Infertility and Pregnancy

INFERTILITY

This is our area of specialty. It is wonderful to see people’s lives change as they accomplish their goals of expanding their family.  What an amazing gift!  Many couples come to us after getting fertility diagnostic testing done, yet most do not have a clear reason for their inability to get or stay pregnant.  Some patients come to us before getting any testing.

We treat both men and women for infertility.

 

How can Chinese medicine and acupuncture enhance fertility?

Doctors of Chinese medicine are highly trained to identify and treat imbalances that may lead to infertility.  We are also trained to know when and what tests should be performed to get a better understanding of how the body needs to be treated.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can:

  • regulate the menstrual cycle and promote healthy ovulation
  • increase blood circulation to the uterus to provide a better lining
  • increase success of rates of IVF (in vitro fertilization) and IUI (intra-follicle insemination)
  • reduce stress response and regulate hormones
  • make sperm healthier and increase motility
  • increase pregnancy rates and reduce miscarriages

The journey to fertility can be a stressful time for a woman.  Chinese medicine is used to treat the imbalances leading to infertility, but treatments at our clinic also result in additional benefits, such as feeling:

  • less isolation
  • supported and empowered
  • less stress, more peace, and optimism
  • less fear and anxiety
  • more knowledgeable, with fewer unknowns

 

The treatments for infertility are specific to your individual body and needs.  Specific lifestyle, nutritional, and supplement guidance will be given to you during your first appointment.

 

When should I start treatment to enhance my IVF/IUI outcome?

We schedule treatment times and dates around your concurrent artificial reproductive treatment (ART).  It is advised to begin treatments a couple months before you plan to undergo IVF (in vitro fertilization) and IUI (intra-follicle insemination).  During embryo transfer, we give treatments the morning of transfer and directly after transfer to help implantation and stabilize the egg.

General Fertility Tips:  Click here to read the top 5 fertility tips!

 

PREGNANCY

Acupuncture offers a safe, effective and drug-free treatment option during pregnancy.  Doctors of Chinese medicine are highly trained and able to specialize in infertility and pregnancy, following specific protocols that have been tested and used for many years.

Our treatment tables are memory foam and are fully adjustable to keep you comfortable in your own personalized setting during the different stages of pregnancy.

 

What can acupuncture help with during pregnancy?

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hypertension
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Breech and posterior presentation
  • Musculoskeletal pain (low back, hip, sacroiliac, pubic symphysis, etc.)
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Hemorrhoids and vulvar varices
  • Insomnia
  • Edema
  • Headaches
  • Sinus problems
  • Tiredness and exhaustion
  • Threatened miscarriage

 

When should I begin acupuncture treatment?

Weeks 1-12:

Acupuncture is performed weekly for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to help reduce miscarriage risk and reduce any discomfort you may be experiencing.  After 12 weeks gestation, acupuncture can be continued or used at any point during the pregnancy to help reduce these symptoms, or simply to reduce stress levels throughout the pregnancy.

 

Weeks 33-40:

Weekly pre-labor treatments begin with the goal of preparing your body for birth.  The focus is on strengthening you, softening the cervix, facilitating sleep, and reducing stress and anxiety leading up to the birth. Women who receive these pre-labor treatments tend to require less intervention during labor, as well as a reduction in late-term pregnancies.

 

Treating couples for infertility and during pregnancy is one of the most rewarding parts of our practice. There’s nothing like holding a healthy baby whose parents we’ve treated! Book a consultation if you want to know more.

 

References for Infertility:

  • Effectiveness and treatment for unexplained infertility.The Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, authors. Fertil Steril. 2006;86(5 suppl):S111–S114. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Spring; 1(2): 69–76.
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Unexplained Infertility Alexander Quaas, MD, PhD*and Anuja Dokras, MD, PhD.
  • Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: systematic review and meta-analysis. Manheimer E et al. BMJ 2008;336 pg 545-549 British Medical Journal.
  • Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Paulus W et al, Fertil Steril 2002 Vol 77, pg 721-724 Fertility and Sterility.
  • Acupuncture & IVF poor responders: a cure? Magarelli P,Cridennda D, Fertil Steril,2004;81 Suppl 3 S20 Fertility and Sterility.
  • A randomized, controlled, double-blind, cross-over study evaluating acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF. Quintero R et al, Fertil Steril 2004 Vol 81 Suppl 3, pg S11-12 Fertility and Sterility.
  • Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study. Dieterle S et al, Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pg 1347-1351 Fertility and Sterility.
  • Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial. Westergaard L et al, Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pg 1341-1346 Fertility and Sterility.
  • Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer. Smith C et al, Fertil Steril 2006 Vol 85, pg 1352-1358 Fertility and Sterility.
  • Acupuncture and IVF: new evidence for an unlikely duo. Horn, B. Alternative Therapies in Women’s Health. 2007 Vol. 9(2)81-88.
  • Effect of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in embryo transfer and mechanisms: a randomized and controlled study. Zhang M et al, Chin Acup and Moxabustion 2003, Jan 23 (1): 3 – 5.
  • The effect of acupuncture on outcomes in in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Udoff L. C. et al, Fertil Steril 2007 Vol 86, Issue 3, pg S145 Fertility and Sterility.
  • Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization–embryo transfer treatment. Magarelli, PC, D Cridennda, M Cohen. Fertil Steril. 2009 Dec;92(6):1870-9.
  • A pilot study evaluating the combination of acupuncture with sildenafil on endometrial thickness. Yu W et.al. Presented at the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society Annual Conference 2007.
  • Acupuncture in IVF linked to lower miscarriage and ectopic rates. OB/Gyn News, Copyright 2005 by International Medical News Group, an Elsevier company.
  • Acupuncture: impact on pregnancy outcomes in IVF patients. Paul C. Magarelli, M.D., Ph.D. Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center, Colorado Springs, Diane Cridennda, L.Ac. East Winds Acupuncture, Mel Cohen, MBA Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center, Colorado Springs, 12th World Congress on Human Reproduction, Venice Italy March 2005.
  • The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: a pilot study. Balk J et al, Compl Therapies in Clinical Practice 2010,16,154–157 Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
  • Understanding women’s views towards the use of acupuncture while undergoing IVF treatment. Smith C and De Lacey S, 2008 In press FSA conference 2008.
  • Stressful life events are associated with a poor in-vitro Fertilization (IVF) outcome: a prospective study. Ebbesen S.M.S. Hum Reprod 2009;24(9):2173-2182. Human Reproduction
  • Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation. Buck Louis GM et al, Fertil Steril. 2010 Jul 30. [Epub ahead of print] Fertility and Sterility.
  • Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Stener-Victorin E, et al Hum Reprod 1996; 11:1314-1317. Human Reproduction.
  • Role of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility. Raymond Chang, M.D., The Institute of East-West Medicine, The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Pak H. Chung, M.D., Zev Rosenwaks, M.D., The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility. Received June 24, 2002; revised July 19, 2002.
  • Effects of electro-acupuncture on anovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Stener-Victorin E et al; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Göteborg University, Sweden.
  • Acupuncture and exercise restore adipose tissue expression of sympathetic markers and improve ovarian morphology in rats with dihydrotestosterone-induced PCOS. Mannerås, et al. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009 Apr;296(4):R1124-31.
  • Acupuncture normalizes dysfunction of hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Bo-Ying Chen M.D., Professor of Neurobiology, Institute of Acupuncture and Department of Neurobiology, Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai 200032, P.R. China, accepted with revisions June 30, 1997.
  • Effects of specific Chinese herbal preparations on endocrinological status and ovulatory induction in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Ushiroyama T et al. – Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Osaka M
  • Clinical studies on the mechanism for acupuncture stimulation of ovulation. Mo X; Li D; Pu Y; Xi G; Le X; Fu Z Zhejiang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hangzhou
  • Relationship between blood radioimmunoreactive beta-endorphin and hand skin temperature during the electro-acupuncture induction of ovulation. Chen Bo Ying M.D. Lecturer of Neurobiology, Institute of Acupuncture Research, and Yu Jin, MD., Prof of Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.

 

References for pregnancy:

  • Acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a randomized trial.Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. (2002). Birth. 29(1):1-9.
  • Pregnancy outcome following women’s participation in a randomized controlled trial of acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. (2002). Complement Ther Med. 10(2):78-83.
  • Effects of acupuncture and stabilizing exercises as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomized single blind controlled trial.Elden H, (2005) Ladfors I, Fagevik Olsen M, Ostaard H, Hagberg H.
  • Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation.Cardini F, Weixin H. (1998).  Journal American Medical Association. 280:1580-1584.
  • On the use of acupuncture in the preparation for delivery.  Kubista E, Kucera H. (1974).  Geburtshilfe Perinatol; 178(3):224-9.
  • Acupuncture for Prebirth Treatment: An Observational Study of its use in Midwifery practice.Betts D Lenox S (2006).   Medical Acupuncture. Vol 17, No 3.
  • Acupuncture administered after spontaneous rupture of membranes at term significantly reduces the length of birth and use of oxytocin: A randomized controlled trial. Gaudernack L, Forbord S, Hole E. (2007).  Midirs Midwifery Digest. Vol 17, No 2.
  • The effects of Acupuncture during Labour on Nulliparious Women: A Randomized Controlled trial.Hantoushzadeh S. Alhusseini N. Lebaschi A (2007).  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 47:26-30.
  • Effects of LI-4 and BL-67 Acupressure on Labour Pain and Uterine Contractions in the First Stage of Labour.Chung UL J. (2003).  Nurs Res. 11(4):251-60.
  • Effects of acupuncture and stabilising exercises as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomised singleblind controlled trail.Elden H, Ladfors l, Fagevik Olsen M, Ostaard H, Hagberg H.  BMJ 2005;330:761
  • Effects of acupuncture and stabilising exercisers as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomised singleblind controlled trail. Deadman P, Al-Khafaji M, Baker K. A Manual of Acupuncture. Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications, Eastland Press; 2001 p 103& 318
  • Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth.West Z. Churchill Livingstone; p2001
  • Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a randomised controlled trail.Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P.  Wien Klin Wochenschr 2001; 113 (23-24): 942-6
  • Influence of acupuncture on duration of labour.Tempfer C, Zeisler H, Mayerhofe Kr, Barrada M Husslein P.  Gynecol Obstet Invest 1998; 46:22-5

Are you trying to live a healthier life?

Enter your email here to get Dr. Erin's health and wellness advice!

You have Successfully Subscribed!