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Infertility & Pregnancy

Acupuncture is known to help:

  • Menstrual Irregularity
  • Infertility & Pregnancy - Hormonal Imbalance
  • Poor Egg Quality
  • Fallopian Tube Blockage
  • Uterine Health
  • Unexplained Infertility
  • Endometriosis
  • PCOS
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Poor Cervical Mucous
  • IVF Success

Infertility has been a growing problem for many years now may be caused by many different types of situations involving both men and women. Ten percent of fertile age couples today are facing difficulty conceiving and are not given any advice or options other than expensive and invasive fertility treatment. Stress, dietary and environmental toxins and genetic predisposition all play a role in the body's overall health and must be addressed. Acupuncture along with a variety of supplements have provided an alternative and holistic approach to successful conception.  

Certain acupuncture points stimulate and regulate systems in our body, such as the Endocrine and Reproductive systems. Acupuncturists select points based on individual needs for fertility. For females undergoing fertility acupuncture, blood flow is increased to the uterus, follicle development is stimulated, the endocrine system is balanced, and the thickness of the uterine lining can be increased and egg quality can be optimized. For males, fertility acupuncture increases sperm count, motility and morphology.

Acupuncture is a very gentle and relaxing therapy overall.  If you are a little nervous about the idea of acupuncture needles, just remember that you will barely feel them at all. They are a lot smaller than the typical needle used to draw blood or give inoculations, so most patients only feel a minor pinch (if anything) when the needle is inserted into the skin.

Stress & Infertility
Stress is a big factor in infertility – the good news is that acupuncture is fantastic at reducing the effects of stress on the body. For both genders, fertility acupuncture helps to reduce stress, which is really important since stress makes it harder for the body to perform in all functions, including reproduction. When our body is acutely or chronically stressed, which is very common today, less blood circulates to our reproductive organs because it is needed elsewhere in the body. Additionally, stress causes a release of Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) which can then inhibit progesterone output in women. This explains how stress may eventually lead to a luteal phase defect. The process of trying to conceive itself is stressful. Each month can be a roller coaster ride of emotions, from hopeful for conception to disappointment when period arrives.

Infertility & Pregnancy - Stress can affect the level of many hormones and can cause endocrine disorders. The stress response on the pituitary-adrenal axis affects the levels of gonadotropins, thyroid hormones (TSH, T3, T4), Growth Hormone, and Prolactin. Stress can cause a gonadal dysfunction leading to anovulation, irregular menstruation, and decreased sperm count in men. Acupuncture stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, reduces blood pressure and cortisol levels, and balances hormones naturally.

Acupuncture & IVF or IUI
Acupuncture is an effective compliment to assisted reproductive techniques. Acupuncture combined with IUI/IVF can increase conception up to 65%.

The fundamentals of preconception acupuncture focuses on enriching the body, reducing stress, balancing hormones, optimizing egg & sperm quality and addressing implantation issues to help couples achieve their full fertility potential and conceive a healthy baby. Ideally, acupuncture is done at weekly intervals for 3 cycles to help produce quality eggs and best prepare the body for conception. 

A session is recommended the day prior to retrieval and before or after the transfer, to help increase blood flow to the uterus, reduce stress, and aid implantation. Some IVF clinics recommend 48 hours of bed rest so your acupuncture treatments will vary according to your availability.  

How can Acupuncture help during pregnancy?
Now that you’ve conceived, congratulations! Pregnancy can bring on it’s own set of symptoms–number one, is nausea. Acupuncture is a safe and effective therapy for mothers-to-be, and is well known to alleviate nausea during the first trimester. As pregnancy advances, acupuncture can help resolve such conditions as:
-Nausea, Vomiting
-Hip Pain, Low Back Pain, Sciatica
-Acid Reflux/Indigestion

Acupuncture to Induce Labor
As your due date nears, some women use acupuncture to facilitate a faster, easier delivery. Through balancing the mother’s energy prior to the onset of labor, the body is in its best possible state to begin the process of labor and delivery. This preparation facilitates labor by allowing for a more rapid progression of the natural stages of labor and a less complicated delivery.  Specifically, acupuncture for labor preparation can help to:

-Soften and dilate the cervix
-Relax the pelvic ligaments
-Support the mother’s qi or energy
-Help the baby descend into the birth canal
-Encourage optimal positioning of the baby for delivery

Another benefit is that women who have acupuncture for labor preparation tend to go into labor naturally around their due dates. They are therefore less likely to need acupuncture for labor induction or any other medical intervention to induce labor.

Acupuncture and Moxibustion to turn a Breech Baby
Moxibustion therapy is famous for it’s ability to turn a breech baby to head down position, in order to allow for natural delivery. Moxibustion treatment is the burning of an herb called Ai Ye in chinese, or you may be familiar with it’s western name, Mugwort, to warm and stimulate acupuncture points. Moxa sticks are burned over acupuncture point UB67 (Zhi Yin), which is located near the outer corner of the nail on the little toe, bilaterally.

Moxa treatment is done daily until the baby turns. Since treatment is done daily, I will demonstrate the technique, teach the couple how it is done, and provide handouts for reference as well as the moxa sticks for use at home. Acupuncture is done 2-3 times a week in conjunction with moxibustion for 2-3 weeks, or until the baby turns. Moxa treatments to turn a breech baby are best started around week 34-36.

Acupuncture Postpartum
Childbirth is an amazing experience but can be very depleting for a new mother. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help the transition of those first few months after birth to ensure a quick recovery. Postpartum care focuses on the physical, emotional and psychological recovery of the mother from the effects of pregnancy and labor, as well as encouraging breast-feeding. 

Here are some of the postpartum disorders that can be treated with acupuncture:
-Postpartum Depression
-Insufficient or Excessive Lactation
-Post Operative Healing
-Hormonal Imbalance

When Should I Begin Acupuncture Treatment?
Ideally the best time to start fertility acupuncture treatments is three to four months before trying to conceive (naturally or with fertility treatment). Depending on your individual situation you should ideally be receiving treatments on a weekly to bi-weekly basis. These sessions may go on as long as 12 weeks into the pregnancy to help avoid miscarriage. Like any medicinal therapy, the more sessions you attend the more progress your body will make.

What are the best times to have acupuncture?
If you are a woman seeking help with fertility related issues, naturally or assisted, there are certain times during your cycle that we like to see you.

Generally speaking, the most important times to have acupuncture are:
-During the follicular phase - day 5, 6, 7 or 8 of your menstrual cycle (day 1 being the first day of heavy flow)
-The day before, day of or day after ovulation (as indicated by your LH surge)
-During implantation time (6 - 10 days after ovulation).
This works out to be approximately once a week except when you are menstruating.

If there is something more significant going on, like lining issues for example, your acupuncturist may want to see you twice a week until it is properly addressed. However, the majority of the women we treat fall into the once a week category.

If you are going through an IVF cycle, it is best if you can start acupuncture 6 to 8 weeks prior to transfer. The most important times to have acupuncture are the same as above, however, once you begin your stimulation medications you may be seen twice a week depending upon information gathered from your ultrasounds.

In an ideal world, we would like to begin seeing you 3 - 4 months prior to conception/transfer so that we can help with egg quality, work on any cycle or lining irregularities, address any nutritional concerns, and help reduce stress. If you are going through IVF, FET or DET we are also working to prepare you for your transfer.

If you are considering acupuncture, we encourage you to get in for your initial visit as soon as you can. That way you and your acupuncturist can develop a treatment plan that best suits you, even if you don't start the treatment plan until later. Getting that first appointment under your belt also allows you the opportunity to determine if acupuncture is right for you and if it is something you want to continue to pursue.

If supplementation or herbs are warranted, they take time to work, so beginning earlier is best. Even if you decide to wait to start acupuncture, don't wait to start supplementation. It takes 4 - 5 months for an egg to mature. If you can get started on a good quality preconception formula 3 - 6 months prior to conception/transfer, your eggs are going to have the opportunity to grow and mature in a nutrient rich environment. Our experience is that women who supplement their diets with appropriate amounts of vitamins and antioxidants typically have embryos with less fragmentation.

Why acupuncture? Blood flow, blood flow, blood flow! This is how we nourish every single cell in our bodies - blood flow. We want to get you into a deep state of relaxation, taking you out of your fight and flight mode, and encourage blood flow to the internal organs.Why acupuncture? Acupuncture helps regulate and balance the hormones by affecting the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and is a very important tool in the fertility process.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Infertility & Pregnancy -

(843) 766-6226
105 Wappoo Creek Dr.
Suite 3-A
Charleston, SC 29412

mon 10:30-6:30
tues 10:30-6:30
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