Acupuncture & Fertility: Can It Help You Conceive?
With infertility (defined as no conception within 1 year of unprotected sex) affecting one in every nine Australian couples of reproductive age, more and more couples are looking for ways to enhance their fertility. Many people come to see us at Village Remedies in Sydney (Balmain & CBD) seeking help to fall pregnant naturally or through assisted reproductive means, such as IVF.
Most of the time it’s the women who seek out help for fertility, but it is really important to realise that men have equally important roles to play in the ability to conceive successfully. Statistics suggest that 2 of 5 infertile couples are due to male factors, another 2 due to female factors, and one due to a combination or unknown factors.
So, Can Acupuncture Help You Conceive?
First of all, it’s important to be up front about the fact that there are no special combinations of acupuncture points or Chinese herbs that can make someone fall pregnant. When using acupuncture for fertility, it is important to remember that it plays a supportive role. We support the process by promoting overall health (preferably working with both partners).
With this in mind, it is important to consider other factors that may influence your fertility and increase your chances of pregnancy such as (sourced from YourFertility.org.au):
Timing - making sure you’re tracking your menstrual cycle to know when ovulation is to determine you “fertile window” (the day of ovulation and 5 days prior)
Age - women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have higher chances of falling pregnant more easily (not to say you can’t after this age, but it can become more difficult due to natural biological reasons).
Lifestyle - things like quitting smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs, reducing caffeine, eating a balanced nutrient-dense diet, supplementation, and avoiding harmful chemicals can all have beneficial effects on fertility rates of both men and women.
Medical - checking in with your doctor for any medical issues that may contribute to difficulty with pregnancy.
Weight - maintaining a healthy weight (according to BMI standards) will help support fertility in both men and women. Both over and underweight women may struggle to conceive and overweight men are more prone to reduced sperm quality and erectile issues.
We use acupuncture to help promote the opposite response to your fight or flight stress response, which is nicknamed the rest and digest response because this state is also important for regulating digestion, sleep, recovery, relaxation, etc. That’s why at Village Remedies we look for signs of improvement in these areas as well to know that we’re helping support fertility. We also have traditional acupuncture points that have been indicated to support fertility by promoting circulation to the reproductive organs, so we work these into a treatment tailored to you and your overall health needs.
What about IVF?
Some women will also come in during or before IVF cycles. The process can be quite stressful, and so our approach doesn’t change too much as we look to offset that stress as much as possible while also promoting health overall. After implantation, we do have particular points we’ll use that have been traditionally indicated for retaining a pregnancy.
After conceiving, acupuncture for pregnancy is also common for managing things like pain, morning sickness, fatigue or other things that may come up. Eventually when it comes to the end of the pregnancy, acupuncture has also been used to help assist natural labour.