Acupuncture for Fertility- Does It Help?
If you have battled infertility, then you must have tried several things to improve the odds of getting pregnant. These can include treatments, exercise, food changes, supplements, and many other things. You might have even come across acupuncture to fertility boost as well.
But does acupuncture boost fertility? How does acupuncture work for fertility? How many acupuncture sessions are needed to get pregnant? These are the questions we will try to answer today.
If you have been trying to get pregnant you might have come across both traditional and other types of treatments for infertility. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a child after having unprotected sex for the duration of 1 year. Usually, this indicates that some serious issue is stopping you from becoming pregnant or that you might need some additional help.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 12 percent of all women have infertility issues. In more than 35 percent of all infertility cases, both men and women may have some reason for being unable to get pregnant or impregnate others, whereas, in 8 percent of the cases of infertility, men might have some underlying cause.
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese therapy. It has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. In this therapy, a trained professional uses small needles to stimulate blood flow to specific areas of the body.
How Does Acupuncture Work for Fertility?
The first thing we will try to answer is why is acupuncture good for fertility? There has been much anecdotal evidence that explains the reasons for it. The question here should not be how many acupuncture sessions to get pregnant might be required, as it is not an exact science. What acupuncture does is improve the odds of becoming pregnant.
The answer to the question ‘why is acupuncture good for fertility?’ is simple. Research shows that this process might aid people in getting pregnant by balancing hormones, decreasing stress, and increasing blood flow to reproductive organs.
Acupuncture and infertility treatment may complement each other. Though studies to determine if acupuncture really works to increase fertility are rare, one study measured the effects of acupuncture among women receiving fertility treatment or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
In the study, out of 800 participants, half of the subjects received acupuncture while undergoing IVF, while the other half received sham treatments. The second group served as a placebo. The study showed that live births were recorded in 18.3 percent of the women who received acupuncture, whereas 17.8 percent of women had live births in the placebo group.
The answer to the question ‘Does acupuncture boost fertility?’ might be complicated. One thing that has long been established is that acupuncture can help relieve stress. Studies show that women and men who are not stressed are more likely to get pregnant or impregnate their partner.
What Will Happen During the Acupuncture Session?
Acupuncture for infertility might be effective, but if you are considering this therapy, there are some things to consider. First of all, you should always opt for a licensed professional.
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine database online has a list of these professionals. Nowadays many infertility clinics have these experts on their staff.
During a session, the acupuncturist uses small needles. They insert these needles into specific spots on the body called acupoints. According to Chinese traditional medicine principles, these acupoints are the spots in the body from whence the whole body’s energy flows. This energy, called Qi, is thought to promote healing. It is important that the needles used in this process are easy to handle, safe, made of stainless steel, and only used once.
When you visit the acupuncturist for the first time, it is likely they will make an overall assessment of your general health. The acupuncturist will take an oral history of your medical status and symptoms.
They may also question you regarding any tests you may have received. All of this will impact your treatment plan and the number of sessions that you might need. You might receive weekly treatment at the start but the frequency is likely to decrease with time.
It might also be a good idea to tell your doctor that you are receiving acupuncture, as your physician and acupuncturist may want to coordinate treatment. Sometimes acupuncture treatment may be performed during a time which coincides with embryo transfer during IVF.
The process is not painful and is often so relaxing that you may even fall asleep. You might be asked to refrain from eating or drinking before the procedure and you might have to remove tight clothes or jewelry.
How Safe is Acupuncture for Fertility?
Acupuncture for infertility may be a good option. But it is important before receiving any treatment to ensure that it is safe and effective. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that the process of acupuncture is safe as long as the practitioner uses proper, sterile, and safe equipment, such as needles that are labeled as single-use, are sterile, and nontoxic.
When acupuncture therapy is performed by a skilled person, there are very few risks and side effects of the process. These risks may include:
- excessive bleeding or bleeding at the needle site
- puncture of internal organs such as lungs
- infection from unsterilized needles
- bruising at the puncture site
Acupuncture might in fact help you become pregnant. Research in this area is in advanced stages, but if you are interested in using this form of therapy, you might talk to your doctor or a skilled acupuncturist to learn more.