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Finding the right Acupuncturist for Your Fertility Care

The ancient healing art of acupuncture has been used for centuries to improve fertility. Research has recently demonstrated the effectiveness of using acupuncture in conjunction with modern medical fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). Acupuncture can increase the chance of a successful outcome, alleviate some of the side effects of the fertility medications, and help you to feel more comfortable, relaxed and calm throughout the process. However, if you decide to supplement your fertility treatment with alternative holistic medicine, how do you find the right acupuncturist?

What should the right Acupuncture Treatment Include?

Will any acupuncturist be able to help you when you’re trying to conceive? Can the same acupuncturist your friend raves about, who treats his back pain, also help you conceive? Probably not. Your best option is to see an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility. Fertility acupuncture is a complex and nuanced specialty within Chinese medicine.

Each fertility acupuncture treatment should be tailored to your individual needs. Your acupuncturist should factor in every aspect of your health, medical history, menstrual patterns, and current symptoms. Fertility acupuncture can be tremendously beneficial in helping you become pregnant when done correctly. However, acupuncture can actually cause harm if your unique situation is not understood. For example, your acupuncturist should know which medications you are on, where you are in your cycle, how you are feeling physically, and your emotional state on the day of treatment.

How do You find the right Acupuncturist for Your Fertility Care?

When it comes to a choosing a fertility acupuncture specialist, here are a few key points to look for:

Does Your Acupuncturist Speak with You before each Treatment?

Your fertility acupuncturist should check in on your progress, not only on your first visit, but each and every time you come in. Qualified professionals will ask where you are in your cycle, how you are feeling (both physically and emotionally) and if any significant changes have occurred since your last session. This allows your acupuncturist to understand the signs and symptoms that you are experiencing, which they should use in their specific treatment.

Does Your Acupuncturist take your “Pulses” before & after each Treatment?

There are 12 different “pulse points” that are felt along the radial artery at your wrists, with 6 pulse points on each side. Analyzed before the treatment, they help to inform your acupuncturist about how you are, what areas need support, and what kind of treatment will most benefit you. Taken after the acupuncture treatment (and sometimes during) they will convey whether the session is producing the intended effect.

Do You Feel better after the Acupuncture Treatment?

You should leave the acupuncturist’s office with a feeling of calm and well-being after your treatment. You may not notice any big changes after the first couple of fertility acupuncture treatments. However, by the third session, you should start to notice some improvement in your general well-being along with your mood, energy, sleep, digestion, and complexion.

If you are trying to conceive with the aid of acupuncture, you should also begin noticing an improvement in your cycles over time:

If you start fertility acupuncture while you are in the midst of in vitro fertilization treatment or another medicated cycle, it may be more difficult to observe the changes caused by acupuncture. This is due to your cycles and hormones being regulated by fertility medication. Furthermore, you will probably be feeling quite different than you usually do. Nevertheless, you will probably feel a sense of calm and well-being after your acupuncture treatments.

When should You begin Your Acupuncture Care for Fertility?

Once you have found the right acupuncturist, begin weekly treatment as soon as possible. While some acupuncturists believe that it is ideal to start acupuncture three months before trying to conceive (to help prepare your body for conception and pregnancy), acupuncture may provide benefits for any stage and type of medical fertility treatment. If you are undergoing in vitro fertilization, receiving acupuncture onsite at your fertility clinic may help to optimize your chances of success.

Some practitioners believe that once you are pregnant, weekly acupuncture care during the first trimester may also help decrease the likelihood of miscarriage. It may also reduce common first trimester symptoms such as fatigue, morning sickness, and anxiety. This can allow you to fully enjoy this magical time in your life.

If you would like more information regarding fertility treatment or need help trying to conceive with the help of acupuncture, please reach out to the experienced staff at Lane Fertility Institute today.

This is a revised version of the article “Advice from an Acupuncturist” by Valerie Mendels, L.Ac from the Spring/Summer issue of Lane Fertility Magazine.

Dr. Danielle Lane Danielle E Lane, MD, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist

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