Acupuncture can assist when trying to conceive, whether naturally or with IVF assistance.
Acupuncture directly supports the reproductive system by increasing blood flow to the organs—improving ovarian function and the lining of the endometrium, among other benefits. Acupuncture is also a wonderful way to reduce stress levels, which has been shown to directly affect the glands responsible for the hormones of reproduction.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs may also help improve fertility and assist conception by:
- Regulating the menstrual cycle
- Bolstering the immune system, which supports the implantation process
- Addressing reproductive issues such as endometriosis, PCOS, adenomyosis, amenorrhea, and balancing oestrogen and progesterone levels
- Reducing menstrual (period) pain and clotting
- Improving men’s health, therefore improving sperm quality and quantity
- Addressing other health issues that may be impacting fertility
We recommend acupuncture throughout the process of becoming pregnant and during pregnancy (and beyond!)
IVF, IUI, and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
Acupuncture may help when going through IVF, IUI, and other assisted reproductive technologies as it:
- Helps the body to recover after a procedure and after anesthesia
- Decreases side effects of medications such as anxiety, moodiness, bloating, insomnia, fatigue, hot flushes, etc.
- Supports uterine lining to assist implantation
Recommendation of when to have acupuncture treatments for IVF and IUI:
- Prior to IVF or IUI cycle: once per week (ideally for 4-6 weeks prior to IVF medication)
- During IVF or IUI drug (stim) cycle: two to three times during a drug cycle (prior to egg collection), e.g., day 3, 6, and 9
- After egg collection: once within 48 hours
- Please note that we do not recommend acupuncture on the day of egg collection.
- Preparing for frozen embryo transfer: once or twice per week
- Day of embryo transfer (fresh or frozen): twice on the day – one treatment before and one treatment after (pre and post)
- After embryo transfer or IUI: approx. 5 days after embryo transfer, then once per week
- If the pregnancy is successful, we recommend weekly acupuncture through to week 12 of the pregnancy.
- Preparing for egg freezing: once per week (ideally for 4-6 weeks prior to cycle)
- During the drug (stim) cycle: two to three times during a drug cycle (prior to egg collection), e.g., day 3, 6, and 9
- Once per week and especially in the first 12 days of a menstrual cycle, i.e., book sessions while you have your period or between period and ovulation
During pregnancy, acupuncture enhances circulation to the uterus and strengthens the immune system.
When to have acupuncture treatments during pregnancy:
- Weeks 1 – 12: once per week
- Weeks 13 – 35: as needed
- Weeks 36 – birth: once per week to prepare for birth
Please note that this is a guide only; your experienced practitioner will work with you to create a personalized plan that best supports your unique situation.
When trying to conceive, often the focus is on the person who will carry the baby; however, we have seen how beneficial it is for the partner to also receive support for their overall health. For heterosexual couples, preparing the sperm for IVF or IUI is a key step in the process. Partners may also benefit from extra support to the nervous system, focusing on a specific health condition, and improving general health.
We are supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community and have helped many same-sex couples in their fertility journey.
Women’s and Men’s Health
Acupuncture supports women’s and men’s health in many ways, not only when focusing on fertility. At The Fertility Pod we also provide acupuncture treatments for other times in a woman’s life, such as puberty and teenage years, PMS, perimenopause, and menopause. The years of change are often when you may require some extra help, and we are here for you during those times as well. For men, this can be puberty, when facing a health challenge, or when you just need that little extra support.
What is Acupuncture:
Acupuncture is the use of very small and thin needles to activate various points around the body. It is based on the ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) knowledge of energetic meridians or pathways that correspond to the different systems and organs in the body. Your acupuncture practitioner may also utilise techniques such as cupping or gua sha to improve blood and lymph flow and to release the muscles and fascia. Acupuncture is a wholistic method of treatment in that it improves the health of the entire body; this is significant because the health of the parents has been shown to affect the health of the child. By improving your health prior to conception, you are helping to create the foundation of health for your child.
The varied schools of thought of acupuncture lend themselves to different styles of acupuncture treatments. For example, at The Fertility Pod, some practitioners utilise the more well-known Chinese style and others use the Japanese style. One of our practitioners is skilled in the highly-regarded technique of single needle treatments—in which one needle is placed in just the right place on the body to bring together all the necessary health effects. A patient-favourite is the use of heat lamps to warm up the digestive and reproductive systems—stimulating blood and nutrient flow to those important areas.
All our acupuncturists are licensed practitioners and are registered under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
During an acupuncture appointment, your practitioner will ask you some questions to gather information about your health, your gynaecological history, your goals, and what is going on for you at this time. During the first few sessions, this may be lengthier as we gather more details. This information will support us to determine which acupuncture points are best suited for you on that day. The acupuncturist will then begin acupuncture while you lay on the treatment table. Most of the time you will remain fully-clothed, although the practitioner may ask to access certain acupuncture points. The practitioner will then generally leave the room while you rest with the needles in place and come in from time-to-time to check on you or adjust the needles. You are encouraged to let yourself relax during this time and many of our clients share with us that they catch up on some much-needed sleep.
We’re often asked by new clients what acupuncture feels like. It can range from not feeling anything at all to a pressure or light ache. You may feel a sensation as the needle goes in, similar to that of a fingernail tapping the skin. Overall, it is relaxing and often invigorating. Patients who are experiencing pain, for example, in a joint or muscle, often find that the pain reduces immediately.
And finally, acupuncture is safe. We only use disposable needles and we maintain the highest of hygiene practices in our clinic.