Guest blog by Sarah Prater, L.Ac., Founder and Acupuncturist of Tennessee Center for Reproductive Acupuncture.
If you find yourself sitting in the waiting room of the fertility clinic, you’re probably wondering if you’re doing all you can to help your cycle be a success. You might have heard about some women adding acupuncture to their treatment cycles or even considered it yourself.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to increase your chances of conception and can be combined with IVF, IUI, and other fertility treatments. Many fertility clinics are even starting to offer acupuncture in-house! If you aren’t so lucky as to have such a clinic nearby, this article is for you!
At our clinic, Tennessee Center for Reproductive Acupuncture, we specialize in combining acupuncture and fertility treatments. We see many benefits to this approach such as:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Decreased medication side effects
- Improved egg quality and quantity
- Increased thickness and quality of the endometrial lining
- Improved pregnancy and live birth rates
- Prevention and reduction of uterine contractions
- Decreased chance of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy
- Encouragement of embryo implantation
- Hormone regulation
Adding acupuncture to your already complicated fertility treatment schedule can seem like a daunting task, but luckily there is help! Read below for a few tips we’ve learned on how to best incorporate the two treatments:
- Try to find a fertility specialist in your area. An acupuncturist who specializes in fertility will be familiar with the type of treatment you are undergoing and may have even worked with your doctor. They will usually have flexible scheduling to allow for last minute changes in your treatment and even have extended availability for pre and post embryo transfer appointments.
- Call before your treatment starts. While acupuncture can be started at any point during a treatment cycle, many acupuncturists have protocols they use for each type of cycle. So calling a month or so before your cycle begins can allow you to plan for your appointments. At the Tennessee Center for Reproductive Acupuncture, we often recommend treatments in the weeks before your cycle, but most of our protocols begin when the cycle starts.
- Keep communication open. Make sure your acupuncturist knows of any changes or problems that come up during your cycle. This can help us better time your appointments and allow us the opportunity to help treat side effects and issues, all to help your cycle become a success.
- Continue treatment during pregnancy. Assuming your treatment is a success, (fingers crossed!) acupuncture can be safely used to support a healthy pregnancy for you and your developing baby. We strongly recommend treatment during the first trimester, as this is the time when most miscarriages occur. It can also help alleviate morning sickness, fatigue, stress, and other symptoms. Many women will continue treatment throughout their pregnancies!
- Let your acupuncturist know your treatment results: We are very passionate about our trade and feel the highs and lows right along with you. So, please let us know how your cycle turns out! And we always welcome little ones for a visit!
Sarah Prater, L.Ac. is the founder and acupuncturist at the Tennessee Center for Reproductive Acupuncture in Knoxville, TN. Sarah combines her diverse background to offer a safe, effective, and integrative approach to families experiencing fertility challenges. More information can be found on their website.