Acupuncture may be used to help support and boost male and female reproductive health. Acupuncture can work physically helping conditions such as endemetriosis, dysmenorrhea, pelvic inflammation, uterine fibroids, and PCOS. its also helps to relieve stresses involved in trying to conceive. Though there is a growing body of scientific research into its uses, there is, however, little data that conforms to the usual Western medical standards of large scale, double-blind, randomised controlled trials on the human population. Some studies have shown that Acupuncture has been shown to increase the blood supply to the uterus, induce ovulation, improve egg quality, regulate hormone imbalances and improve sperm quality. Stress and other factors can disrupt the function of the hypothalamic pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA), causing hormonal imbalances that can negatively impact fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to affect hormone levels by promoting the release of beta-endorphin in the brain, which affects the release of gonadotrophin releasing hormone by the hypothalamus, follicle stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland, and oestrogen and progesterone levels from the ovary (Ng 2008, Huang 2008, Lim 2010, Stener-Victorin 2010).
Acupuncture can be use throughout your IVF cycle, there is no right or wrong time to start acupuncture but i recommend 1-2 months prior to your starting. Over recent years acupuncture has begun to feature more prominently in mainstream healthcare in the UK, usually as an adjunct to Western medicine. Acupuncture has been shown to increase the chances of IVF success by up to 60% (Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. Eric Manheimer et al. BMJ, 7 Feb. 2008). Acupuncture aims to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes constriction of ovarian arteries. Acupuncture may inhibit this sympathetic activity, improving blood flow to the ovaries (Stener-Victorin 2006, Lim 2010), enhancing the environment in which ovarian follicles develop. It also increases blood flow to the uterus (Stener-Victorin 1996, Huang 2008), improving the thickness of the endometrial lining and increasing the chances of embryo implantation.
Please get in touch with any specific questions about the timing of acupuncture treatments during your IVF cycle.
Acupuncture is perfectly safe to have thoughtout your pregnancy and may be used to treat normal pregnancy conditions such as Morning sickness, heart burn, blood pressure, sleep disturbance and back pain. Towards the end of your pregnancy weeks 37, 38 and 39 acupuncture may be used to ripen the cervix ready for labour. Acupuncture and moxabustion may be used from week 34 to help turn breech babies. From 41 weeks acupuncture may be used to try and help bring on natural labour.