Updated: Nov 1, 2022
Did you know that acupuncture is extremely helpful and beneficial when it comes to improving fertility and the chances of conceiving? When it comes to fertility there is what we call natural conception as well as the path of assisted conception, usually involving IVF. No matter the journey, they equally can be just as difficult, overwhelming and stressful. Fertility is such a huge, multi-faceted topic and umbrella with so many variables. But I thought it would be good to provide you with a bit of an overview of how acupuncture could potentially support you on your fertility and conception journey, and how conception and fertility is looked at from a holistic and Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view.
Fertility from an Acupuncturist’s perspective
One of my absolute passions and special areas of focus is actually fertility, from pre to post conception, pregnancy and post-partum, I cover and work with clients across all stages. When looking at fertility from an acupuncture perspective we look at four main areas of focus, with these being:-
After all food is medicine, and how you nourish your body plays a huge role in the health of yourself, the health of your unborn baby, and the health of your baby when it makes its appearance earth side.
We also need to consider your environmental stress and toxins, from not just what you put into your mouth, but also what chemicals and or body care products or perfumes you may be using, as it all contributes to your overall health and wellbeing.
2. Menstrual cycle
Understanding your menstrual cycle is key when looking at fertility and conception. How is your period? How often do you have a period? Do you experience pain? Is the flow heavy, light, short or long in duration? Do you know when you are ovulating?
Don’t worry I can also help you with improving your cycle and learning how to track your cycle as well. There is nothing to be afraid of, it isn’t about what is right or wrong, but how I can help you to improve and optimise your chances of conception. While also helping you to understand your own unique body.
3. Stress and sleep
Yes, your stress both emotional and physical and your quality of sleep plays a huge role when it comes to fertility. The more stressed our body is, the more depleted it becomes and the more fatigued it actually is. Stress is one of those things that is so often overlooked as more often than not we might have been running on empty, or in our flight or fight stage for such a long time that it just seems normal. When in fact it isn’t. The amazing thing about acupuncture is that it works on the whole body, not just one thing. And when it comes to fertility the whole body plays a part. Acupuncture will assist in bringing your body back into a more balanced and calm state. We will also look at ways to reduce your stress and improve the amount of sleep you are or are not getting.
4. Timing of sex
When it comes especially to natural conception the timing of sex is rather important. Learning when you are ovulating through learning how to track your cycle, (which I can teach you how to do) will enable us to work together to figure out the optimal times for you and your partner to time sex, to increase the chances of conception. But what I do really want to say here is, it is so important when on the fertility journey not to lose the romance, and the intimate connection you have between each other. Whether you are trying naturally or through IVF often the romance and the joy and fun of intimacy is removed from having sex. I really encourage my patients to focus on them still, as before there comes a baby, there is still the two of you. Making sure you try to prioritise romance and having fun when it comes to your sex life and your relationship in general, the less stressful the situation will be overall.
How acupuncture can assist in fertility
Aside from looking at and improving these four main areas as discussed, I also look at the body and use specific techniques and tools at different times of a women’s cycle to encourage and support the uterus and the reproductive organs to assist in creating the ideal environment for an egg to be fertilised and to attach to the lining of the uterus. From massage, to cupping, as well as specific acupuncture points depending on where you are at in your cycle and how your body is presenting, I will work to support and enhance your body’s natural ability to conceive or equally support your body in the different stages of the IVF process.
Your overall health plays a pivotal role in fertility and your chances of conception whether naturally or through IVF. Acupuncture is not only beneficial in improving your overall health and wellbeing, but is also known to improve blood flow to the ovaries and endometrium, settle uterine contractions and also encourage a more balanced and relaxed nervous system. All these elements play a part in your fertility journey.
Ideally if your partner is also willing, it is even more beneficial for me to treat both of you. In reality there are usually two parties at play and the health of both of you plays a role in fertility and conception.
Things outside the treatment room to assist
I also like to give my patients different things they can do at home to help as well. I often will suggest naval cupping to draw cold out of the body. In Chinese Medicine the focus is on moving blood and nourishing the follicles and keeping the body warm. I also love a heat pack on the tummy and back at night as a beautiful way to warm the body and create a nourishing and warm environment.
Another thing I am learning more about very soon and can’t wait to share more on in the future, is vaginal steaming. Although this might sound unusual, vaginal steaming sometimes also referred to as yoni steaming is a practice whereby different herbs and or flowers are used for different times of the cycle or pregnancy journey to help fertility or aid in healing post pregnancy.
A huge thing I will also mention is exercise. But do read on because it may not be what you expect. I am definitely not an advocate of high intensity, bearing down, frequent exercising especially working out at the gym. If you are someone that is frequenting the gym numerous times a week, you will likely find that I suggest you reduce this and also look at different types of exercise such as walking, or other more supportive and less intense exercise styles such as yoga and or Pilates (both under the guidance of a trained professional of course). Also be mindful when you do fall pregnant, the type of exercise you can do that is safe at different stages of your pregnancy will change a lot as well.
While all this can definitely seem and feel overwhelming and not always easy, please know that I have treated many women and their partners, even ones who have been told they are infertile, and have had many of them successfully and often naturally fall pregnant and go on to have happy healthy babies. Although there is never a guarantee with any path, what I can say is that acupuncture can definitely help improve your chances. Even if you do nothing else but choose to look at the four main areas I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, you will be one step further to supporting your body, its fertile environment and your ability to fall pregnant.
If you would like to explore acupuncture as an additional support and assistance to help on your fertility and conception journey, you can never start to early. There is so much we can begin to do no matter if you are wanting to try now or in few months, or a year’s time to fall pregnant. I would love to support you and your partner on your journey towards becoming parents and beyond. If you have any questions or would like more in depth information, please do get in touch. I look forward to chatting with you further. Whatever path you are on or may go down in the future I hope that your dreams of becoming parents come true and that the journey is also enjoyable and one to be cherished.