Acupuncture and Fertility

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years, first seen documented around 100 to 200 BC. Initially, sharpened stones or bones were used during treatments (News Medical Life Science), instead of the needles we now associate it with. Luckily, practitioners now use sterilized needles, with various widths and lengths. These needles are not coated with any medication and are single use, and are disposed into a sharps container afterwards. All of the needles that I use are thinner than a needle that you get with injections. Some needles have a very thin layer of silicon around the shaft of the needle to help the practitioner insert the needle "faster and painlessly;" however, in my experience, it does not make much of a difference, unless you have fibromyalgia or another condition that makes you extremely sensitive to pain. Acupuncture is an incredibly safe therapy to use, whether it's for pain, improving fertility, relieving stress, regulating the nervous system, etc. when done by someone who has been trained properly. Treatments range from 30-45 minutes, depending on what is being addressed. 

Acupuncture is a useful therapy to use in conjunction with preconception care. Treatments have been known to decrease stress, and modulate the nervous system - which in turn can modulate hormones. There have been studies that have found that acupuncture, especially after in vitro Fertilization (IVF) increased rates of pregnancy, and delivery (Qian). Jungyoung found that acupuncture increased pregnancy, and ongoing pregnancy rates in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). While Balk found that women undergoing IVF and receiving acupuncture, objectively felt less stress than women who did not have acupuncture. As a result, more women receiving acupuncture with their IVF became pregnant (64.7%), where as 42.5% of the women not receiving acupuncture with their IVF became pregnant. 

Using acupuncture to help increase conception rates with or without IVF, is another tool in the toolbox that naturopathic doctors can use to help couples conceive. It helps increase blood flow (and therefore nutrition) to the uterus, improve egg quality, decreases uterine spasms, decrease stress, promotes relaxation. If you were looking for extra support throughout your journey, having a Naturopathic Doctor on your side would be a great addition to your health team. 

~ Dr. Charmagne