acupuncture for fertility

Acupuncture and IVF

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 1.6 percent of all infants born annually in the United States are conceived using assisted reproductive technology or in vitro fertilization. In vitro fertilization or IVF is big business. The average cost of an IVF cycle costs $12,000, and that doesn’t even include the medications that can run between $3,000 and $5,000. 

This is where acupuncture may be able to assist. Many fertility doctors are now recommending acupuncture, as it can improve a woman’s chances of conceiving by up to 60 percent. There have been multiple studies conducted that show the rates of live births nearly double in cases where acupuncture was used. 

Acupuncture treatments can improve blood flow to the uterus. This has been verified through the use of ultrasound. Increased blood flow to the uterus can create a more hospitable environment for implantation of an embryo. 

Another factor that plays heavily in the world of conception is a woman’s stress levels. When a woman is undergoing in vitro fertilization, she is under a lot of stress, both physically and mentally. This can lead to increased amounts of stress hormones that are actually detrimental to the body and may inhibit fertility.  Again, this is where acupuncture treatments can help. Regular acupuncture treatments have been shown to decrease overall stress levels, making the fertilization procedure a little easier for the body. 

Lastly, acupuncture has been shown to improve the response of the body to in vitro fertilization medications. IVF medications cause multiple follicles to grow, and the higher the number of mature eggs retrieved, the greater the likelihood that one of those eggs will get fertilized, resulting in an embryo for implantation into the uterus.

It is usually recommended a woman begin acupuncture a couple of months prior to the IVF procedure. This will increase the chances of conception. Here, Eastern and Western medicine work very well together. If you’re considering in vitro fertilization, acupuncture might be a welcomed addition to the mix.

acupuncture, billings montana, natural healing

What Can I Expect At My First Acupuncture Appointment?

For some, acupuncture can seem scary or intimidating, especially the needles part. However, most leave their first acupuncture treatment feeling relaxed and excited to come back. Here’s what to expect.

The Paperwork
At your first visit, the acupuncturist will have you fill out some paper work, just like at a doctor’s appointment. But there may be some questions you’re not so used to being asked. Chinese medicine uses clues from the whole body to make a diagnosis. So don’t be surprised when they ask about bowel movements, eye floaters, or sleep even if you’re just coming in for back pain.

The Intake
After filling out paperwork, the acupuncturist will take you back to a treatment room. The acupuncturist will likely ask you more questions about your main complaint and overall wellbeing. Then, they will look at your tongue and take your pulse to gain information about what’s going on inside of your body. Acupuncturists get a lot of information from feeling your pulse and looking at the tongue. The overall pulse quality, strength, and rhythm is felt to get a better understanding of what’s going on inside the body. The tongue shape, color, and ‘coat’ also provide information about the current state of your body.

The Treatment
After the intake, the acupuncturist will have you get comfortable on the table. Many times the clothes you’re wearing will be rolled up to provide access to acupuncture points, but sometimes the practitioner may have you change into a gown.
Next comes the actual acupuncture. The most important thing to realize is we use really, really, really small needles! Many have needle phobias thanks to traumatizing experiences at doctors’ offices. However, acupuncture needles are very different from those used at doctors’ offices. The width of an acupuncture needle is comparable to the width of a single strand of hair. Many sensitive patients don’t even feel them going in!
The acupuncturist will choose various points all over the body. Even if back pain is the primary concern, point on the hands and feet may be used. The number of points used varies by practitioner but will usually be around 10-15. Once all the needles are in, you’re usually left to relax and let the needles do their work for approximately 30 minutes. Then, the practitioner will return, remove the needles, and send you on your way.

The Results
Most feel the difference from acupuncture right away, most noticeably with increased relaxation. For pain conditions, a difference may be felt right away or it may take a few treatments to notice a change. Your acupuncturist will recommended a course of treatment to best target your needs. Expect to be pleasantly surprised with the results of acupuncture on not just your aches and pains but also your overall wellbeing.