acupuncture and fertility
Fertility

Acupuncture and fertility

Research suggests that acupuncture can increase the chances of conceiving successfully (both naturally and through IVF) as it prepares the body for conception and pregnancy.

Acupuncturist Maria Maher explains how this ancient Chinese therapy could help to boost fertility.

Acupuncture and fertility

With one in every six couples experiencing difficulty in becoming parents nowadays, it is not surprising that more and more people are turning to acupuncture for help.

Acupuncture, a branch of medicine that originated in China, has been used for centuries to treat fertility issues. The W.H.O. (World Health Organisation) recognises its effectiveness in doing so and there have been several studies showing that it is safe and effective in treating fertility and infertility, as well as menstrual/reproductive issues, for both men and women.

How does acupuncture help?

There are many ways in which acupuncture can assist.

It can increase the blood flow to the reproductive organs, balance hormones, improve the quality of eggs, sperm and embryos, help prevent miscarriage and help relieve the stress that trying for a baby can too often cause.

For couples who are trying to conceive with the help of Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART, i.e.: IVF, IUI, ovulation induction), acupuncture will complement the conventional treatment they are having and/ or the medications they are prescribed. Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer (pre- and post-transfer) has been shown to increase the success of IVF by as much as 65%.

Acupuncture also helps men and women who have conditions that affect their fertility. For women, these include conditions such as Polycystic Ovaries (PCO), Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, thyroid issues, ovulation issues, irregular menstrual cycles or low ovarian reserve. It can be beneficial for men who have issues such as low sperm count, poor sperm morphology or varicoceles.

Tailored treatment In Chinese medicine, the body is viewed as one whole energy system and, as such, the root cause of a condition is treated, as well as the symptoms experienced. It works at an emotional, spiritual and physical level. Each condition has its own diagnosis in terms of traditional Chinese medicine and no individual is treated in the same way. A lot of emphasis is placed on diet and lifestyle and recommendations are made as appropriate.

A.C.T. (Acupuncture Childbirth Team) Dublin is a group of established and registered acupuncturists, which was formed in response to the growing number of patients using acupuncture for fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and paediatrics. The group works alongside, and in collaboration with, the fertility, maternity and paediatric services provided within Dublin. A.C.T. Dublin aims to support both members and their patients in promoting acupuncture and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) to the public and other healthcare providers. It was officially launched in January 2014 by its patron, Sarah Budd, an internationally renowned acupuncturist and midwife. www.actdublin.ie Email: info@actdublin.ie

Aisling, age 36, had acupuncture because she was finding it difficult to get pregnant due to her underlying endometriosis condition.

“I had been trying to conceive for over eight months. I had already been diagnosed with endometriosis and had had a laparoscopy to remove it.

Some months later, I became pregnant. However, I was terribly upset when I miscarried after only a few weeks. I decided to have a course of acupuncture treatments to help me get over the miscarriage and hopefully improve my chances of conceiving again when I was emotionally ready to try. I found the treatments very relaxing and calming. I began to feel better in myself and I was sleeping much better too.

Meanwhile, my GP had referred me to a fertility clinic, where the specialists discussed IVF with me as a recommended option. To my delight, however, during the course of the acupuncture treatments, and before starting any medication the fertility clinic had prescribed, I discovered I was pregnant! I continued to have acupuncture during my pregnancy and am now the proud mother of a little girl!”

More like this:

Top tips to boost your fertility
All you need to know about fertility
IVF: going it alone

ASK LUCY

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….

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ASK LUCY

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….