What is acupuncture for fertility?
Many patients are interested in seeking complementary care to go along with their medical fertility treatments as they try to get pregnant. Dr. Susan Hudson and the rest of the Texas Fertility Center physicians are always happy to advise about which alternative treatments to seek, and which to avoid.
While some non-traditional fertility remedies like herbs and supplements can be harmful, acupuncture is a safe and potentially fertility-enhancing holistic treatment that we may suggest for our patients.
Acupuncture is a practice in traditional Chinese medicine that dates back 4,000 years. During the treatment, thin needles are inserted into the skin in specific parts of the body to stimulate the body’s natural systems for circulation, energy and blood flow.
Is acupuncture safe?
As a fertility patient, the idea of additional needles can cause some concern. The needles used in acupuncture, however, are the same width as a hair on your head. The needles are sterile and used only once.
Only on rare occasions does a needle insertion cause bleeding, and in those cases it is very minor. Many people report feeling tingling or numbness where needles have been inserted. There are very few short-term side effects, but the most common one is drowsiness.
How can acupuncture help with fertility and pregnancy?
Acupuncture may be helpful with “whole health” for men and women, especially during the stressful time of trying to get pregnant.
Once you have completed a full fertility evaluation by Dr. Hudson, you will have more information about specific factors that might be affecting your fertility. A professional specializing in fertility acupuncture will use this information to guide your treatment, focusing on the areas of concern.
Some of the ways acupuncture has been reported in the literature to help with fertility:
- Regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle: Acupuncture may be effective at normalizing hormone production in the body, which helps synchronize a woman’s monthly cycle.
- Increased blood flow to ovaries and uterus: Through hormonal and circulation regulation, acupuncture can enhance the body’s natural processes through increasing blood flow to support fertility in specific areas.
- Improving male fertility: There are studies that show that men with lower quality sperm can have improvements in sperm quality after acupuncture treatments.
- Stress reduction: There is evidence that acupuncture treatments lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is sometimes called the “stress hormone” because it is often elevated when people are experiencing stress. Reducing stress is beneficial for both partners while trying to get pregnant.
- Supporting a healthy pregnancy: Acupuncture has been shown to help with nausea, morning sickness and other pregnancy-related symptoms.
While Dr. Hudson doesn’t routinely direct patients to acupuncture for fertility, we do feel that this is generally safe commentary treatment during your fertility cycle.
Check with your fertility doctor before seeking alternative treatments
Consult with Dr. Hudson or your fertility doctor before trying any alternative treatments that could affect your health or interfere with your fertility care.
Please contact us to discuss your fertility plan to see if acupuncture might be a good complimentary fertility treatment for your situation.