Acupuncture for Fertility
Literature over the years have continuously proven the effectiveness of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the improvement of fertility in both men and women. We at Omaha Acupuncture and Chiropractic provide tailored treatment plans to best fit each patient’s needs. We specialize in supporting and preparing patients for IVF/IUI at different stages and conditions. We understand that infertility is an extremely stressful experience; therefore we anticipate the subtle changes from both physical and mental angles to handle unexpected situations that can be encountered over the course of treatment.
We support women at all stages of creating new life. At the Omaha Chiropractic & Acupuncture clinic, we believe in treating the whole family, including all stages of the birth and life process.
Acupuncture can help women conceive both naturally and in conjunction with IUI and IVF. The combination of Chinese herbs and acupuncture help promote circulation to the uterus, support healthy egg maturation, and ensure healthy uterine lining, thereby enhancing your chances to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Treatments can incorporate acupuncture, customized herbal therapy, stress reduction and dietary counseling.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are effective at:
- regulating the menstrual cycle
- addressing pre-existing medical conditions (PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids)
- improving sperm count and motility
- reducing stress and anxiety
- normalizing hormone and endocrine systems
- improve blood flow in the uterus and thicken lining
- decreasing the chance of miscarriage
- increasing the success rate of women undergoing IVF
- improve ovarian response to follicle-stimulating hormones
- Lower FSH
- Lengthen luteal phase (Luteal Phase defects)
- Recurrent Miscarriage
- Boosts fertility in cases of clotting factors or autoimmune response
Acupuncture treatments for fertility are weekly for 3-6 cycles, with special timing around IUI/IVF events.
Our goal is to ensure you have a viable, healthy and comfortable pregnancy.
After conception, acupuncture and herbs can prevent miscarriage by promoting overall health and proper circulation throughout the body, ensuring that essential nutrients are passed from mother to baby.
Acupuncture is also effective at easing pregnancy discomforts such as:
- Anxiety & Depression in Pregnancy
- Breech & Posterior Presentations
- Pregnancy Sinusitis
- Varicose veins, hemorrhoids and vulval varicosities
Acupuncture at the end of the third trimester can help preparing the cervix and pelvis for labor.
A series of 3 weekly acupuncture treatments using a specific point protocol has been shown to reduce mean labor time from 8 hours and two minutes in the control group (70 women) to six hours and 36 minutes in the group of 70 women who received pre-birth acupuncture. Midwives have also report a lower rate of medical intervention when pre-birth acupuncture is administered starting at 36-37 weeks gestation.
Acupuncture for Labor Induction
From a Traditional Chinese Medical view point, labor is expected when three factors occur simultaneously. Yang activity becomes predominant over Yin growth, qi and blood begin to move freely, and the uterus dilates. When these events sync up, an easy harmonious labor ensues. Our acupuncturists have had the honor of inducing a number of births naturally. Many women report increased fetal movement during acupuncture, with labor following 2-4 days later. We recommend treatments are continued every 3 days.
The Journal of Maternity Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, published a study in Aug 2006 conducted by Harper TC and others. The study was conducted to evaluate the utility of outpatient acupuncture for pregnancy and labor induction treatments. The results were very encouraging. Compared to controls, women in the acupuncture group tended to be more 70% more likely to labor spontaneously and 39% less likely to deliver by cesarean section.
But this is not surprising; such evidence was available decades ago. One study conducted in 1977 and published in the Journal of Obstet Gynecol. Under the care of Tsuei JJ, Lai Y, Sharma SD, et all showed that Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Labour induction resulted in a success rate of 91.6%.
If you are pregnant and are concerned with labor pain, or the delivery, we strongly encourage you to consider Acupuncture to encourage labor, relieve pain and avoid a medical induction.
As a mother’s weight increases, her center of gravity shifts outward and her postural compensations respond accordingly. In addition, the ligament laxity necessary for birthing adds to instability in all of her joints, including her spine and pelvis. Chiropractic adjustments help maintain balance in the body and keep your pelvis mobile and open for birth. Our safe, effective and gentle spinal adjustments to the lower back and pelvis involve techniques that limit pressure on the abdomen. We usually follow along the OB-GYN/midwife schedule, unless you develop pain. We teach you how to prevent aches and pains with therapeutic exercises and proper ergonomics.
Chiropractic care is effective at easing pregnancy discomforts such as:
- Lower back pain
- Groin pain related to the round ligament
- Pain in the glutes
The goal of pre-natal chiropractic adjustments is not only to reduce the mother/baby discomfort but also to allow the baby to be in the best position for delivery. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room for the developing baby to be comfortable and they may seek out a less than optimal positioning for birth.
“Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether.
Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.” Most expectant mothers state that they feel like they walk better because there is fluid motion in the hip joints (SI joints).
Pre-natal massage uses special positioning and techniques to alleviate pain, tension, improve lymphatic and blood circulation and creative overall relaxation for mothers-to-be. We use memory foam wedges and body pillows for comfortable positioning. We also have special pregnancy tables with a cutout for the belly so the expectant mother can lie prone. Pre-natal massage addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy.
Hormone regulation – Pre-natal massage can regulate moods by reducing the hormones norepinephrine and cortisol (“stress hormones”) while increasing dopamine and serotonin levels increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression).
Reduction of swelling – Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints, which also improves the removal of tissue waste, carried by the body’s lymph system.
Improvement of Sciatic nerve pain – The uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. This puts pressure on the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and compress nearby nerves. Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles.
Other benefits of prenatal massage:
- Reduced back pain
- Reduced joint pain
- Improved circulation
- Reduced edema
- Reduced muscle tension and headaches
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
- Better sleep
- Improve labor outcomes and newborn health.
- Decrease symptoms of depression
In China, the first few weeks after childbirth are called “chan ru.” Chan means childbirth, and Ru means mattress. In traditional Chinese culture, women were prescribed bed rest for one month after childbirth. Female relatives would take care of both the new mother and the baby, allowing the new mother to restore her strength and energy. Specific herbal prescriptions were given to help shrink the uterus, stop bleeding, encourage lactation, and return vitality.
In today’s fast-paced society, few new mothers have the luxury of resting for a month after childbirth. Most women need to return to taking care of family or work before their bodies have had a chance to fully recover from the birth experience. Growing and birthing a child greatly depletes the body’s qi and blood. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can accelerate recovery time.
In addition to returning the body to a state of balance and optimal reproductive health, some of the postpartum conditions that acupuncture can treat are:
- postpartum depression, anxiety and “baby blues”
- decreased energy and vitality
- low milk supply
- hormonal imbalances
- persistent bleeding
- lactation problems
- abdominal pain
- night sweats
Chiropractic care can also help after childbirth. In the eight weeks following labor and delivery, the ligaments that loosened during pregnancy begin to tighten up again. Ideally, joint problems brought on during pregnancy from improper lifting or reaching should be treated before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state-to prevent muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort, and shoulder problems. Often after birth, whether vaginally or via c-section, the mother’s pelvic biomechanics change – these changes can bring discomfort with walking, nursing and sleeping.
We restore the pelvic balance with similar manipulation, exercises and stretches that were used in the prenatal care. There is a tendency for new mothers to flex forward for long periods of time which can aggravate the mid back area. Carrying car seats with infants in them also alters biomechanics.
“Nursing neck” is common in new mothers who are breastfeeding, bottle feeding or simply rocking children. Looking down and to the side to watch the baby nursing can cause tension in neck and shoulders which can be alleviated with thoracic spine adjustments. We like to make sure the pelvis is in alignment and no post-birth issues. Spinal adjustments can also help with pain at the site of the epidural.
Integration of maternal bodywork may add welcome value to your healing journey and transition to motherhood.
Increased milk production – Breastfeeding is a beautiful gift to your newborn, but can also be a challenge for some moms. Massage therapy relaxes the body, increases circulation and increases milk production. Studies show that massage increases prolactin levels, a lactation hormone. Relaxation in the chest muscles opens the shoulders and improves lactation. Your therapists will position you comfortably if your abdomen or breasts are sore.
Better sleep – Most new moms feel exhausted after labor and delivery, complicated with around-the-clock baby care. Massage will ease the fatigue, promote relaxation and assist with sleep. Studies have shown an increase in delta brain waves (those that accompany deep sleep) with massage therapy. That is why it is very common to fall asleep during a massage. Getting enough sleep is key to postpartum recovery.
Pain relief – Adding breastfeeding and childcare can intensify arm, shoulder and back pain. Massage is an effective holistic approach that relaxes muscles and relieves pain without medication.
Stress Reduction – Anxiety and depression respond very well to skilled therapy. About two-thirds of new moms experience temporary postpartum blues related to hormonal changes, new responsibilities and adjustment frustrations. Emotional support and the other benefits of massage can help during this transition. Postpartum depression is a more serious, longer-lasting condition that affects 10-15% of mothers. Studies show massage to be beneficial for treating postpartum depression.
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