Acupuncture and Fertility

Heather Barwick
Ground floor, Suite 3,
16 Bagot St
NORTH ADELAIDE 5006
0410 865 722


Women's Health

Ladies this page is for you, partners don’t run away as it is also relevant to you. You can learn a thing or two about your partner and yourself.


From a woman’s first period to her last and beyond ‘girly pluming’ dominates a woman’s being. For some it’s plain sailing from start to finish, for others it is problematic, not necessarily to the point of needing medical intervention but enough to cause you to drop days from work due to menstrual pain, or find when the time comes that you want to start your family or grow your existing family that it is not happening as you planned. 


Go to see your G.P. if you have;



  • Heavy periods this may cause severe anaemia and could be from fibroids, endometriosis or an ovarian cyst.

  • Bleeding, vulval itching or vaginal discharge after the menopause, to rule out vulval, cervical or endometrial cancer.

  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse, to rule out cervical cancer.

  • Bleeding which occurs between periods with no obvious pattern on more than three occasions.

  • Pelvic pain or abdominal swelling where a mass can be felt may suggest PID, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, tumour, or pregnancy.

  • Vaginal discharge caused by recurrent thrush or infection as there may be an underlying cause such as diabetes or immune-suppression.

  • Sexually transmitted diseases – Clinic 275 offers testing and treatment without the need to visit your regular G.P.


You may also choose to pursue other alternatives including acupuncture, some lifestyle, dietary and exercise changes to bring you back in balance.


How can we help?

Managing your menstrual cycle with Natural Fertility Planning (NFP)


We can teach you how to do NFP, incorporate this into your treatment plan. This can be discussed at your initial consultation. Many women try Natural Fertility Planning (NFP) to understand their cycle better and really know their own body.


What is NFP?

It is a method of charting your body temperature throughout your cycles to understand the rhythm and patterns of your cycle.



  • What does the temperature range mean at different phases of my cycle?

  • What does a long or short follicular or luteal phase indicate?

  • Cervical mucus, a delightful topic!

  • The effects of illness, long haul flights, shift work on your cycle.

  • Which are my fertile days and my non-fertile days?


We interpreting these signs to inform a differential diagnosis in Chinese Medicine, which assists us to working out a tailored treatment plan for you.


It is recommended you chart over a three cycles to try and get a true picture of your pattern and because you may make mistakes during the first month whilst you get used to incorporating charting into your daily routine. We can help you interpret your charts to inform your treatment plan and it provides a tangible record showing the changes in your cycle as the body adjusts to treatment.


It is not for every one! It does take some discipline to learn how to chart your cycle but it is worth it if you can do it.


Acupuncture can assist with:


  • Periods – painful, heavy, lack off, scant, long cycles. It has a modulating effect on hormones.

  • Pain - Endometriosis and (PCOS) can cause debilitating pain and acupuncture may help with reducing discomfort during your cycle.

  • Mood swings, PMT, depression, anxiety and low energy.

  • Preparation for pregnancy.


Duration of treatment

We recommend 12 weeks or three cycles, for some women results can be quicker and for others it may be longer.




Acupuncture and IVF

It is a big step to reach the decision to go down the assisted reproduction route, we have seen couples and singles come to this cross road many times and for many reasons. For some clients sharing the journey with friends and family is too hard as the outcome may not be what was hoped for. Your acupuncturist can provide a source of support and a safe place to express your emotions during the process. We tailor the treatment throughout the cycle to support you physically and emotionally. We also support male partners with fertility issues and can tailor a course of treatment to support men’s health when a couple are trying for a bub.



  • Acupuncture before and during the medication phase of IVF treatment prepares the uterine lining and has been shown to improve hormone levels and may also increase pregnancy rates.

  • Acupuncture has been shown to reduce anxiety levels associated with the IVF process.

  • Acupuncture has been shown to improve sperm motility and morphology.

  • Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer has been shown to improve implantation rates.

  • Acupuncture in the first few weeks of pregnancy is helpful for women who have had a history of infertility and/or miscarriage.


Frequency of treatments

If you have not participated in a course of acupuncture before we recommend starting treatment eight to twelve weeks before you plan to start your IVF cycle. If you have already undergone one or more IVF cycles you will benefit from acupuncture between the cycles as the effects of the hormone changes can leave you feeling emotionally and physically drained.


On the day of transfer we recommend two acupuncture treatments one prior to the procedure and one after the procedure followed by rest and relaxation at home.
We work with a network of acupuncturist to support you from North Adelaide, and Glenelg to Mount Barker.


Diet

Optimal nutrition provides an optimal environment for the eggs as they grow and develop. We recommend having a wide variety of tasty fresh food, eaten in season, and in a relaxed manner. It is important to eat plenty of protein, fresh fruit, and vegetables and organic if possible. Try to avoid processed foods, and meat or fish that has been farmed using growth hormones.


Supplements

To maximise your nutrition available to the developing eggs and lining of the womb, consider taking a supplement. It is important this contains folic acid, and other B vitamins, vitamin C and D, omega fatty acids, antioxidants such as CoQ10 and minerals such as zinc, iron and iodine. We work with a network of nutritionists and naturopaths if you need further support in this area.


Exercise

Movement is good, but high impact or tiring exercise or strain on the abdomen or lower back during your IVF cycle may not be good. Walk don’t run. Be careful with forward bends, sit ups, or anything that compresses the abdomen or lower back. Try not to get overtired, or stand on your feet for long periods.


Sleep

More than 40% of adults get less than 7 hours sleep a night, and this can effect your metabolism and weight control. Getting enough sleep is essential at this time to maintain your sense of wellbeing.


Smoking

Smoking can delay conception. It reduces live births and makes the uterus less receptive to embryo implantation.


Alcohol

Women metabolise alcohol much less efficiently than men and there is evidence to suggest that moderate drinking (5 or fewer glasses a week) can delay conception. Try to save alcohol for those special occasions and one glass slowly.


Caffeine

High caffeine intake can be associated with infertility and increased miscarriage rate. Try to limit your intake to no more than 1 tea per day and 1 or 2 coffees per week.


Pregnancy

Your acupuncturist provides support through out your pregnancy, for some women we are there all the way for others just dip in and out if something is becoming troublesome. We work with you and your Obstetric specialist or midwife to support your pregnancy.


First trimester



  • Anxiety

  • Tiredness

  • Nausea

  • History of miscarriages


Second trimester



  • Bowel problems

  • Constipation

  • Haemorrhoids

  • Headaches

  • Heartburn

  • Sciatica

  • Sinus problems

  • Symphysis pubis pain

  • Threatened miscarriage

  • Thrush

  • Varicose veins - pain


Third trimester



  • Abdominal pain

  • Anaemia

  • Anxiety

  • Bub small for date

  • Back pain

  • Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

  • Cramps

  • Gestational diabetes

  • Hypertension

  • Insomnia

  • Oedema of ankles

  • Pelvic girdle pain

  • Turning breech

  • Induction



Preparation for labour

Preparation for labour……… week 35 onwards……..the count down is on…….the go bag is ready………


We recommend up to 6 weekly appointments up to your due date to prepare for labour. The treatments are aimed at:



  • Ripening of the cervix

  • Anxiety

  • Fatigue

  • Bloating

  • Achieve a more active labour

  • May prevent the need for an induction treatment


Treatment includes lessons in acupressure techniques for you and your partner to use during the birthing to reduce pain during labour. You will be shown where the points are, how to activate the point, how much pressure to apply and you will be given a work sheet to take home and practice with a follow up for any questions you may have.


Breech

Treatment for a breech presentation using moxa may commence from week 33 of gestation, ideally at week 34-35. The technique can also assist babies that are not in an optimal presentation prior to birth, such as a posterior position.
We do not perform a breech treatment if the pregnancy is twins, previous caesarean sections, raised blood pressure, bleeding during pregnancy or if the mothers blood group is Rhesus negative.


Induction

Acupuncture can provide a gentle inducement to labour if the baby is overdue and can be an effective alternative to a medical induction. Women that have premature rupture of membranes (PROM) can use this method to facilitate their birth and keep it normal.


We only use induction on health pregnancies, complications such as pre-eclampsia, kidney diseases, heart conditions, diabetes, any bleeding during pregnancy and previous caesarean sections will prevent us from performing an induction treatment. This does not preclude us from putting a different treatment together for you to give you a boost and reduce anxiety a gentle treatment can sometimes be enough to get things going.


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