Are you trying for a baby, and have been referred to acupuncture by a doctor, family member, or friend? Reaching out to an acupuncturist in order to improve chances of conceiving has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many studies have found that women who keep up with regular acupuncture treatments have a higher rate of pregnancy and births.
Is there any science behind these claims, though? And, more importantly, is it safe? Read on to learn everything you need to know about acupuncture to improve fertility and pregnancy.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a holistic health technique that originated from China and was used as their traditional form of medicine. Although it first appeared over 2,000 years ago, the natural approach to wellness continues to evolve and be used by trained professionals today.
From a Chinese medicine standpoint, the needles stimulate the body's meridians, or channels of energy, along certain points. Depending on where the needles are placed, a person may feel more relaxed, more energized, or may experience physical changes, like a change to certain hormones, or increased blood flow to certain areas of the body, such as the pelvis.
Since the goal of acupuncture is to promote and restore the balance of energy to all points of the body, the benefits of acupuncture can extend to a wide variety of conditions; from anxiety, to migraines, and even IBS. Acupuncture has proved beneficial for reducing fatigue, reversing addictive behavior, and for promoting overall health and wellness.
Acupuncture for Infertility
Acupuncture can help improve fertility by increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs, balancing the endocrine system, and reducing stress. The goal of acupuncture as a fertility treatment is not only to conceive, but to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
One of the major ways in which acupuncture infertility treatments can help to increase chances of fertility is by reducing stress, a vital factor in the fertility of women. When the body and mind are under stress, the hormone cortisol is released in the brain. This alters the hormone levels throughout the body, disturbing the pituitary balance that is essential to the reproductive cycle.
During acupuncture infertility treatment, specific points in the body that connect to the ovarian and follicular regions are stimulated, improving reproductive health. It has also been shown to increase the flow of blood to the lining of the uterus, making it healthier for pregnancy. Acupuncture helps to address the effects of an over or under functioning thyroid as well.
Other conditions that may benefit with acupuncture infertility treatment include:
- Spasmed tubes
- High follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels
- Abnormal luteal phase
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Recurrent miscarriage and infertility with an unknown cause
Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy?
Acupuncture has been used as a method to treat pregnant women for centuries and is considered safe during pregnancy. While there have been pregnant women who have reported feeling fatigued, having slight bruising, and experiencing mild pain at the needle site, these are also common side effects of patients who are not pregnant.
Acupuncture is an effective treatment option to improve pelvic and back pain as well as nausea during pregnancy. If you decide that acupuncture may be a good option for you, be sure to do your research, and find a licensed acupuncturist who specializes in pregnant women.