ACUPUNCTURE AND FERTILITY
Acupuncture has been used in many Eastern cultures for over 2,000 years as a primary source of treatment to support male and female reproductive health generally. It is also used to treat specific gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, pelvic inflammation, erratic cycles and PCOS.
Over recent years acupuncture has begun to feature more prominently in mainstream healthcare in the UK, particularly as a supportive treatment alongside assisted fertility and pregnancy .
There is a growing body of scientific research into acupuncture's uses, but unfortunately, there is still little data that conforms to the usual Western medical standards of large scale, double-blind, randomised, controlled trials in this area. All of the references to research made below therefore need to be seen in that context.
Despite this, the prestigious Zita West clinic is a very strong supporter of acupuncture's use, as part of a co-ordinated approach, to promoting the best possible levels of reproductive health generally and especially to help prepare couples prior to and during a cycle of IVF.
Acupuncture takes a very individual and holistic approach to any patient, so there is an in-depth consultation, which includes a full medical history, details of your period and menstrual cycle, your health generally and looks at diet and life-style issues. A similarly in-depth approach is used with male patients and there is also an emphasis on looking at diet and nutrition because this has such a critical influence on the male reproductive system as well as the female's. Specific Zita West training has been very helpful in developing knowledge and expertise in the area of nutrition and I provide some very helpful Zita West down-loads free to patients.
ACUPUNCTURE ALONGSIDE IVF
Preparing properly for IVF, or other assisted fertility treatments, is just as important and potentially beneficial, as if you are trying for a baby naturally. It is ideal if acupuncture can be used to help prepare the body, prior to a couple starting a cycle of IVF. Research suggests it may be good for relieving stress, (which isn't good for fertility, whether natural or assisted) as well as balancing females hormones. Hormonal imbalance is a frequent contributor to fertility problems. It also suggests that acupuncture may stimulate the flow of blood to the reproductive organs.
Research suggests that acupuncture may help with male fertility issues too. There have been a number of studies investigating acupuncture's ability to modulate male fertility parameters, as well as one which reported significant improvements to total sperm count, concentration and motility. Further later studies have all reported some positive results, suggesting that levels of anti-sperm antibodies, testicular blood flow and scrotal temperature may be influenced.
PRE-AND POST EMBRYO TRANSFER
A randomised, controlled study conducted in 2002 into the efficacy of acupuncture when used pre and post IVF, showed a clinical pregnancy rate 60% higher than that of the control group. This corresponds with the findings of a non-selective audit conducted amongst the Zita West clinic clients, all of whom had acupuncture pre and post transfer, where the mean clinical pregnancy rate per cycle averaged across all age groups, was almost 60%. The picture was confused in 2010 by 4 studies which reported no significant benefit. However another study conducted on patients receiving acupuncture post transfer on the day and then again 3 days later, also reported significant increases in pregnancy rates. Similarly, a meta-analyses, involving 7 separate randomised, controlled trials, concluded that there was preliminary evidence to suggest that acupuncture given at the time of embryo transfer may improve rates of pregnancy and most importantly, live births. Finally, there was another meta-analysis, also published in 2008, agreeing with this conclusion.
I treat patients on the same day, before and after embryo transfer, using the same protocol as the Zita West clinic. This helps patients to be feeling calm and relaxed before going off to their transfer.
ACUPUNCTURE DURING PREGNANCY
Acupuncture, when used by an experienced and fully qualified practitioner, may be a very good support during pregnancy, particularly in terms of relieving stress. Western standards of research also supports it's use for treating nausea and vomiting.
A Chinese herb called moxa, which is used to provide heat on an acupuncture point on the edge of the little toe, may be used after 33 weeks, to try and turn a breech baby. (An Italian study in 1998 and a Portsmouth study in 2002, both showed siginificantly more normal births than those left untreated).
Pre-birth acupuncture, comprimising of a series of treatments in the final weeks of pregnancy, may be an effective way to prepare women for childbirth. It also gives an opportunity, in a supportive setting, to talk over any worries and concerns that women may have in terms of the birth and after. Using a standard set of acupuncture points, once-a-week for 3 weeks prior to the woman's due date, is an accepted practice in German hospitals where acupuncture is practised.
SUPPORTING POST-NATAL RECOVERY
Acupuncture may be very helpful to new mothers, given how demanding, both physically and mentally, the early months after birth can be. It may help reduce the feelings of stress and may thereby improve sleep and energy. Treatment focuses as much on the emotional needs of the patient as the physical.
THE BENEFITS OF CHOOSING A ZITA WEST AFFILIATED ACUPUNCTURIST
Zita West is a renowned midwife, fertility and pregnancy expert, acupuncturist and author. She has her own specialist integrated clinic in London, with a comprehensive medical and complementary health team.
The Acupuncture Network aims to share the unique skills and experience of Zita and her team of doctors, midwives and complimentary therapists, with experienced, independent acupuncturists across the UK.
All members of the network receive training and ongoing support in Zita West's comprehensive, holistic approach to achieve optimum reproductive health. This covers a wide range of treatments and approaches to help enhance fertility, success of IVF, and support pregnancy and post-natal recovery.
As a member of the Network, I am also able to provide my patients with access to a range of very helpful Zita West fact sheets containing valuable advice on how to improve you and your partner's reproductive health. These are provided free of charge. Lastly there is a 20% discount on all Zita West products and any of their clinical services.
I am happy to have an informal chat about your specific problem.
You can contact me and view map here Click
Tel. 0115 960 3238
Back to Top