There are many evidence-informed applications of acupuncture, and recent research suggests that acupuncture may be a safe and effective treatment to help women become pregnant. Whether you are struggling to become pregnant through natural means or you’ve already progressed to medical interventions such as in vitro fertilization, studies show a positive association between acupuncture and conception. Though the exact mechanism is not clearly understood, there are some well-known benefits of acupuncture that may explain how and why it is good for fertility.
First and foremost, acupuncture can be used to relieve stress, improve mood, and even manage mental health conditions such as depression. As such, some researchers believe that the benefit of acupuncture for fertility may actually be associated with its mental health effects. High stress levels are often associated with difficulty becoming pregnant. Additionally, higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol are also associated with a higher risk of miscarriage. As you can see, stress can not only prevent women from becoming pregnant, but it can also prevent women from reaching full term.
The link between stress and infertility is increasingly understood. Given the impact of stress on general health, it should not be surprising that stress impacts fertility and pregnancy. More specifically, it appears that stress impacts the health of the fallopian tubes and uterus such that fertilized eggs are not effectively implanted. Acupuncture helps to counter the effects of stress by stimulating the release of endorphins from the brain. Ultimately, this may help to promote reproductive health.
Still, there are other health effects of acupuncture that are believed to contribute to improved fertility. Hormonal imbalances in men and women can prevent pregnancy. In women, disruptions in ovulation are often associated with imbalances in hormones; whereas in men, hormones can have a significant impact on sperm production and motility. Acupuncture may help to restore hormonal balance so that men and women both experience improved fertility.
Further, acupuncture can also support ongoing health throughout pregnancy through these same mechanisms. By reducing the impact of stress and maintaining hormonal balance throughout pregnancy, acupuncture supports a healthy, full-term pregnancy. Indeed, when combined with traditional medical treatments for fertility and pregnancy, acupuncture has been shown to increase conception rates by up to 26%. More than that, acupuncture treatments during pregnancy help women to maintain better mental and hormonal health so they ultimately deliver healthy babies.
Fortunately, acupuncture is a safe treatment with few side effects. It has not only been shown to support fertility, but can also help with symptoms of pregnancy such as morning sickness, pain, poor sleep, and anxiety. Given the myriad benefits of acupuncture, it is becoming an increasingly common adjunct treatment for fertility and pregnancy.