Acupuncture could perk up chances of getting pregnant

By Shayna Brouker • Published: October 17th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Still not successful conceiving — even with a slew of supplements and round after round of in vitro fertilization? Just prick yourself. That’s right — according to a study published in Human Reproduction Update, women with less than 32 percent success rates with I-V-F saw a 53 percent better chance of getting pregnant when they received acupuncture before or after the procedure.

The study of more than 4,000 women found that the connection between fertility and acupuncture was especially high at clinics with low rates of success, mostly in Europe. The rate of success in the United States is about one live birth for every three women receiving I-V-F treatments. At an average cost of $800 per acupuncture treatment, it might be worth the investment if it eliminates the need for further I-V-F, which is even more costly.

Acupuncture experts focus on directing blood flow to the uterus, thus encouraging fertility. Besides that, acupuncture relieves stress, a huge benefit during the uncertainty and anxiety of I-V-F. What’s more, past studies have shown that acupuncture may even increase the effectiveness of medication. The procedure has helped those taking antidepressants lower their dosage and even reduced unpleasant side effects like weight gain, nausea and lowered libido. It can also aid weight loss, which is significant because maintaining a healthy weight is key to conception. Studies have found that it takes obese women with a body mass index of 25 to 39 twice as long to get pregnant. Underweight women take four times as long to get pregnant.

If you’re not quite ready to go under the needle, at least consider these tips for enhancing fertility: Limit excess alcohol and caffeine, stop smoking and aim for the fertile window: the six days after ovulation. You might just get a positive result.