Acupuncture for Fertility

December 13th, 2010 by Dionna | 8 Comments
Posted in Guest Posts, natural parenting, Pregnancy and Birth

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I’ll go ahead and out myself, since I’ve never talked about this on my site: we have been trying to conceive for the past 18 months.1 I don’t know whether this is something I’ll be blogging about, but it is on my radar. When Arpita offered this guest post for Code Name: Mama, I was excited to host it and learn more.
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On this tumultuous journey of trying to start a family, I have learned many things about myself.  In talking to other women who have been trying to conceive for quite some time, one thing is clear. If you tell a woman who has been trying to conceive for a considerable length of time that something, anything, will improve her chances of getting pregnant, and have sufficient research and evidence that it will work, she will try it . . . no matter how bizarre it may sound at first. That’s what I was thinking to myself as I was sitting in my acupuncturist’s waiting room before my first session. Am I really so desperate to have a baby that I will let a {very well trained} stranger stick needles in me? Clearly, the answer was Yes.

Now, knowing what I know about acupuncture, and knowing how it makes me feel, it does not sound bizarre at all to me that sticking dozens of tiny needless into my body might help my husband and I conceive. Looking back now, what sounds even more bizarre to me is medical doctors taking test after test, telling us over and over that everything was fine, and not to worry. At the same time, those doctors were more than happy to write prescription after prescription for fertility drugs. Now, I don’t have anything against medical intervention where medical intervention is required. What was troubling to me was that medical doctors were offering me drugs meant to help me do exactly what my body was already doing on its own, just as it should.

I got to the point where I was at the end of my rope, and I just wanted to trust my body and get back to basics. While venting to a friend who had been through the trying to conceive roller coaster, she recommended acupuncture. After also having been on the medical route for longer than she wished, she ended up turning to acupuncture and conceived that same month. That was all the testimonial I needed. But I still was not sure how exactly it was going to work.

My naturopathic doctor explained that acupuncture is based in the principles of Chinese medicine. According to Eastern medicine, we have channels of energy called meridians that run through our bodies. These meridians can build up blockages or stagnation in the flow of energy and cause a disruption of balance. According to traditional Chinese medicine, disruption of the flow of energy can lead to physical and emotional illnesses, including infertility. These meridians can be affected by placing needles at specific points, known as acupuncture points. By needling the acupuncture points, the stagnation in the flow of the energy is moved and is allowed to flow in a free and balanced way.2

That’s the cliff notes version of the facts behind acupuncture. But how does it feel? In a word, amazing.  I’ve said quite a few times that while my husband’s and my desire to have a child is what lead me to want to start acupuncture, I most certainly will continue going after our bambino comes along. What most people ask me the most about acupuncture is if it hurts. When done right by a skilled professional who is good at what he or she does, it does not hurt. Acupuncture needles are very different than needles used to give an injection. Most noticeably they are not hollow and are very thin; in fact they are not much thicker than a strand of hair. My acupuncturist told mentioned that about twenty acupuncture needles can fit inside the tip of a regular needle that is used to give an injection.

For a more detailed list of questions to ask and things to consider when it comes to acupuncture for fertility take a look at my blog post titled Pin Cushion Bliss. For me personally, acupuncture offers such a wonderfully deep state of relaxation that lasts far longer than a massage. With a little bit of research and a good practitioner, you too could experience ‘pin cushion bliss.’ And who knows, maybe there will be a baby carriage at the end of this long road after all.

Photo credit: topfer

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Arpita is currently studying to be a Post Partum Doula.  She has a special interest in helping mothers establish the breastfeeding relationship, and spreading information and knowledge regarding natural parenting and attachment parenting.  She currrently lives in Canada with her husband.  As they await their first pregnancy Arpita writes about alternative fertility treatments including acupuncture for fertility, naturopathic medicine and ayurvedic medicine.  In her spare time she enjoys yoga, cooking, baking, knitting, scrapbooking and photography.  You can find her blogging and offering give-aways at Up, Down & Natural.

  1. Somewhat half-heartedly until this past June or July for breastfeeding purposes, because I did not want Kieran to be forced to wean before he was 2 or 2 1/2 if my milk dried up due to pregnancy. Now that he is 3 years old, I’m not quite as concerned.
  2. Huang ST, Chen AP. “Traditional Chinese medicine and infertility.” Current Opinions in Obstetrics and Gynecology. June 2008; 20(3):211-5.

8 Responses to:
"Acupuncture for Fertility"

  1. Rachael   RachaelNevins

    Sometime during my last cycle, I told myself that maybe I would try acupuncture if I didn’t conceive. Well, today it became clear that I didn’t … and here’s this post. Thank you, Arpita (and Dionna for posting).

  2. Fiona

    I tried acupuncture three months into trying to conceive and conceived that month. Who knows if there was a connection, but I’ll definitely be doing it again next time around!

  3. Stephanie

    There is a great book and website called Fertile Heart (googling that will bring it up). She doesn’t prescribe a specific approach, just guides people as they navigate their journeys. It might be another helpful resource.

    I can empathize very much with the desire for children. We tried for 6 years before bringing home our 1st child, who was adopted as a newborn. Good luck to everyone!

  4. We were not able to conceive naturally due to medical issues. I saw an acupuncturist that specialized in fertility several months before my IVF and throughout the process…I completely believe that she played a major role in our conceiving our twin boys on our first round, and she helped me with a few other things as well. It does feel amazing and doesn’t hurt one bit. Good luck and hang in there.

  5. Jennifer

    FWIW, my sister used acupuncture and Chinese herbs after a year of infertility to help with suspected endometriosis. She became pregnant a few months later. Good luck to all!

  6. I started getting acupuncture before we started trying to conceive, so I can’t say if it specifically helped, but it did help me get my body back on track after years of issues due to undiagnosed food intolerances. We ended up conceiving relatively easily… and with twins! Good luck, Dionna. I hope acupuncture helps you on your journey.

  7. Michelle @ The Parent Vortex   TheParentVortex

    Good luck in your journey to conception, Dionna. I know many women in my off-line life who have breastfed through the toddler & preschool years and had (or are currently having) difficulty conceiving their 2nd child. It seems some women’s bodies just want to wait until the 1st child is done nursing before starting to grow another baby.

  8. Jessica (Crunchy-Chewy Mama)   crunchychewy

    I glimpsed this a while back and have been meaning to comment. I think acupuncture is a great component of general health maintenance and also TTC. I keep meaning to write a post on all the things I did to prepare my body for a second pregnancy (happy to email with you in the interim). It took me 29 mos. to get my period back after my son was born. By that time, I decided I would wean at three and then do some detox and really just focus on my body, which clearly had been telling me it wasn’t ready for #2. Then we got pregnant on the first try when my son was 3 yrs and 7+ months and went on to have a great pregnancy and HBAC. Good luck!

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