Having a baby might seem like the most natural thing in the world, but for many couples this is simply not the reality. With our increasingly hectic, modern lives and many couples waiting until later in life to try and conceive, fertility issues are more common now than ever before.
You're eating all the right things, exercising regularly, monitoring your cycle and having sex at the right times. So why are you still not getting pregnant?
There are many reasons why a couple might have difficulty conceiving. These include ovulatory disorders such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), blocked or damaged fallopian tubes and reduced sperm count or quality.
However, in some cases, there is no obvious physical reason why a couple cannot conceive.
This diagnosis of ???unexplained infertility??? can be one of the most difficult to hear. With no apparent reason for not becoming pregnant, the only treatment options on offer may be IVF or IUI.
Undergoing these treatments is not only expensive, but also extremely stressful. Medication side effects coupled with the uncertainty of whether your treatment will even be successful, is a lot to deal with. Many couples are now turning to acupuncture to either support them through the process, or to try and achieve a natural pregnancy and avoid it altogether.
Acupuncture has been used in China and East Asia for thousands of years, and in the last century has spread to the rest of the world. One of the aims of acupuncture is to maintain a state of harmony within the body. It does this by influencing the nervous system, improving circulation and regulating hormonal balance.
According to acupuncture theory, the link between the body and the mind is vital to good health. Any emotional issues can easily lead to physical problems and vice versa. This theory is especially relevant to fertility.
Not being able to become pregnant can lead to feelings of anxiety, frustration, failure and confusion. These negative emotions have a knock on effect on the rest of the body, further reducing the chances of pregnancy and triggering a vicious cycle of stress and infertility.
When we are stressed, our bodies go into ???fight or flight??? mode. Our hearts beat faster and our blood vessels dilate increasing the flow of oxygen to the muscles. At the same time, other essential functions such as digestion and immunity are suppressed. This means we are ready to react more quickly to a potentially dangerous situation.
When this happens as a one off, our bodies quickly return to normal, and it does not cause long term problems. But when you are under this kind of pressure on a daily basis, symptoms begin to arise and can quickly get out of control.
Feeling constantly tired but unable to relax, palpitations, digestive issues, tense muscles and headaches are all signs that your body is under too much stress. Another symptom of stress is reduced fertility and loss of sex drive. Not what you want when you're trying to conceive!
Acupuncture combats this by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It also stimulates the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers and ???feel good??? chemicals. These work together to give you a feeling of calm and well-being, and can greatly reduce the anxiety associated with fertility issues.
Another way in which acupuncture helps fertility is by improving circulation to the reproductive organs and regulating the menstrual cycle. Whether you have been diagnosed with PCOS or just have an irregular cycle, not knowing when you are due to ovulate will make getting pregnant much harder.
Acupuncture views the body in quite a different way from western medicine. Western medicine is more concerned with individual symptoms, whereas acupuncture considers how a pattern of symptoms fit together, looking at the body as a whole.
Western medical tests for fertility focus on checking your reproductive organs for physical problems and monitoring your hormone levels. These tests might all show up as ???normal???, but you're still not getting pregnant.
An acupuncturist will look at not only the regularity of your cycle, but also the nature of your menstrual flow. They will also ask about any related symptoms such as pain, breast tenderness, headaches or PMS. They will then take a detailed medical history including past and present illnesses, and talk about how you actually feel about getting pregnant before making a diagnosis.
By looking at the body in this holistic way, they will be able to identify any subtle imbalances and work with you to correct them. They will also give you personalized diet and lifestyle advice to ensure that your body is in an optimum state of health and fully prepared for pregnancy.
Acupuncture is an holistic way to boost your chances of getting pregnant naturally or support you through IVF or IUI. It is safe and effective, and offers fertility support on both a physical and emotional level.