Pregnancy Acupuncture-Fertility Acupuncture-Infertility Acupuncture
Why is Fertility Acupuncture is So Effective ?
Raymond Chang, a doctor who has continually included Acupuncture in his fertility treatments for the last ten years, suggests that Acupuncture aids in fertility by providing better blood flow and circulation to the womb, allowing for better nourishment for the eggs. Acupuncture has also been shown to increase circulation to the ovaries and uterus, stimulate the ovaries, and help to thicken the uterine lining, which can be beneficial to implantation. Additionally, Acupuncture is very effective in relaxing patients and lowering stress. Relaxation is important for keeping cortisol levels low, and progesterone levels high. These factors help to lower the chances of miscarriage.
In the Western perspective of treating infertility, the focus is on increasing the quantity of eggs and/or sperm. The idea is that with increased number comes increased chances of conception. Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, on the other hand, aim to restore balance and health to the body. When the body is healthy and energy is balanced, the chances of conception and birth are improved dramatically.
To make your body as healthy as possible, a traditional Chinese medicinal program will be customized for your unique situation and body, and may include Acupuncture treatments, herbs, and suggestions for nutrition and lifestyle. All of these components will be specialized specifically for you.
“Nourish the Soil Before Planting the Seed”
For those couples that want to boost their chances of conceiving, it is important to plan in advance. Many couples wait until they are actually trying to conceive to start Acupuncture treatments, but ideally, you should start to prepare for a baby at least three months before actually conceiving or starting an in vitro fertilization cycle. In this time, it is suggested that sessions be attended twice a week until pregnancy is confirmed, and then once weekly during the first trimester to reduce the chances of having a miscarriage.
During this time, you may also receive advice for improving your diet, which is important for the health of both the mother and her child. Specific examples of dietary suggestions you may receive can be found in one of some other articles, “The ABCs of Fertility: Acupuncture, Babies, Chinese Medicine.”
For optimizing health in the time before and during pregnancy, it is important to keep certain other factors in check, such as the amount of caffeine consumed, stress levels, sleep patterns, alcohol consumption, weight, and smoking.
Caffeine can have major adverse effects on chances of miscarriage. Certain amounts of coffee consumption (as little as 5 cups) have been been shown to increase chances of miscarriage by 40%.
Stress is associated with complications and problems in ovulation and sperm development. Decreasing stress means increasing chances of conceiving.
Weight of both members of the couple can affect chances and speed of conception and birth. Being underweight can have adverse effects on menstrual periods, and being overweight can cause conception to be more difficult.
Smoking can cause a higher risk of miscarriage, as well as lower estrogen levels, contribute to tubal factor infertility, and cause early menopause in women. Chances of conceiving can also be hurt if the man in the couple is a smoker; smoking has been shown to damage sperm. Also of note is the fact that sperm count tends to quickly increase in men who have recently quit smoking.
By making sure that all of these factors have been taken care of, in addition to enhancing fertility, your overall health and well-being will be greatly improved.
To summarize, it has long been known that Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can significantly improve fertility in both women and men by improving the lining and blood flow of the uterus, regulating hormones, reducing stress and improving overall well-being, improving ovarian function, and improving the quality and quantity of sperm. All of these effects will help to increase chances of conception alone or with ART, increase live birth rates, and lower chances of ectopic pregnancies.
History of Acupuncture for Pregnancy
The first recorded gynecological records date back to 1000 BC or earlier, in China's Shang dynasty. But while Oriental medicine has been used for thousands of years to effectively enhance fertility, Western society is just now beginning to recognise its potential.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Fertility: The Research
Infertility is commonly defined as the inability to conceive, even after a full year of regular sexual intercourse with no use of birth control of any kind. There are many reasons conception might be difficult, and many reasons why bringing a pregnancy to term and then actually giving birth may be difficult as well. Facing complications with having a child can be extremely frustrating, upsetting, and stressful to would-be parents.
Fortunately, research suggests that traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture may be able to help couples with fertility who are having trouble conceiving.
Several studies conducted in Germany and Denmark have found that traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture can significantly improve fertility and conception rates for women undergoing in vitro fertilization. About 30 to 40 percent of women who received Acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicinal treatments tended to conceive, while women who did not receive treatments tended to conceive about 15 to 25 percent of the time.
Another study has concluded that, regardless of the results for conception, Acupuncture is completely safe for women undergoing in vitro fertilization.
Research has shown that Acupuncture is effective for treating men who suffer from infertility, as well. Treatments can improve both the quality and motility of sperm.
Further evidence of traditional Chinese medicine's success and growing acceptance can be found in the fact that, in 2005, the University of Maryland received $400,000 from The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in order to further research the benefits of Acupuncture as a complimentary treatment to in vitro fertilization.
In 2007, infertility physician Dr. Paul Magarelli and acupuncturist Diane Cridennda conducted a study to test the effectiveness of Acupuncture when used with in vitro fertilization. The study involved 9 treatments up to two months prior to the embryo transfer step of fertilization.
Lorne Brown, noted doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, analyzed the data produced by the study and posted several conclusions to his website. Although the potential of the treatments was hindered, due to the fact that all of the participants in the study had to receive treatments that were exactly the same (to ensure scientific validity), the results were extremely positive. Doctor Brown concluded that Acupuncture can improve the live birth rate by up to 15%, reduce the chances of an ectopic pregnancy, and improve host quality, with in vitro fertilization, without harming or negatively affecting fertility or the in vitro fertilization outcome in any way. Additionally, he concluded that Acupuncture's ability to improve live birth rates and implantation comes from it's abilities to make the body's hormone levels mimic those that would occur in a natural cycle situation.