Acupuncture & Fertility
The process of trying to get pregnant is a lot of work, and can be frustrating and stressful for many couples. Fertility is very personal, yet the procedures involved can be complicated, confusing, and impersonal. It doesn't have to be that way! Whether you're trying naturally or with assisted reproductive Technology (ART), I work closely with you and your doctors to support you in every stage of the process.
For even the healthiest mothers, it often takes months to conceive. To best support natural conception or ART, you’ll want to start preparing your body 3-6 months before trying to get pregnant. Prenatal vitamins, nutrition therapy, and regular acupuncture and herbs are all important parts of the process. TCM can help resolve issues that lead to infertility or habitual miscarriage, and even ectopic pregnancy.
Studies show that acupuncture can:
Support your body in each phase of your menstrual cycle
Balance hormone levels and regulate your cycle
Improve lining of the endometrium
Increase blood flow to the uterus to support implantation
Improve ovarian function and ovulation in patients with PCOS and anovulatory cycles
Increase quality and quantity of follicles for retrieval
Improve results in each stage of the IVF cycle
Reduce stress and anxiety associated with infertility
- Reduce side effects of fertility drugs (i.e. bloating, water retention, moodiness, headaches)
Ovulation is regulated by a feedback loop of hormones between your reproductive system and your brain. After menses, a deficit of hormones signals your body to rebuild, stimulating follicle growth (with FSH) as you prep for ovulation. Estrogen rises, signaling your uterine lining to build, and triggers the release of an egg. Progesterone peaks, but falls if the egg is unfertilized; the lining sheds as menstrual blood so the cycle can begin anew. If any of these hormones are too high or too low, conditions won’t be ripe for conception.
Maybe you’ve noticed how your cycle changes during high stress times. Cortisol, sometimes known as “the stress hormone,” runs high in your body during these times, and can negatively influence the hormones that control healthy follicle growth and ovulation. Sperm production, quality, and motility are also negatively affected by stress. In TCM, we reduce stress by “Regulating Qi,” which supports fertility in both partners and has a host of additional benefits.
Some tips to get started
- Track your cycle and get to know your body's fertile signs
- Eat a diet high in folate
- Take prenatal vitamins
- Avoid tight fitting pants
- Don't put your cellphones in your pants pockets
Men and Women:
- Don't smoke (anything!) and avoid alcohol
- Get 7-8 hours of good-quality sleep every night
- Exercise regularly (women: train with your cycle!)
- Eat wholesome foods free of pesticides
- Stay hydrated, but avoid or limit caffeinated drinks to 1 serving per day
- Avoid saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms
- Avoid toxic fumes, harmful chemicals, and excess radiation
- Find a healthy outlet for stress
- Have sex
You're in good hands
In San Francisco, Prisca apprenticed with renowned women's health and fertility acupuncturist Dr. Lifang Liang, OMD, Ph.D., L.Ac., author of Acupuncture & IVF, whose skills and wisdom made her one of the top fertility acupuncturists in the world. Her power acupuncture treatments and herbal formulas have helped hundreds of couples start families.