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Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Fertility

I was recently asked to do a guest post on acupuncture for pregnancy/fertility for the website  Are you wondering how acupuncture helps improve fertility or why so many pregnant women use it as an alternative to prescription drugs?  Then this post is for you!

When many people hear the word “acupuncture,” they automatically think of treating pain. Most people know at least one person who has seen an acupuncturist for effective relief of back pain or arthritis. After all, that’s what we generally use it for, right? Not necessarily! At my practice, over 75% of the patients I see are seeking help for something other than pain control. Two of the most common issues that bring men and women in are infertility and pregnancy symptoms. Acupuncture is so effective at addressing these complaints that I’ve built an entire practice on helping couples achieve happy and healthy pregnancies. The list below details many of the most common pregnancy-related issues that acupuncture has been shown to help.

  • Improving fertility

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help bring balance to the body's endocrine system. In addition to helping balance hormones, it also helps decrease stress, regulate menstrual cycles, increase circulation to the reproductive tract, and improve sperm quality in males. Recent studies show that regular acupuncture can help improve IVF and IUI success rates by up to 60%. I have had success treating everything from endometriosis to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) to premature ovarian failure.

  • Decreasing miscarriage rates

Regular acupuncture has been shown to help decrease miscarriage rates throughout the first trimester. This is primarily achieved by regulating the same hormones that we use to improve fertility.

  • Decreasing or eliminating morning sickness

Morning sickness is thought to affect 75% of pregnant women during the first trimester. While we don’t know exactly what causes it, hormones and stress are thought to play a large part in both the nausea and vomiting. Acupuncture helps regulate hormones and decreases stress, thereby decreasing symptoms.

  • Relieving Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction (PSD) and Back Pain

As your growing baby and belly put more pressure on your joints, you may find that you develop pain in your pelvic region or low back. Acupuncture is a safe method for decreasing inflammation and relaxing cramped muscles.

  • Relieving Carpal Tunnel

Acupuncture helps decrease nerve pain anywhere in the body.

  • Alleviating Headaches

Whether due to hormonal changes, sinus congestion, increased blood volume, or lack of sleep, acupuncture can help get rid of lingering headaches and migraines.

  • Lowering Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar

For some women, pregnancy means higher blood pressure (a possible symptom of pre-eclampsia) and/or increased blood sugar (often due to gestational diabetes). While acupuncture cannot fully treat these conditions on its own, it can help to manage them.

  • Boosting Energy

While some women are fortunate enough to have plenty of energy during their second trimester, for some ladies pregnancy is nine long months of fatigue. Acupuncture not only helps improve sleep quality (an important feat as pregnancy progresses) but can also help increase energy in general.

  • Turning Breech Babies

Starting at 34 weeks, moxibustion (also known as mugwort) is used at a point near the end of the pinky toe to help move babies into the correct position for labor.

  • Inducing Labor

A safe, natural alternative to pitocin, acupuncture has been used around the world to help jump-start labor in women over 40 weeks pregnant.

  • Increasing Milk Production

Once your baby is here, you may find that your milk production is not quite what you and your doctor (and your little one!) would like. Acupuncture on certain hand points has been shown to increase milk production in new mothers.

If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the above complaints, contact a local Board-certified acupuncturist today to see if acupuncture may be the solution!

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