Fertility & Pregnancy Acupuncture Treatments
Fertility & Pregnancy Acupuncture treatments can support hormone balance, natural conception, IVF, embryo transfer, pregnancy, birth preparation, labour and post-natal recovery. Please visit our pages on Fertility, Pregnancy, Labour and Post-natal acupuncture.
Fertility Acupuncture Treatments
Making the decision to start IVF can be a daunting one and fertility acupuncture can help support you both emotionally and physically. Fertility acupuncture treatments are specifically tailored to each stage of your IVF cycle.
Some research has shown that acupuncture can increase your chances of success:
Acupuncture given with Embryo Transfer improves pregnancy and live birth rates
Acupuncture improves pregnancy rate after ART
Our collective experience is that acupuncture enables the body to return to normal balance and functioning, thus helping it to cope with the challenges of IVF.
Acupuncture works to support you in a number of different ways during IVF:
- Minimise the side effects of the drugs
- Increase the pelvic blood flow
- Balance the immune and nervous system
- Improve implantation rates
- Calm the mind
Each practitioner will vary their approach to treatment during the IVF cycle. Typically you will be asked to attend for treatment at various stages leading up to embryo collection and then pre and post embryo and transfer.
There has been much discussion about the timing of acupuncture around embryo transfer, but in reality it is important to remain flexible about this. The most important thing is that you remain as calm and relaxed as possible.
Some of our members have completed postgraduate study in the use of acupuncture to support fertility and assisted conception.
Pregnancy Acupuncture Treatments
Pregnancy Acupuncture treatments are a safe and effective method to support pregnant women experiencing a range of symptoms, including:
- nausea and/or vomiting
- indigestion and digestive disorders
- haemorrhoids, constipation
- tiredness, lethargy and fatigue
- aches and pains
- high or low blood pressure
- dizziness and fainting
- oedema – swollen ankles or hands
- headache and migraine
- back ache and sciatica
- pelvic girdle pain
- mood swings and depression
- poor appetite, food aversions and cravings, bitter taste
- rashes and itching
- restless legs
- night sweats
- varicose veins
We recommend that you discuss with your practitioner the most appropriate time for you to come for treatment during pregnancy.
Labour Acupuncture Treatments
Labour with Acupuncture and Acupressure
Acupuncture for labour is not just about pain relief. An acupuncturist can help before, during and after labour. A birth partner can also help by learning useful acupressure points for labour (see below).
Labour is a process of many stages. The most wonderful aspect of acupuncture treatment is its great capacity to help regulate and balance the body’s functions. Labour is a normal bodily function, although it is an extra-ordinary experience. The labouring mother is in a very heightened state and so her body is constantly adapting to the processes that allow her baby to move fluently down the birth canal and into being.
As obstetric acupuncturists, ACT members are specifically trained to use acupuncture points to facilitate each stage of the labour, thus helping labour progress toward a smoother delivery.
Labour Acupuncture treatments are helpful for
- promoting stronger and more frequent contractions, especially when contractions slow down or stop due to emotional reasons
- optimising cervical position, assisting a posterior cervix to progress
- encouraging the cervix to dilate, thus reducing the likelihood of cervical lip
- descending the baby through the birth canal
- posterior position, when baby is back to back
- smoothing the transition between the 1st and 2nd stage of labour
- improving stamina and energy during a long labour
- reducing shock in a fast labour
- preventing excessive blood loss
- promoting delivery of a retained placenta
Read about Acupuncture Research in Labour
It is well understood that acupuncture helps to increase endorphin release, and labour acupuncture helps the mother remain calm and focused. This increases her body’s capability to produce endorphins, so enables a greater capacity to cope with the labour pain.
Acupuncture energises, so is an excellent labour support, helping to refresh and revitalise your energy.
Using acupuncture during labour can often create time and space for the labour to progress of its own natural accord, without unnecessary medication.
In circumstances where an intervention is appropriate many couples find they appreciate the extra support of acupuncture.
ACT practitioners have a strong ethos of integrated care, and so will always strive to complement the practice of your midwives and obstetricians. Decisions about how and when the acupuncture is used will always be based on the safest course of treatment for you and your baby.
All members of ACT London have undertaken extensive and ongoing training in treatment for antenatal, intra-partum and postpartum care. In addition they have specific understanding of the use of acupuncture for pregnancy and childbirth.
Acupressure treatments in labour
One way of supporting the mother in labour is teaching her and her birth partner the acupressure points to use during labour. It is then easy for the birth partner to find and stimulate the key points for labour.
This is helpful for the mother and also for the birth partner as it creates a feeling of usefulness, validation and involvement with the labour. Some couples have especially reported it a very bonding experience.
Acupressure can help stimulate endorphins, block pain receptors to the brain, dilate the cervix and increase the efficiency of contractions. It can also help with sickness and anxiety.
Acupressure is normally taught at around 36 weeks.
Post-Natal Acupuncture Treatments
It is beneficial to have acupuncture treatment in the immediate days after childbirth. The demands of labour are significant, and acupuncture can help restore the body’s reserves of energy.
We strongly advocate a minimum of 6 weeks to recover from childbirth. In Chinese Medicine rest is considered the most vital nourishment to replenish the mother’s energy, and also gives Mum and baby necessary time to bond.
Post-Natal Acupuncture treatment during these weeks can help with
- restoring balance
- encouraging the uterus to contract
- minimising afterpains
- easing perineal discomfort
- balancing the hormone surges as the milk comes in
- ‘baby blues’ or post-natal depression
- milk flow, and enabling continued breastfeeding through the 4th triemester
- breast feeding problems and mastitis
- post-partum bleeding
- regulating temperature swings, especially night sweats
- promoting healing of caesarean scar tissue, and any complications