles going again.
Is acupuncture alone enough to treat fertility?
There’s no solid evidence that acupuncture alone can overcome infertility issues – the story of my first patient is just one story and it could be chance! But it’s not really the right question to ask for my approach. As a holistic healer, I aim to treat the whole person, using my training and experience across many therapies.
When patients want help conceiving or bearing a child, I need to know all about them. So many factors affect fertility. Weight. Lifestyle. Diet. Regularity of the cycle. Even how long you’ve been trying to conceive – it affects your stress and your hormones.
Understanding all of these means I can develop a personal plan for you the whole person. Acupunture is likely to be a big part of that. But it may also include massage, aromatherapy, dietary changes and other treatments.
By the time someone comes to me for help with fertility, they are in serious need. Why not do everything possible to help them conceive?
Can you have acupuncture while you’re having IVF?
Acupuncture can be used alongside just about any treatment. It doesn’t interfere or interact in the way a drug might! So combining acupuncture and IVF is just fine. In fact, acupuncture can help manage side effects of the IVF drugs. Some studies say it improves IVF success rates, but the numbers don’t add up to certainty yet.
IVF can be quite demanding for the body. All those injections and hormones. It’s not cheap either. While it works for some, I wish more people were aware of natural alternative treatments and tried those first.
Many of my clients using acupuncture for infertility have come to me after IVF failed. Either the egg didn’t implant, or they miscarried.
Should you continue acupuncture once you’re pregnant?
One lady had lost IVF twins at around 4 – 5 months. She was devastated. After a few treatments with me, she stopped coming. A year or so later I met her by chance – with her little boy! She explained that she had fallen pregnant when I was treating her, but had been afraid to come back for fear the acupuncture might harm her baby.
She shouldn’t have worried!
Think back to that first client of mine – the one I was treating for back pain. She went on having acupuncture treatments right up till she was 7 months pregnant and her child was just fine!
Of course if you do conceive, please do tell your practitioner. I’d far rather know because then I can tailor your treatment to look after both you and your baby as well as possible. Some acupuncture points are not recommended during pregnancy. Using other acupuncture points can help carry your baby safely to term.
So if you’re considering acupuncture for fertility issues, remember these key points
- Acupuncture doesn’t interfere with any other treatment like IVF.
- It reduces stress – and if you’re more relaxed your body can cope with other treatments better.
- It’s perfectly safe when you’re pregnant.
- It’s best when it’s used with other treatments in a holistic approach.
For more information about acupuncture and other natural treatments for infertility, just get in touch.
By the way, there’s another funny story about Bianca. She and her husband didn’t want to know the sex of their baby before birth. But her mother-in-law did. She wanted to start knitting! So I took Bianca’s kidney pulse. It indicated a girl – just as her body shape did. I was able to email Bianca’s mother-in-law and tell her in advance, while keeping the surprise for the happy parents. And little baby Mia has plenty of pink woollens to keep her warm.