Trying to have a baby can be an exciting but tumultuous time in a woman’s life. For many women, preventing pregnancy had been the hormonal hallmark of their 20s and 30s. When the time comes to decide on having a family, it’s expected that things will fall into place and happen naturally and easily. Fertility challenges can be from a wide assortment of issues but can be supported with both conventional and natural medicine options. Many women turn to naturopathic medicine when looking for options to help optimize their fertility. I often work with my patients on supporting healthy hormones and diets, and decreasing inflammation, and I will often encourage my patients to work with a skilled acupuncturist to complement my treatments. Many naturopathic physicians practice acupuncture as well as naturopathic medicine. At Vero Health I work with a wonderful acupuncturist who oversees the Chinese Medicine and acupuncture options for women in our office, and I often refer to others in the community and across the country for patients who live away from the Okanagan.
Acupuncture is one of the most highly researched traditional modalities in the natural medicine realm. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the most important time to improve fertility opportunities is about 2 to 3 months before a woman wants to conceive. The idea of clearing the garden to prepare for the seed is often used, and it is a great analogy for preparing the body for pregnancy. Pre-conception work with both naturopathic and Chinese Medicine can have a tremendous outcome on pregnancy attempts. During this crucial time, the woman’s overall health and development of a healthy uterine lining and egg stores can be supported. Men can also benefit from a pre-conception plan to help optimize their general health and the health of their sperm. In a recent study, a general improvement of sperm quality, specifically in the ultrastructural integrity of spermatozoa, was seen after acupuncture. Acupuncture can increase fertility by reducing stress, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, and balancing the endocrine system, according to several studies and medical research. Many infertility clinics have realized that women undergoing fertility treatments can also greatly benefit from acupuncture when seeking fertility support. A 2015 article in Reproductive Biomedicine showed clinical evidence that using Chinese Medicine created an increase in live births from 48% with IVF only to 61% with acupuncture and TCM support, by improving blood flow to the uterus and endometrial lining.
Acupuncture is often combined with herbal remedies to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained infertility, luteal phase defect, and PCOS. Many hormonal issues can be supported with acupuncture and the added benefit can be improved general health. Don’t be scared of acupuncture! The needles are small, thin, and disposable. Many people sleep during an acupuncture treatment and are surprised at how comfortable they are during a session. If fertility has been a challenge or you are considering your pre-conception options, look for an acupuncturist who can work with you. Get that Buddha baby happening and look forward to a wonderful experience of pregnancy and parenthood.
Dr. Shelby Entner, nd is a sought-after naturopathic physician, speaker, and expert. After receiving her doctorate in 2002, Dr. Entner went on to practice in the United States for several years before returning to BC and eventually founding Vero Health in Vernon. She enjoys a busy practice with her award-winning team of practitioners and staff and loves living in the Okanagan with her young family.
Article was published in The Good Life magazine.