IVF & IUI
Adding IVF Acupuncture To Improve Pregnancy Outcomes
Acupuncture During Stims, Transfers, And More!
When you decide to move to IVF, it can feel like a difficult and stressful road ahead. Some of our patients have been trying to get pregnant for a long time. Some patients have found that they are ready to expand their family a little later than the ‘ideal’ timeframe. Other patients are more limited in their options to grow their family. If you fall into one of these categories, you are in the right place. Adding acupuncture prior to, during, or the day of your IVF transfer can improve your chances of increased follicle count, a thicker, healthy endometrial lining, and increases the chance of implantation and a positive pregnancy test!
Don’t just take our word for it, see what one of the country’s top fertility clinic, and our neighbor down the street, CCRM has to say about adding acupuncture during your round of IVF. We have worked with so many CCRM patients over the years because of our close proximity. Our office is always thrilled with the amazing results and happy news from our patients!
Does acupuncture help IVF?
Absolutely! When considering using acupuncture for IVF, it’s important to know that it is not just about getting acupuncture the day of your transfer. There are many steps along the way that can be even more instrumental in IVF success that are worth discussing. If you have never had acupuncture or are unsure of the process, please check out our fertility acupuncture page here to learn more about the medicine.
In a nutshell, the most important part of adding acupuncture to your IVF cycle is its ability to shunt highly oxygenated blood to specific areas of the body. It’s also important to note that blood is the transport system in the body. One of its jobs is to help move hormones and nutrients around the body. IVF acupuncture works with the schedule that is laid out for you from your fertility clinic. Our treatments help move blood (and all the hormones you are on) to specific areas of the body.
Think of us as directing traffic. When you use IVF meds, either orally, vaginally, or injectables, the hormones will enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. When you add acupuncture, specifically electroacupuncture (which we will discuss later), the body will get signals to cause vasodilation in specific areas of the body. This treatment shunts more of your medications to that area of the body. Our job is to direct hormone “traffic” to to park in a specific parking lot (think your ovaries, endometrial lining).
Preparing Your Body For IVF Using Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine
When it comes time to start the process of IVF, it feels like a “hurry up and wait” situation. Between scheduling doctors visits, getting labs done, waiting for results, then deciding what the best course of action would be for the round of IVF, months can be eaten up while you wait to begin. As you anticipate beginning the IVF process, it is an excellent time to get started using acupuncture and herbal medicine to get your body prepared. Much like our fertility acupuncture process, we put together a plan on what we can do on our end to help your body be prepared for IVF success. For example, some of our patients struggle with digestive issues. Under the umbrella of traditional Chinese Medicine, digestion is an important bodily process to correct in order to sustain a pregnancy. Other patients of ours struggle with fatigue and low energy. This also points to biochemical adjustments that can be made for a successful round of IVF. Finally, acupuncture as a treatment is very effective in calming down the nervous system, and stabilizing the mood. This help people to feel mentally and emotionally ready for their IVF journey.
IVF Acupuncture Protocols
We love getting patients in and getting treated before they start medications. But what if your round of IVF is just around the corner? No worries, we have you covered. We want you to know right off the bat, that the number one difference between preparing for a round of IVF, and actually starting a round of IVF is the use of herbal medicine. Our clinic adheres to guidelines set by our local fertility clinics. When IVF meds are introduced to the body, we stop using herbal medicine. We take that oath seriously.
When you start a round of IVF, we may not use herbs, but we guide you in a different way. We recommend more dietary and lifestyle changes. Our clinic will look at each patient individually, and suggest foods that would be best for them. Because some of the medications cause digestive issues, we also focus on the preparation and frequency of certain foods to make sure that the digestive process is working correctly. We will always keep any lifestyle and dietary changes easy to understand and simple to implement.
Once medications begin, we use specific IVF acupuncture protocols to help enhance the effect of the medication. Again, the main goal during these IVF phases is to shunt the medications to specific areas of the body. Now, it is important to understand that we are focused on specific protocols to help the IVF medications. Additionally, we add acupuncture points to enhance the treatment for each patient in our office. Headaches from lupron? Painful bloating from estradiol? Constipated from progesterone? Stressed out and dealing with insomnia because going through IVF is a lot? We have you covered in all of these scenarios.
IVF Acupuncture During Stims
As you may already know, the follicle stimulation phase of IVF is crucial to the success of IVF. We are here to help! During the stim phase of IVF, we work with information from your IVF clinic. Specifically we look at your follicle counts in each ovary. This will determine the frequency and type of treatment you will receive from us to increase follicle quantity and growth. If you are new to this process, the stim phase (and sometimes before) is usually the time that you receive electroacupuncture. Electroacupuncture is the addition of frequency specific electrostimulation to certain acupuncture points on the body. This helps increase vasodilation of the vessels to either the ovaries, or the uterus. In the case of IVF, we want to make sure your stim meds are saturating your ovaries, and our treatments do just that.
Pre And Post Embryo Transfer Acupuncture Protocols
You’ve gotten through retrieval, and then you wait to see how many eggs are successfully fertilized which takes a few days. You and your family may decide to genetically test the embryos which can take another few weeks. In the end, the successful embryos are frozen until it is time for the transfer. Although each IVF protocol is different, in most instances, there is a month off period before you head in to the transfer. This is another opportunity for acupuncture to jump in and get your body ready for the important second part–a healthy endometrial lining for implantation. Our job is to move medication where it needs to go, and there are a few protocols to do so leading up to the embryo transfer.
Once you arrive on transfer day, we enjoy seeing your pink and/or blue nail polish and your pineapple socks. We have one last opportunity to help you–pre and post transfer acupuncture. We will have you come in to get treated before you head to the clinic, then again after the transfer. The pre transfer acupuncture protocol focuses on moving oxygenated blood towards the uterus, relaxing the cervix, and relaxes the body and mind during a stressful and exciting day. Here is a small study showing the increase in implantation after adding acupuncture prior to the transfer.
After the transfer, we get you cozy on the table once more for the post transfer acupuncture protocol. This treatment does not move blood to the uterus–we don’t want that at this point! The treatment sends blood to the digestive system, calms down the nervous system, and makes you feel relaxed.
Get the fertility, IVF, and pregnancy support you need from a doctor you trust.
It’s true that there is a ton of information out there to pick through, and it can be completely overwhelming. Imagine having someone meet you where you’re at and help you along, with your own individualized program. Dr. Cheryl Kujawinski, DACM, L.Ac has had over 10 years of experience doing just that. By isolating not only what the issue is, but why the issue is occurring, she formulates a treatment just for you. Think of the process as part acupuncture, part herbal medicine, part lifestyle coaching, and part cheerleading all wrapped up in one.We think it is so important to book your free consultation to discuss the different options that are best for your specific needs.