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All about Acupuncture When Trying to Conceive

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

by Julie Chang, Guest Writer*

With an increasing number of women delaying children until later in life, a woman may wait to get pregnant until her late 30s or 40s.

Often her first course of action if pregnancy hasn’t been achieved within a few months is a trip to her gynecologist who, in turn, will refer her to a fertility doctor, a reproductive endocrinologist (RE).

Rarely is acupuncture considered an early treatment option for women having difficulty getting pregnant. However, acupuncture has been proven in studies and clinically to help women into their 40s get pregnant and thus should be considered earlier.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been used for over 3,000 years in Asia to treat many ailments. It is one of several healing modalities that Traditional Chinese Medicine offers, including herbal medicine, nutrition therapy, medical massage (Tui Na), Qi Gong (breath work to strengthen the body), and Tai Chi (a martial arts form). Based in Taoist philosophy, acupuncture and TCM developed from several thousand years of observation, clinical experience, and scholarly research.

Acupuncture specifically for fertility started growing in popularity in the United States in 2002 after a landmark study was published. This study found that women receiving acupuncture treatment with IVF had an increase in ongoing pregnancy rates of over 60 percent compared to control subjects.

Many studies since then have confirmed acupuncture’s effectiveness in helping women get pregnant. Given its safety record and comparatively lower cost than medicated cycle, it can be an effective stand-alone or complementary treatment.

Despite the use of needles, acupuncture is an extremely safe modality in the hands of a trained acupuncturist. Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin needles into the body. The difference between acupuncture and acupressure is that acupuncture uses needles to stimulate different areas on the body whereas acupressure uses finger pressure instead of needles.

Acupuncture can address multiple areas of the body at one time with as many needles as needed whereas an acupressurist is limited to his fingers.

The efficiency of acupuncture is useful because women usually have secondary issues to address besides improving fertility. Common complaints include insomnia, headaches, fatigue, stress, and pain.

How does acupuncture work?

According to Chinese medical theory, a disease arises in the body from blockages of qi or blood. Qi is your life force and that's the part of you that defines who you are when you're alive. Qi leaves your physical body when you die. Interestingly, modern medicine doesn't recognize life force until you actually die.

There are two important ways that acupuncture works as it pertains to fertility. At its most simplest, it improves blood flow to the reproductive organs. When you get a paper cut, your body will automatically know to send help to the injured area by incre