Frequently Asked Questions
What can fertility acupuncture do to improve my chances of getting pregnant?
I cannot promise that you will fall pregnant, but I can help your body to fall into a better, healthier cycle which should make pregnancy more possible. Acupuncture is deeply rooted in the rhythms and cycles of life which makes it a really effective therapy for menstrual issues. A course of acupuncture treatment for fertility issues can make significant improvements to the cycle, encouraging ovulation, promoting a thicker, healthier endometrium and improving the energy and circulation of the whole lower abdomen which can make it easier for your body to fall pregnant and to maintain that pregnancy.
Can acupuncture improve my menstrual cycle?
If you have any of the following symptoms it suggests that your menstrual cycle is out of kilter and you would benefit from a course of fertility acupuncture:
heavy periods or if the bleed lasts a long time
passing clots during bleed
very painful periods
very light, scanty bleed, watery bleed or particularly short bleed (1-2 days)
a short cycle - less than 24 days
absence of stringy cervical mucus during ovulation phase
if you think you are not, or have been told you are not ovulating
if your lower abdomen feels cold when you rest a hand on it
How frequently should I have acupuncture for fertility?
For Best Results - Weekly Appointments
How will I know if my fertility acupuncture treatment is working?
Almost without exception there will be improvements in the cycle, some people may notice a significant change to the premenstrual phase and the bleed phase of the cycle, there may be noticeable improvements to sleep and digestion and your stress level should settle down.
I think I may need IVF, is it still worth coming for fertility acupucture?
Yes, most definitely! IVF is the process of fertilising the egg under laboratory conditions, but your chances of a successful pregnancy will be strongly influenced by your underlying health and wellness. A course of acupuncture prior to IVF has been shown in various studies to improve your chances of maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
I have been prescribed medication to help me ovulate, but am still not gettng pregnant. Can fertility acupuncture help?
There is a prescription drug commonly used to encourage ovulation, but although it statistically raises your chances of ovulating, these statistics are not as good for the chances of falling pregnant while taking it. This is because for a significant number of women, it interferes with the production of cervical mucus so essentially makes your body less prone to impregnation. The cervical mucus acts as an inverted fireman's pole, providing sperm with a quick, safe route through the cervix - if there is less cervical mucus, the sperm have to work a lot harder to reach the egg.
I have never had acupuncture before - does it hurt?
Many clients who come for fertility acupuncture have not had acupuncture before, so you are not alone! I use very fine, pre-sterilised, single use needles and I work as gently as possible. If you are particularly needle sensitive, I can scale the needle size down even further and use as few needles as I can without compromising treatment.
Where do you put the needles and why?
There is a particular energetic quality to each phase of the cycle and the point locations are chosen to reflect this. Although the points chosen for any particular treatment will be influenced my many different things, the essential underlying sense is to generate a treatment that resonates with the current energetic phase of the cycle. It is like holding a tuning fork to the system, gently suggesting correct vibration to the cacophony of hormones and energies. If all goes well, the body listens, and gently falls into step.
The first stage of the cycle is the bleed phase, during this phase I may use points to help the body to control excessive bleeding or to smooth the flow, ease pain and cramping and calm the mind. Spleen 8 is a good point for moderating Blood flow.
The second stage of the cycle is the follicular ripening phase, the growth of Yin energy which ripened the follicle. I would concentrate on points that nourish blood and Yin. Kidney 3 is a good point to use during this phase, which nourishes Kidney Yin energy that is so important to mature healthy eggs..
The third stage of the cycle is around ovulation, the point at which Yin transforms into Yang. It is important at this phase to use points to support energy in the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and to encourage Qi to move in the abdomen, encouraging the fallopian tubes to collect the egg and move it down to the uterus. Zi Gong is a fantastic point to use at this stage as it helps to regulate energy in the ovaries and fallopian tubes
The fourth stage is the luteal phase, the Yang half of the cycle. Points used in this phase are more dynamic, encouraging the Yang energy to build to maintain a strong luteal phase. If the abdomen feels cool during this phase I might use an infrared heat lamp over the abdomen to encourage warmth and circulation. One of my favourite points in this phase is Ren 6 which encourages the birth of Yang and has a strong connection to the Heart and the uterus.
Can acupuncture help in the case of a threatened miscarriage?
Evidence shows that acupuncture can be a useful therapy to use when there is a threatened miscarriage. Some miscarriages are inevitable as the genetic makeup of the embryo means that it cannot grow or develop, but other reasons for miscarriage include hormonal issues, blood supply to the uterus and extreme stress. Acupuncture can help with these aspects and studies have shown it is better than simply waiting to see what happens.
Is acupuncture safe to use through pregnancy?
Yes! I am trained in antenatal acupuncture and prebirth acupuncture and frequently continue to see clients the whole way through their pregnancy. It is a gentle, supportive therapy for pregnancy and can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions that would otherwise require medical intervention or drugs.
What if nothing works, what if I don't get pregnant?
Making baby humans can be very difficult, and sometimes it just doesn't happen. Before being drawn down the road of fertility acupuncture, my main area of interest was acupuncture for mental health and I have a lot of experience of supporting people through grief and depression. The journey through fertility issues may be difficult, but it can be more bearable if you have someone to offer the right kind of support and emotional nourishment at a time when words are simply not enough.
Do you need to see my blood test results?
If you have had any fertility related blood tests it is really useful to have the results of the tests as they can help determine where in the cycle you need the most support. Most GPs are happy to arrange some of the blood tests for fertility investigations, but some are more reluctant to order tests which can be frustrating.
Can fertility acupuncture do anything for a low sperm count or motility/morphology issues?
If you have had a poor sperm test result, do not dispair! Lots of things can impact your test result - if you have had a particularly stressful time over the past 9 weeks, if you have had a cough/cold/virus or been unwell in any way, even if you have recently had a bit of a big night out! It is always risky to determine a sperm issue on the basis of a single test, it is better practice to put into place some dietary and lifestyle changes and then have the sperm re-tested in a few months time.
Dietary Changes - clean up your diet, less processed foods, less sugar, less caffeine and less alcohol.
Avoid foods containing hydrogenated oils and trans-fatty acids as these can decrease motility.
Choose to eat natural, seasonal food when possible including plenty of fruit and vegetables (particularly dark coloured fruits and vegetables). Eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables will increase the levels of antioxidants in your system, this can help to improve sperm quality. Good foods to incorporate into your diet are citrus fruits, kale, broccoli, spinach, sweet potato and avocado.
Include nuts and seeds in your regime as they contain lots of important micronutrients, brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts are excellent nuts to snack on (a single brazil nut a day contains your daily Selenium requirement!). Buy yourself a pot of mixed seeds to sprinkle on salads, scrambled eggs, porridge or yoghurt to give yourself a nutrition boost
If you want to take supplements, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin E and a Vitamin B complex may be worth taking, or get a bottle of Floradix or a good general pre-conception multivit/mineral.
Lifestyle Changes - wear looser fitting boxers instead of tight pants, avoid very hot baths, saunas, icy plunge pools. Keep your phone away from your front pockets, and avoid resting your tablet or laptop on your lap for long periods of time.
Acupuncture - a course of acupuncture has also been shown to improve sperm issues in many studies. In trials it has been shown to improve number, morphology and motility of sperm.
I've been diagnosed with 'unexplained infertility', can acupuncture help me?
Unexplained Infertility or SubFertility?
What if I have a question that isn't answered here?
If there is a question that I have not covered, please get in touch and I will do my best to answer it. Email me at email@example.com, contact me by clicking here or filling in the contact form at the bottom of the website.
What makes me a Fertility Acupuncture Specialist?
Specialist Fertility Acupuncturist or General Acupuncturist?
Advanced Level Diploma in Fertility Acupuncture (Naava Carmen)
Acupuncture tor Fertility & IVF ( Paul Johnson)
Understanding Endometriosis % PCOS (Jill Glover)
Acupuncture & Acupressure for Pregnancy & Childbirth ( Debra Betts)