Can Acupuncture Help You Get Pregnant?
Fertility treatment can help your dreams of building a family become a reality; however, it won’t make managing stress any easier. Compounding stress on top of infertility can make your chances of conceiving even lower. That’s why many women turn to acupuncture.
How does Acupuncture treat infertility?
Acupuncture is the process of inserting ultra-thin needles into designated points on the body which live on top of channels or meridians. It is believed that these channels act as pathways in both the exterior and interior of the body that help relieve pain, stress, and improve health. Recent technology can mimic the same result using laser technology. When these needles or lasers are targeted at specific points of the body, it is thought to help regulate body functioning and help alleviate problems related to fertility, such as:
● Thyroid issues ( hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism)
● Increase blood flow to the endometrium
● Stimulate the immune system
● Release serotonin and endorphins
● Decrease the effects of stress and anxiety on the body
When should I start acupuncture treatment?
When considering acupuncture as a therapy for infertility, it’s important to focus on when to begin treatment, as opposed to the frequency of treatments.
Patients who are treated three to four months before undergoing insemination treatment, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer seem to see the most therapeutic effect, however, even one properly timed treatment can improve success.
RMAPA completed one of the largest randomized clinical trials ever conducted to measure the effects of acupuncture on IVF pregnancy rates and the results indicate that laser acupuncture could increase IVF pregnancy rates.
What are the risks of acupuncture?
The risks related to acupuncture and fertility are minimal; however, the risk of miscarriage is possible if the incorrect acupuncture points are used during the pregnancy.
It is important to note that acupuncture treatment locations do change once a patient is pregnant. Acupuncture needles should not be placed in the abdominal and pelvic area post-insemination or transfer and 6 specific points should be avoided once pregnancy is suspected or confirmed.
Look for an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility disorders.
To learn more about how alternative medicine can be used to treat infertility, visit our page on alternative medicine treatment.
WENDY SCHILLIGNS, MD, FACOG
Dr. Schillings is a board certified reproductive endocrinologist, obstetrician and gynecologist. She leads all aspects of patient care at RMAPA. In addition, she formerly led the medical team at RE & I Specialist with the Lehigh Valley Physician Group. Dr. Schillings is chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Lehigh Valley Hospital Health Network and Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn State College of Medicine.