So you’ve heard that acupuncture can help, but you are hesitant to give it a try…There is more and more curiosity about how acupuncture can really help with fertility success and reproductive health. Today I am going to give you a little more insight into how acupuncture can help your chances of conceiving.
Acupuncture has been around for more than 4,000 years. It involves the use of very thin and solid needles that are placed into the skin along various points in the body. The goal is to balance the body’s yin and yang energy.
Yin is considered to be more substance, while yang is considered to be more energetic.
How Can Acupuncture Help?
1) Acupuncture helps to balance hormones
The first half of your cycle is when the follicle is developing, estrogen is building and getting ready for ovulation. This is known as the follicular phase – and in Chinese medicine is considered more yin building. Acupuncture can have the ability to influence the release of neurotransmitters in our brain that can help to stimulate the release of hormones – this ultimately will influence the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and fertility.
2) Acupuncture can help with ovulation
In a PCOS study, they studied the use of electroacupuncture (small electrical current is delivered to the needles). What they found was, using electroacupuncture on PCOS patients repeatedly helped to induce ovulation in 1/3 of PCOS patients. (1)
3) Acupuncture can help to relieve stress and anxiety
Emotional stress can impact the whole menstrual cycle. It can affect the hypothalamus (control center in the brain) and the pituitary that signals hormone release. A small study showed that women who received acupuncture during an IVF cycle achieved pregnancy 64.7% versus 42.7% who did not receive acupuncture. Those who received acupuncture also had lower stress scores both on pre-embryo transfer and post-embryo transfer. Acupuncture works to balance the body, calm the mind and heart. (2)
4) Acupuncture can help to improve IVF/IUI outcomes
Acupuncture can have an impact on those who are going through Assisted Reproductive Technology treatments. In fact, including 10 studies combined, they found that acupuncture improves clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates in women going through IVF.
5) Acupuncture can help to prevent miscarriages
The second half of the cycle is the luteal phase. This is where yang is predominant. Once the egg is released from the follicle, the follicle becomes a corpus luteum that secretes progesterone. Progesterone helps the body to maintain a pregnancy. One study found acupuncture decreased early miscarriage symptoms such as bleeding, back pain and cramping, in a high-risk population, which not only prevented the miscarriage but left women feeling significantly more cared for (3).
As you can see acupuncture can have many different benefits while trying to conceive! To learn more about fertility and how Naturopathic Medicine can help check out www.saminamitha.com for more information!
Dr. Samina is a licensed and registered Naturopathic Doctor. She is passionate about helping patients find true clarity and confidence in their health using evidenced-based natural therapies. Dr. Samina has completed additional training in reproductive health. She has a very special interest in fertility and hormone health as she has had to manage Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). She has supported patients with IUI and IVF procedures, PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, irregular or absent periods, low ovarian reserve, unexplained fertility and more.
Stener-Victorin E, e. (2017). Effects of electro-acupuncture on anovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10716298 [Accessed 23 Sep. 2017].
PubMed. (2017). The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: a pilot study. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2904299/ [Accessed 23 Sep. 2017].
Betts, D., Smith, C. and Dahlen, H. (2017). Does acupuncture have a role in the treatment of threatened miscarriage? Findings from a feasibility randomised trial and semi-structured participant interviews. [online] Available at: https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-016-1092-8 [Accessed 23 Sep. 2017].