WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is the insertion of ultra-thin, sterile needles into specific acupuncture points on the body to achieve a therapeutic effect. These points regulate the way in which the body functions. Using the information gathered during the extensive initial assessment, a specific acupuncture protocol is set in place to help address the potential issues that may be causing difficulty conceiving.
No drug is injected. The needles alone create the beneficial effects of acupuncture.
BENEFITS OF ACUPUNCTURE TO SUPPORT FERTILITY
- Decrease stress & anxiety – especially during the 2 week wait
- Promote blood flow to the reproductive organs to help support function
- Thicken the uterine lining
- Support ovulation
- Support implantation
- Regulate the menstrual cycle
- Balance hormones
WHAT INFLUENCE DOES ACUPUNCTURE HAVE ON THE FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM?
Acupuncture has been reported to promote the circulation of blood in the pelvic cavity and improve ovarian function. Although the research is still ongoing, there is reason to believe that acupuncture treatment may be beneficial in promoting follicle production and enhancing uterine blood flow.
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE HELP IMPROVE THE CHANCES OF GETTING PREGNANT?
In addition to acupuncture specifically stimulating and supporting the functioning of the reproductive organs, many patients also experience enhanced feelings of well-being. Improvements such as deeper sleep, better digestion, decreased anxiety, increased energy, enhanced moods and more, are reported. Many women also notice changes in their menstrual cycle such as decreased menstrual cramps, normalized blood flow, and a decrease in blood clots. These physical and emotional shifts positively influence the chances of conceiving, regardless of whether one is trying naturally or undergoing assisted reproductive treatment.
WHAT TIME OF THE MONTH IS IT BEST TO HAVE ACUPUNCTURE?
It is generally recommended that you start acupuncture treatments at the beginning of each cycle (after you start menstruating), anywhere from1 to 2 times a week, throughout your cycle. Research shows that having acupuncture regularly for 3 months provides the most ideal benefits in supporting fertility.
Acupuncture treatments will vary in order to support the phase of the cycle the woman is in. Having acupuncture done in the first 2 weeks of the cycle is especially important to help stimulate follicle production and growth of the egg(s) leading up to ovulation. Once ovulation has occurred, acupuncture can be done to help support implantation.
ACUPUNCTURE AND ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES (IVF & IUI)
Acupuncture can be very helpful for those patients undergoing treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
I will be undergoing IVF. When should I start acupuncture and how often should I receive treatment?
Ideally it is recommended that you start acupuncture treatment at least 1-3 months prior to the commencement of the IVF cycle. Acupuncture is done to support both the egg retrieval and the embryo transfer part of the IVF cycle. Both are equally as important and acupuncture provides a great benefit.
My IVF cycle has already started. Is it too late to start acupuncture?
It is never too late to start acupuncture. While you would likely obtain more cumulative benefits from starting treatments early, acupuncture provides such powerful benefits with each session, that it is something you can begin doing at any stage of your fertility journey!
Shall I have acupuncture right before and after the embryo transfer?
Absolutely – Yes!! On the day of the embryo transfer, I usually suggest to patients to have an acupuncture treatment before the transfer and then have a subsequent treatment right after the transfer. If possible, I will come to the clinic where you are having the procedure to provide these treatments for you. These half-hour acupuncture treatments promote a tremendous relaxation benefit during this very stressful time, as well as preparing the uterus for implantation of the embryo. Research has shown that having acupuncture immediately pre & post embryo transfer can improve your chances of success by 40%.