Acupuncture and FertilityPregnancy & Fertility | Amy Chitwood L.A.c | July 28, 2009 at 8:45 pm
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are approximately 7.3 million women in the United States who are experiencing difficulty conceiving, meaning they turn to various methods to help encourage conception. One alternative method: acupuncture. There’s been an increase in doctors referring patients to acupuncture clinics for fertility treatment and many hospitals and fertility clinics have acupuncturists on call to help with in vitro fertilization procedures.
Acupuncture increases the flow of energy and blood to the uterus, which enhances the chances of conception. For ideal effectiveness, an acupuncture practitioner should be seen several months before trying to conceive. This gives the body a chance to balance the hormones and energy, creating a healthy environment for a pregnancy.
Acupuncture can be successful alongside Western fertility drugs and procedures. Women who are taking Clomid find that acupuncture helps with the side effects as well as encouraging conception. There are specific acupuncture protocols before and after in vitro (IVF) embryo transfers (implanting a fertilized egg in the woman’s womb). Research studies have have shown successful outcomes when these specific protocols are used.
Acupuncture along isn’t enough, of course, and your lifestyle choices play a very important role when trying to conceive. Here are some diet tips to guide you:
- Start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you are considering conceiving
- Eat organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible
- If you eat animal proteins, be sure they are hormone-free, free range and fed with a vegetarian diet
- Try toavoid processed foods and sugars
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
- Maintain a reasonable and regular exercise routine (that includes yoga and gentle stretching)
Another way to help become more in tune with your cycles is by taking your basal body temperature every morning (check out the WellWire video with Dr. Igor Schwartzman to learn how to take your basal body temperature). This will help you recognize when you are ovulating, and the best days in your cycle to try to conceive.
Charting your basal body temperature will also help your acupuncturist decide the best acupuncture treatment for you, as well as specific herbs for your Chinese herbal formula. You may be given one formula before ovulation, and a different one after ovulation. This is to help regulate the energy in your body and prepare it for pregnancy.
I often recommend The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis, about acupuncture and fertility, and Toni Weschler’s Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which touches on basal body temperature and conception, to my patients. A good online resource is resolve.org, a site that supports women and couples trying to conceive. Last, but not least, be sure to take check out this website for more tips and recipes on how to eat for fertility.