For some women, acupuncture is not only a way to relieve stress when you’re trying to conceive, it has also shown some promise for increasing fertility.
IN THIS ARTICLE
- Can acupuncture boost your fertility and help you get pregnant?
- What are the benefits of trying acupuncture for fertility?
- Are there any risks of doing acupuncture when you’re trying to conceive?
- Acupuncture pressure points for fertility and what to expect at your appointment
- How much does acupuncture cost? Does insurance cover it?
- Success rates of doing acupuncture when TTC
- Success stories of trying acupuncture for fertility
- Should you try acupuncture during pregnancy too?
While getting poked and prodded might not seem like the most appealing way to boost your fertility, some research has shown that acupuncture may help women conceive. It doesn’t hurt that it also may relieve stress and help you relax, which also may increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Acupuncture works by stimulating nerve endings deep below the surface of the skin. By manipulating the needles in conjunction with gentle electrical stimulation (a practice known as electropuncture), your nerves are activated, helping your body release substances called endorphins. This can have positive effects on fertility, including relieving any stress and depression that may be weighing you down.
Can acupuncture boost your fertility and help you get pregnant?
The verdict is still out on whether acupuncture does increase fertility, but some research is promising. A small study found that acupuncture performed before and after an in vitro fertilization (IVF) embryo transfer were more likely than women who just made lifestyle changes to get pregnant. A review of 23 studies showed that acupuncture improved the chances of conceiving in women undergoing IVF, although this finding remains controversial.
What are the benefits of trying acupuncture for fertility?
Acupuncture has been shown to help reduce depression, which can be a problem for women struggling with infertility. It can also decrease stress and anxiety that can contribute to fertility problems. What’s more, high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) have been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage in women once they become pregnant.
Are there any risks of doing acupuncture when you’re trying to conceive?
The practice is usually safe, but it’s important to seek out a certified and licensed professional who’s familiar with infertility care. Ask your reproductive endocrinologist if he or she can refer you to anyone.
As an extra precaution, ask to look at the needles that will be used in your treatment to make sure they’re individually packaged, single-use needles. Your practitioner should also use an alcohol swab on the skin each time before inserting a needle.
Many acupuncturists also recommend herbal therapies. It’s very important to discuss these therapies with your reproductive endocrinologist to make sure that they’re safe to take with the fertility treatments you’ve been prescribed.
Acupuncture pressure points for fertility and what to expect at your appointment
Your initial visit should include an in-depth consultation. Questions may not immediately seem to be related to infertility but are important for the practitioner to determine the ideal therapy for you.
After the consultation, the acupuncturist will use a variety of points in an effort to enhance fertility or blood flow to certain organs. Pressure points on the head promote relaxation, while points around the stomach help open up the supply of fresh blood to the ovaries. Other points around the lower legs are used to promote blood flow to the reproductive organs, which starts at the feet.
Needles are left in for around 20-25 minutes while you relax in a room. Follow-up visits are shorter and usually don’t include a consultation.
Success rates of doing acupuncture when TTC
Success rates aren’t set in stone because some studies have shown that acupuncture helps increase fertility, especially in women who are having trouble conceiving, while other studies haven’t shown any increase. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that acupuncture only caused a negligible (around 1 percent) increase in pregnancy outcomes, but other research has shown that acupuncture in conjunction with other fertility treatments increases success rates by 50 percent.
Again, many of these are small pilot studies; larger, controlled studies still need to be done. However, there are few if any studies showing that acupuncture has a negative impact on fertility or treatment outcomes.
Success stories of trying acupuncture for fertility
While the research is still somewhat unclear, there are many success stories about how acupuncture helped with fertility and conceiving. Suzie of Charleston, South Carolina, did acupuncture weekly in conjunction with her IVF treatments. She’s now a mom to 2-year-old Byron and pregnant with a daughter due in July.
Jacqui of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, had a similar positive experience. She tried for six months to get pregnant, and after the first acupuncture treatment was able to conceive. The treatments, according to Jacqui, were also calming and soothing, which was really helpful during a particularly stressful time.
Reagen of Helena, Montana, a mom of four, also says acupuncture helped her seal the deal.
Should you try acupuncture during pregnancy too?
Yes, acupuncture, like massage, can be helpful when you’re pregnant. Acupuncture seems to have the ability to alleviate some of the undesirable symptoms of pregnancy like morning sickness, fatigue and depression. Some research has shown that in pregnant women who did depression-focused acupuncture, the treatment reduced symptoms by 63 percent.It’s not completely clear whether acupuncture is effective at increasing fertility, but it has been shown to help with the depression and anxiety that can make trying to get pregnant more difficult. It’s also been shown to help women who are already undergoing IVF have better outcomes. And while it’s often not covered by insurance, the cost of acupuncture compared to fertility treatments like IVF is minor. If there’s a possibility that acupuncture will boost your chances of getting pregnant or at least lift some of the stress you’re dealing with, it may be worth a try.
ORIGINAL POST – https://www.whattoexpect.com/getting-pregnant/prepping-for-pregnancy/acupuncture-for-fertility/