Outlined below is some of the evidence gleaned from recent studies in the area of fertility and acupuncture.
Acupuncture has become widely recognized as an effective treatment for fertility issues such as unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant, polycystic ovary syndrome, male infertility, etc. Acupuncture can be used on its own or in conjunction with orthodox reproductive medicine (assisted reproduction – see IVF below). In one study acupuncture was shown to be as effective as fertility drugs at assisting pregnancy; [The numbers in square brackets refer to references below]. In other clinical trials comparing acupuncture to drug or hormonal treatments, acupuncture was shown to enhance pregnancy rates (when compared to controls) for example to 69% (vs. 40%), and 65% (vs. 45%), and ovulation rates by 87% (vs. 70%)and 60% (vs. 25%). One study demonstrated 95% pregnancy rates after 5 cycles using acupuncture.
Studies have also shown that there are fewer side effects and abortions with acupuncture, hormone levels, and follicular development is better [8-10] and endometrial thickness is improved.
Acupuncture has been shown to increase uterine and ovarian blood flow and to positively affect hormonal disturbances such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and anovulation.
The above studies suggest that acupuncture is a useful therapy for those wishing to get pregnant.
The Basis of Acupuncture
Acupuncture theory is based on the idea that our bodies can become imbalanced as a result of our physiology, environment, or emotions. These imbalances eventually lead to diseases such as infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, or other anovulatory conditions, not to mention conditions such as premenstrual syndrome and painful periods. By arriving at a diagnosis the acupuncturist can set about repairing the underlying imbalances that are causing the problem and therefore restore the individual back to health.
I usually recommend an initial series of between 4 and 6 weekly treatments in order to begin the process of rebalancing the body. After this, it would be typical to have two treatments per monthly cycle, one at approximately 10 days and one at 21 days until pregnancy is achieved.
The use of acupuncture with IVF has become routine in most units today, underlining the popularity of this approach. Recent studies have shown that using acupuncture in conjunction with IVF increases pregnancy rates to 41% compared to the more typical 26% without acupuncture. Acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow to the womb, relax the muscles of the womb to prevent cramping (and consequent expulsion of the embryo), and also reduce the general anxiety associated with the IVF procedure.
And After you become pregnant!
Acupuncture is a safe, effective, and drug-free way of treating illness during pregnancy. For example, it can help with pregnancy-induced morning sickness and back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture can also turn breech babies with an 80% success rate thus avoiding the need for a cesarean section. If you’d like to try the treatment for yourself, visit AB Acupuncture here.