Dear Kindara,I’ve heard acupuncture can help me get pregnant. What’s the deal?–EmilyAge 29Austin, TX
Emily,Yes! There are studies that show acupuncture is an effective natural method to increase women’s chances of getting pregnant, both naturally and by in vitro fertilization.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves placing extremely thin needles in very specific spots, known as “meridians,” to modify the energy flow of the body. Factors different people attribute to acupuncture’s effect include the release of opiates during treatment, a temporary blockage of “pain-signal transmission,” an increase in blood flow to the reproductive organs, and even the placebo effect. Traditionally it is believed to balance “qi” or life energy. Regardless of how it works, studies have shown that it truly helps women who are infertile or having trouble conceiving.
Overall, acupuncture has been shown to help with many issues facing women trying to get pregnant: elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), prevention of miscarriages, and hyper- or hypo-functioning thyroid. It even helps men dealing with infertility. How’s that for a list?!
Additionally, acupuncture enhances body processes that increase your chances of getting pregnant. It facilitatesblood flow to the endometrium and has been shown to improve ovarian and follicular function. It is recommended to begin treatment 3 to 4 months prior to trying to achieve pregnancy in order to let the positive effects manifest. Acupuncture is often referred to as “process-oriented,” meaning the treatment should be received regularly, over a long period of time.
So long answer made short: yes, if you are trying to get pregnant, acupuncture can help you get there. Find a licensed acupuncturist who specializes in fertility and proceed with confidence. Keep in mind that the best results are often seen when using a combination of acupuncture, herbal and traditional western medicine.