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Acupuncture can be undertaken when trying to conceive, immediately before fertility treatment, or during the first couple of weeks of pregnancy. This may also be beneficial to be undertaken by women after several unsuccessful attempts to become pregnant, with or without fertility assistance.
The aim of treatment while trying to increase fertility is to improve blood flow to the reproductive organs which in turn, may encourage the ovaries to function at their peak and may help to increase the lining thickness of the uterus.
Acupuncture is also often undertaken by women with PCOS, with a specific aim to induce ovulation and aid in the regulation of hormones.
In preparation for an IVF cycle, acupuncture may assist in regulating hormones, improving the menstrual cycle and promoting ovulation whilst relieving stress by working on the bodies central nervous system.
Whilst undertaking IVF, some acupuncturists suggest a short treatment prior to and immediately after an embryo transfer with a hope to increase the chances of implantation. Because IVF treatments can be both a stressful and emotional time for women and couples, acupuncture may assist in the signs of stress and allow your body to function at its best.
If you are already going through IVF treatment, it is important to discuss any intention to also undertake acupuncture with your fertility specialist first. By keeping both your fertility specialist and acupuncturist in the same loop, you can ensure that both parties work together to provide you with the best possible care and treatment.
Achieving the best possible health is very important for both partners in increasing the chance of pregnancy. Acupuncture may assist in males pre-conception to improve aspects of general health including energy levels, weight and stress. In specific relation to fertility, there is some research that suggests acupuncture may assist in sperm count, quality and motility.
There is research to suggest acupuncture can directly lead to fertility treatment success, the treatment has been shown to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Acupuncture is believed to lower stress levels during clinical fertility treatments, which may, in turn, provide an assistance to pregnancy.
When pregnant, acupuncture combined with good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle may assist in stress reduction, minimizing nausea, and help with musculoskeletal complaints common in the later stages of pregnancy.