Strengths And Limitations Of The Study
The use of a mixed methods approach in this study identified preliminary findings that resulted in a greater understanding of how acupuncture supported women experiencing threatened miscarriage than possible from using a quantitative or qualitative approach in isolation. In addition the use of a pragmatic acupuncture treatment protocol allowed flexibility for diagnosis and treatment, increasing external clinical validity for practitioners by reflecting a treatment approach applicable to real-world acupuncture. Although pragmatic trial designs do not provide information on the effect of specific acupuncture points and needling effects, they are recommended when investigating acupuncture as a complex intervention. Where complex interventions refer to treatment effects not only derived from the use of needles, but also through dietary and lifestyle advice specifically tailored to meet diagnostic criteria that involve the participants .
Reducing Stress With Acupuncture
More and more were learning about stress and how it damages the human body and mind. High levels of stress in women can cause hormones to be disrupted and when the stress is extreme it can even affect ovulation. Couples trying to conceive can become extremely stressed. Acupuncture can help, by bringing your body back to balance. It may be that acupuncture can help with even more serious infertility issues. Some women report that it helps with treating luteal phase defect and ovulation disorder.
Can Acupuncture Help With Pregnancy Support
At Village Remedies clinic in Balmain, Sydney, we see many women during pregnancy and offer support for various issues that may pop up while growing a new little one.
The body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy both hormonally and physically, so inevitably different things will come up for different women. These can include:
- Breach baby position
- Labour induction
During pregnancy, the use of medications and medical interventions is limited, so things are preferably managed naturally first, before other measures are taken. It is important to remember though, that your doctor and midwife are your primary carers during pregnancy, so listen to their advice. Were here to offer support where and when we can.
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Acupuncture Helps With Embryo Implantation
A growing body of evidence suggests that acupuncture increases embryo implantation rates. For example, in one recent study, it was found that acupuncture significantly improved clinical pregnancy rates in patients with a history of two or more failed IVF cycles.
Embryo implantation is dependent on many factors, including good blood supply to the uterus. Research shows that good blood supply to the uterus just before egg retrieval is associated with improved IVF conception rates. As previously mentioned, acupuncture can successfully increase the blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Implantation is also dependent on a normally functioning immune system. In some cases, problems with the immune system stop the embryo from implanting. A considerable body of human and animal research shows that acupuncture helps to regulate immune function.
Possible Risks Of Acupuncture During Pregnancy
When done properly by a trained professional, acupuncture during pregnancy is considered safe and has few risks. One review reported that acupuncture wasnt likely to be associated with miscarriage or other major complications.
Instead, most risks associated with acupuncture seem to be fairly minor. They can include soreness, redness or infection at the insertion sites, and injury from needles placed too deeply.
A bigger concern during pregnancy is where the acupuncture is performed. There are several acupuncture and acupressure points that are said to induce contractions which is why they should be avoided until term .
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What’s It Like To Get Acupuncture
If you decide you want to get acupuncture, you might have some questions about what the experience will feel like. Before getting started, an acupuncturist will usually ask you questions about your lifestyle, your reason for wanting to do acupuncture, and your health history. They might also take a look at your tongue for additional clues about your mental and physical state. Based on your concerns and their assessment of your physical state, the acupuncturist will insert needles that are about as thin as a strand of hair in specific areas believed to aid in the treatment of specific conditions.
Once theyve put the needles in the right areas, the acupuncturist will typically dim the lights, put on some calming music, and leave the room, usually for about 20-30 minutes. Some people take this time to think and relax, while others fall asleep.
Your treatment plan how often you have sessions, how long they last, where needles are placed, and how many sessions you have overall will depend on your specific concerns and how you are changing over time. For example, while some people using acupuncture for back pain need just a few sessions to see improvement, others may need more.
How Does Acupuncture Improve Fertility
Studies now show that acupuncture may not only assist in combating infertility, it may help couples who are trying to achieve a pregnancy. There is a very delicate balance in our body between the pituitary, hypothalamus, and reproductive glands, and we know that stress can completely prevent a woman from ovulating. We also know that stress can produce spasms in both the fallopian tubes and uterus, thus interfering with the movement and implantation of a fertilised egg. And stress in men can alter sperm counts and even cause impotence. And its here that acupuncture can help, because acupuncture fertility treatments can reverse the effects of cortisol and stress by releasing endorphins in the brain.
There have been many studies conducted on acupuncture and fertility. Many have found that that women who undergo acupuncture do have a higher rate of pregnancy. Whether the treatment is initiated due to conditions that interfere with getting pregnant, like polycystic ovary syndrome, or simply to increase their chances of successful IVF, many women are achieving a successful pregnancy and birth. In many instances, fertility doctors have recommended that their patients use acupuncture to help lower their stress levels. This is because it is now common knowledge that stress hormones can lower fertility hormones.
Major Benefit : Balancing Reproductive Hormones And Normalizing Menstrual Cycles
Improperly balanced hormones are known to have a negative impact on fertility. Luckily, acupuncture can help improve the production of sex hormones related to fertility and bring balance to the body. In a review of several studies, researchers found that acupuncture can help to increase estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, and other hormones .
As mentioned above, women can not get pregnant if they do not ovulate. Irregular menstrual cycles are a major symptom of anovulation . Studies have shown that in addition to improving hormone production, acupuncture can positively influence menstrual health and reproductive functioning in women experiencing delays in getting pregnant . Acupuncture can also specifically help women with PCOS who ovulate infrequently and are suffering from infertility. Research has shown that repeated acupuncture treatments can result in higher ovulation frequency in women with PCOS .
Ways Acupuncture Can Help With Pregnancy And Labor
We’ve covered in previous blogs how acupuncture can help couples conceive – increasing the conception rate to 51% when administered before and after IVF transfers . But acupuncture can also be very helpful after conception during both pregnancy and childbirth. There is strong evidence to support that acupuncture is highly effective at treating some of the most common problems experienced during pregnancy including morning sickness, heartburn, and sciatica. Acupuncture is also helpful with delivery for turning breech babies and inducing labor.
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Frustrated That She Wasn’t Getting Pregnant But Not Yet Ready To Turn To Infertility Treatment Whitney Harris Tried Acupuncture To Help Her Conceive
I spent 10 years dating my now-husband trying desperately not to get pregnant. All through college, his law school and our young professional lives, we doubled up on birth control: I was always on the pill and he used condoms. We were that cautious. Finally, almost three years into marriage, we felt ready to try for a baby.
In February 2014, I went off the pill expecting to get pregnant in about a minute. I’m a healthy, active 29-year-old who eats organic and tries to lead a stress-free life. My period is more regular than any high-speed rail and everyone has always told me how easy it would be to conceive. “You’ll be preggers within a month!” friends and family had all shouted with glee well before I was trying. I’ve even had psychics tell me how fertile I am.
The first month without a period I was elated because I figured we’d been lucky enough to get pregnant with our first try. But multiple pregnancy tests revealed otherwise. Then March, April and May went by and I wasn’t anywhere closer to being pregnant. I still hadn’t resumed a post-pill period.
For the first few months I told myself to be patient and not obsess over whatever was going on with my body. Stressing out is the surest way not to get pregnant, right? But instead of rubbing my pressure points with calming essential oils and practicing some downward dog, I found myself falling down the wormhole of infertility message boards.
Had Ectopic Pregnancy To Get Pregnant Again Acupuncture Can Help
What is ectopic pregnancy? Ectopic pregnancy is that thefertilized egg implanted outside of the uterus. The commonest site is in thefallopian tube. The egg will not develop a baby, but it is threateningcondition for the pregnant women. Ectopic pregnancy occurs in 1% pregnancy. Therisk factors include pervious pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, tubalsurgery, intrauterine contraceptive device and previous ectopic. Patient haspositive urinary pregnancy test. Patient presents lower abdominal pain andslight vaginal bleeding. Ultrasound shows empty uterus and may identify ectopicembryo. If the egg dies before it can grow larger, the pregnancy terminates andthe tissue is absorbed in the womans body. In this case, the pregnancy testbecomes negative. If the pregnancy is left to grow, there is a risk that thefertilized egg grows larger and causes the tube to rupture which can cause lifethreatening internal bleeding. The signs of tube rupture are sudden severesharp abdominal pain, feeling faint and dizzy, being sick, diarrhoea andshoulder tip pain. This is a medical emergency condition.
Appendectomy increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy
Compromised ovarian function after salpingectomy,acupuncture can help.
Do you know that acupuncture improves blood circulation tothe ovaries and other reproductive system? It could help to improve ovarianfunction.
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What Causes Morning Sickness
Despite being called morning sickness, it can occur at any time during the day or night. Some women really struggle in the first trimester as they find eating difficult and their morning sickness symptoms negatively impacts their lives.
The main cause of morning sickness is thought to be the sudden increase in hormones during the first trimester. hCG is the primary pregnancy hormone which is produced by the placenta when an embryo implants in the uterus. It is responsible for maintaining the pregnancy by stimulating the production of progesterone. The surge in hCG, as well as estrogen and thyroid hormones, can trigger nausea and vomiting.
An imbalance of blood sugar levels can also cause morning sickness. Hormonal changes can alter how the body regulates and metabolizes glucose, often reducing the amount of glucose available which causes hypoglycemia . Going too long in between meals or snacks can bring on nausea due to the drop in blood sugars the female body has to work incredibly hard during pregnancy and therefore uses extra energy supplies.
Stress, multiple pregnancies and over-exertion or fatigue can bring on and worsen morning sickness.
Certain foods and drinks , odors and heat can also trigger morning sickness.
Nausea And Morning Sickness
Not finding relief from morning sickness with ginger ale and saltines? Acupuncture might be able to helpbut not in all situations, warns Coles Mckeown.
The women I see regularly before they conceive have more manageable nausea than the women who come to me after, she says, noting that this is purely anecdotal .
She also says that patients with severe forms of nausea may have less luck with an acupuncture-only treatment, though acupuncture could provide additional relief when someone is on prescription medication for nausea and vomiting.
Lastly, Coles Mckeown stresses again the importance of seeing an acupuncturist trained in treating pregnancy symptoms, since they may also be able to counsel you on dietary or lifestyle changes that could help you feel even better.
Can Acupuncture Help During Early Pregnancy
Yes. When trying to conceive with fertility treatment, your body is subjected to a surge of hormones. Youll likely be optimising your diet, improving your lifestyle and trying to minimise stress to get pregnant faster. As a result, your body might be experiencing a change to its normal functioning and fertility acupuncture can help to prepare the body for pregnancy.
During pregnancy, there are manyphysical and emotional changesin your body your hormones change, your uterus changes shape and size, your breasts change, your skin changes,muscles in the body change, your blood volume increases by 50% which means that not only does your Heart need to work harder but so does your Spleen, Liver, Stomach and Kidney organs and meridians.
If your body is struggling to harmonise, various pregnancy symptoms arise such as nausea, vomiting, anxiety,depression,headache and insomnia.
Acupuncture is a safe, very effective and drug-free treatment for any trimester of pregnancy and can be a very good solution to many pregnancy symptoms when performed by a fully trainedacupuncturist, focused on keeping Qi and Blood in harmony to support the healthy growth of the baby.
Managing While Marking Time
This theme illustrates how all women saw themselves as having to manage until they achieved the safety of their second trimesterthat each week offered more hope and reassurance until they were able to get to that 3 months and everything would be OK . Women sought reassurance through the presence of nausea, which was taken as a positive sign by all women who experienced it. Although ultrasounds were also spoken of as powerful reassurance, women did not necessarily see these as a guarantee that the pregnancy would continue with no further problems. Several women expressed concerns that there would be ongoing problems with their pregnancy:
Even after seeing the scan I kept thinking oh no, somethings going to go wrong. Im not sure why .
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How Does Acupuncture Work For Fertility
Did you know that at least 1 in 4 couples have acupuncture to help them get pregnant naturally or when trying to conceive with the help of medical infertility treatment?
So, how does acupuncture improve fertility? This article summarises research findings on how acupuncture can help improve fertility and increase In Vitro Fertilization success rates.
Acupuncture And Ivf Treatment
From the perspective of acupuncture, the goal of infertility treatment is two-fold. Firstly, the aim is for a woman to become pregnant. Secondly, she needs to be able to stay pregnant and to deliver a healthy baby.
One of the benefits of acupuncture is that it provides smooth blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. This promotes a greater chance for an egg to be nourished and carried full-term.
In 2005, a study found that in patients who received intracytoplasmic sperm injection or IVF, the pregnancy rate was increased after acupuncture. Those who had no acupuncture had a pregnancy rate of 15.6%. There was a pregnancy rate of 33.6% for those who did have acupuncture therapy. Its believed that these results occurred because acupuncture improves blood flow to the uterus.
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Acupuncture And Fertility Stress
Fertility and conception can be stressful, whether its alone or with a partner, or with or without using medical interventions. A few studies have looked at the impact on acupuncture and stress around the time of ART procedures, generally finding that it can lower stress levels .
Similarly, acupuncture may also lower levels of fertility-related stress in people diagnosed with infertility. Though there isnt clear evidence that these reductions in stress directly translate to improved reproductive outcomes, taking care of your mental health is always a good thing.
At Moler’s clinic, she sees this benefit firsthand: “In this process, perceptions of stress diminish, anxieties transform into confidence, sleep improves and fertility naturally is optimized,” she explains.
Acupuncture For Fertility: How Often
If you are trying to conceive naturally, acupuncturists recommend undergoing a weekly treatment of acupuncture for 12 weeks.
If you are a woman trying to conceive, the best times to have an acupuncture treatment include:
- The follicular phase – day 5, 6, 7 or 8 of your menstrual cycle, with day 1 being the first day of a heavy period
- The day of, before or after ovulation
- During implantation time – 6 to 10 days after ovulation
How many acupuncture sessions for fertility are recommended? Generally, women should receive acupuncture treatments once a week while trying to conceive.
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Acupuncture Reduces Anxiety And Stress
Research shows that a diagnosis of infertility causes the same level of emotional suffering as a cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, high stress levels in patients with fertility problems can further reduce the chances of conception. Stress can:
- affect reproductive hormones
- reduce sperm quality and quantity
- cause the menstrual cycles to become shorter, and this may shorten the luteal phase, therefore, not allowing enough time for the embryo to implant
- increase the risk of miscarriages
Several studies have shown that acupuncture reduces anxiety and stress symptoms in infertility patients. In particular, acupuncture reduces cortisol levels, one of the bodys major stress hormones.
A recent meta-analysis concluded that acupuncture significantly reduces anxiety in patients undergoing fertility treatments .
The worlds largest professional medical reproductive organisation, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine , recommends that infertility patients should try acupuncture to manage stress and other infertility related issues.