Pre-Conception and Fertility
About 15 % of all couples have difficulty conceiving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Traditionally the woman has been treated for such issues, but research is now finding that 40% are due to female factors, 40% are due to male factors and 20% are the result of combined factors. At Perfect Harmony Acupuncture, we support couples who are struggling with fertility issues.
For women, the best time to start Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment is three months before trying to conceive naturally or starting a cycle involving any Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) such as IUI’s (intrauterine insemination) or IVF’s (invitro fertilization). It takes nearly 150 days for a follicle to mature, and we have found that TCM is most effective when initiated during the 120 days prior to maturation.
For men, TCM treatment is most helpful if initiated 75-90 days before trying to conceive. The sperm generation cycle on average takes 75 days.
At Perfect Harmony Acupuncture we believe that pre-conception health is what determines the health of a woman’s eggs, a man’s sperm and thus the health of the embryo. Planning to start a family should include a close look at diet and lifestyle patterns so that you are at your healthiest when you conceive. We do recognize that this time frame may not always be possible. Thus, we will do whatever possible to support you wherever you are on your journey to conception.
TCM can help to:
● Reduce stress and aid relaxation
● Balance hormones
● Regulate menstrual cycles
● Improve ovarian function
● Improve blood flow to the ovaries, uterus or testes
● Improve sperm count, motility and morphology
● Decrease pharmaceutical side effects
● Decrease uterine contractibility
● Decrease chances of miscarriage
TCM has been found helpful in treating:
● Ovulatory dysfunction
● Elevated FSH and other hormonal imbalances
● Uterine fibroids
● Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
● Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
● Poor ovarian responder
● Immunological factors
● Luteal Phase Defect (LPD)
● Recurrent miscarriage
● Unexplained fertility
● Low sperm count, motility or poor morphology
At Perfect Harmony we support couples who are struggling to get pregnant.
There has been significant research done on the benefits of acupuncture in supporting women through assisted reproductive technologies (ART). According to the Paulus study, a 25 minute treatment before and after an embryo transfer increases the chance of a successful pregnancy. Recently, some of this research was conducted right here in Kirkland at The Northwest Center for Reproductive Sciences (NCRS; now Seattle Reproductive Medicine). Lee Hullender-Rubin along with Dr. Mike Opsahl reviewed the pregnancy rates of patients who underwent embryo transfers at NCRS from 2005-2008. They found that patients who received acupuncture had higher ongoing pregnancy rates than those who did not. In fact, acupuncture significantly increased the odds of pregnancy, up to 2.23 times in fresh-non-donor IVF patients!
I had the opportunity to spend three years working at The Northwest Center for Reproductive Sciences (now SRM) in Kirkland providing acupuncture for their patients who are undergoing retrievals, IUI’s and IVF’s. Here is what I have learned about how acupuncture can be beneficial before, during and after an IVF or IUI cycle.
It is recommended that you start treatment 3 months prior to your IVF/IUI cycle, as this is the time it takes for an egg to mature. We see the best results if you have 8-12 treatments during this time. Acupuncture can help improve egg maturation, as well as the quality of your ovarian reserve. We will also discuss nutrition and lifestyle advice since pre-conception health is important and preparing your body for a pregnancy is always in your best interest.
We recommend coming weekly during the supression stage of your IVF and biweekly during the stimulation phase of your cycle. If you are having an IUI, then coming weekly is enough. Acupuncture can help increase the responsiveness of your ovaries to the fertility medications. It can also help mitigate some of the side affects of the medications. It will increase blood flow to the uterus, which will improve the endometrial lining and quality of the follicles. For women with PCOS, it can also help adjust the fluid balance in your low abdomen which can help you avoid potential symptoms of hyperstimulation. On the day of your retrieval, acupuncture can help to decrease cramping, feelings of nausea or other side affects from the anesthia such as headaches. Lastly, it will help decrease the feelings of stress and anxiety that comes with an IVF/IUI cycle.
The Day of
We recommend that you have acupuncture before and after your IVF and before your IUI. On the day of the IVF/IUI acupuncture will put your mind at ease, relax your cervix and uterus by decreasing contractions from the procedure, as well as increase blood flow to the uterus so that it is a warm and nutritive place for implantation to occur.
We recommend that you have a treatment 5-7 days after your IVF or IUI. This treatment helps to assist and stabilize implantation. If you have miscarried in the past, we recommend that you continue acupuncture weekly until 4 weeks since the time of your last miscarriage. Acupuncture can help decrease the likelihood of miscarriage, help moderate morning sickness as well as some of the other side effects women experience as their bodies change.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been treating reproductive health for more than 3000 years. It was initially used to regulate menstrual cycles and prevent miscarriage. Today in many European countries, Australia and New Zealand, TCM is provided as a regular part of prenatal care as well as adjunct care during pregnancy and postpartum.
Pregnancy and postpartum are considered major transitions in a women’s life. TCM views these times as an opportunity to enhance a woman’s health. During pregnancy, a woman’s body is taxed as she supports herself and her growing fetus. Her body is changing daily and she may experience issues both physically and emotionally that she has never experienced before.
During pregnancy, TCM can help:
Our patients choose weekly visits to help them adjust to the physical, emotional, and hormonal changes their bodies are going through.
Patients are seen monthly; since this is typically a more stable time during the pregnancy.
We recommend patients visit weekly to prepare for labor. This preparation enhances cervical ripening and reduces time between the due date and delivery. It can also reduce the incidence of induction and c-section and can decrease the length of time in labor. If a breech presentation is discovered, then receiving treatment from week 34 on has proven to be 70% successful!
The four months postpartum is another time when it is critical to focus on a mother’s health. In the United States, where no particular post partum guidelines exist, women with children often experience thyroid problems or other endocrine imbalances, menstrual irregularities, trouble losing weight, sleep issues, depression, or chronic fatigue. In order to rebuild a woman’s health and prevent future health conditions, women have been turning to the natural support of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
We encourage our patients to return to acupuncture visits as soon as they feel comfortable leaving the house. They are welcomed and encouraged to bring their infants with them to the treatment session.
TCM can help postpartum women by:
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been treating and supporting women in health and reproductive wellness for over 3000 years. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help relieve issues we experience as women by treating the underlying root cause(s) of the symptoms. TCM is a dynamic, integrated way to activate the natural self healing abilities of the body.
TCM has been found helpful in treating:
● Irregular menses
● Heavy menses
● Ovarian cysts
● Peri/menopausal issues
● Headaches (tension, migraine, cycle related)
The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize using acupuncture to treat a variety of common health conditions. Acupuncture is receiving wide acceptance as a respected, valid and effective form of health care.
When most people think of acupuncture they think of its use for pain control. But acupuncture is able to treat a variety of other conditions such as:
Often, Western medicine offers one diagnosis and a one size fits all treatment. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at the whole person and is able to make diagnoses based on individuals. At Perfect Harmony Acupuncture, we view each individual as a dynamic, integrated whole, observing how signs and symptoms weave together in order to understand the underlying, energetic profile of a person's health. Our goals are to activate the body's natural self healing abilities and to strengthen and support the body to prevent future disease and illness. Acupuncture is safe, effective and drug free, the perfect way to get well and stay healthy.
Acupuncture is safe, effective, and drug free!