3 Roles Acupuncture Could Play In Your Pregnancy

The female endocrine system is vast and delicate. Our hormones can respond to the most- subtle changes in our modern lives. We women often feel like our hormones regulate us – and not the other way around. But, the truth is, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine offer tools that help us understand our hormones and take an active role in regulating our hormones. The science of acupuncture helps elucidate our bodies’ delicate hormone balance and provide a blueprint for lasting symptom relief and optimal fertility.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of ultra-thin, sterile needles into specific points on the body which reside on channels or meridians. Acupuncture improves blood flow and circulation to the reproductive organs and glands. Blood carries oxygen, hormones and nutrients to the developing follicles in the ovaries, uterus and testes; and to the hypothalamus and pituitary glands – thus regulating the hormones these organs secrete, and promoting healthier cycles, egg quality, endometrial and sperm health.

Acupuncture and The Menstrual Cycle

According to Chinese Medicine, the only symptom of a woman’s period should be regular bleeding about every month and not the pain, bloating, acne, and other symptoms that most women experience. Menstrual discomforts arise from hormone imbalance. This imbalance can be caused by a host of reasons, but environmental, lifestyle and stress are usually at the top of the list. What Chinese Medicine strives to do is find the first domino in the symptom chain – and offer individualized therapeutic treatment with acupuncture, herbs, nutrition and lifestyle suggestions to bring the body back into balance and reduce our hormonal “side effects”. It can be extremely helpful in regulating a variety of hormone imbalances – such as: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome; Amennorrhea; Annovulatory Cycles; Endometriosis and Pre-Menstrual Symptoms (PMS).

Acupuncture & Fertility

Chinese Medicine is a proven therapy for treating cases of functional infertility, such as irregular ovulation or idiopathic sperm factors. The most effective way for Chinese Medicine to be used as a ‘primary’ treatment in functional fertility is in adjunct to Basal Body Temperature (BBT) charting. Usually within three menstrual cycles of weekly acupuncture, visible changes in follicular, ovulation and luteal phases can be seen. Within six cycles, pregnancy can be achieved. For male factor, elevated results in sperm count, motility and morphology tests should be expected after three consecutive months of regular treatment. The optimal time to begin using a modality like Chinese Medicine for optimizing fertility is 3-6 months before you’d like to become pregnant. This can resolve cycle imbalances without the stress of timed intercourse and “trying to conceive,” and also lay the groundwork for a healthy pregnancy If you have already been trying to get pregnant for some time, Chinese Medicine can still support you. Treatments can begin immediately wherever you are at in your cycle. Appropriate herbal formulas that are safe for conception can also be provided, along with stress relief and symptom management. Wherever you are at, holistic modalities like herbal medicine, acupuncture, Mayan abdominal massage or reiki can be incredibly supportive throughout the whole process – and improve pregnancy outcomes.

Acupuncture and IVF & ART

Acupuncture can also be used as an adjunct to IVF & ART as it can improve pregnancy outcomes, alleviate stress and reduce side-effects associated with hormone therapy. It is cost- effective, minimally invasive, has no side-effects and will not negatively interact with other forms of treatment. Optimum recommendations for acupuncture during IVF & ART are one- three months before cycling to improve egg quality; pre- and post-embryo transfer to improve pregnancy outcomes; and post-transfer through week 13 of pregnancy to prevent miscarriage. Of course, as with all treatments, consult with your health care provider first.

Erin Borbet

Erin Borbet is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Board Certified Herbalist, Labor Doula and Founded Grow Wellness Acupuncture in 2008, a Holistic Health Clinic specializing in the treatment of Women’s Health Concerns. She secured her Masters in Oriental Medicine from Pacific College and has trained all over the world, including a year clinical rotation at a TCM hospital in Hangzhou, China. Erin and her team offer gentle and effective treatments through the use of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Nutrition consultations at their Midtown Office and through Skype Consultations. Grow Wellness Acupuncture: grow-wellness.com Email: info@growacu.com