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Using Acupuncture for Pregnancy (Improving your chances of getting pregnant)

Using Acupuncture For Pregnancy (Improve chances of getting pregnant)

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It can be frustrating if you have been trying for a baby and things aren’t working out. You start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you or your partner, and this stress can affect your relationship as well. You may have tried using tips from friends and family members, but none of them seem to be working. 

A lot of people in this situation resort to In vitro fertilization. Should you really do that, though? The process of IVF is known to have a number of dangerous complications, such as multiple births, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and ectopic pregnancy. 

Before trying IVF, you should seriously consider acupuncture as a safer, more natural way to boost your chances of getting pregnant. In today’s article, we will explore how acupuncture can help with pregnancy.

The Fascinating History of Acupuncture

It is common knowledge that acupuncture is an ancient healing practice that originated in China. However, you may have never bothered to delve deep into what acupuncture is all about. Let’s look at some of the fundamental ideas behind this practice. 

Acupuncture dates all the way back to 206 BCE, when it was first talked about in “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine”. It is a fascinating book that, among other aspects, provides information on the different channels of energy (meridians) in the body. 

Though modern science has been resistant to recognizing acupuncture, it has been used throughout history with some surprising results. The concubine of the Han Emperor, “Cao Cao,” faced severe headaches that no remedy seemed to cure. The famous physician Hua Tuo was able to cure her symptoms with acupuncture needles successfully. 

In the 1970s, a New York Times journalist by the name of James Reston wrote about his experience in China. Reston was accompanying President Nixon on his famous trip to China when he needed to have an emergency appendectomy. The pain was apparently severe, and one of the doctors recommended acupuncture.

To Reston’s surprise, the treatment managed to significant;y reduce his pain and discomfort. His entire experience was published in the New York Times on July 26, 1971, under the title “Now, About My Operation in Peking”.

The description of this exotic Eastern medicine from a journalist in a credible newspaper sparked a lot of interest. In fact, Reston’s article is often credited with the popularization of acupuncture in the West as a pain relief method. 

How Does Acupuncture Help With Reproductive Health?

If you were to look up studies on the internet about acupuncture and pregnancy, the results might disappoint you. Websites like MedicalNewsToday cite a number of studies that found negligible benefits when it comes to improving the chances of pregnancy. 

However, you should be aware that many of these studies approach acupuncture, an Eastern style of medicine, with a Western understanding. Taken at face value, it is easy to conclude that the process is a waste of time. 

This is not entirely true, though. If you were to research some of the reasons that make achieving pregnancy difficult, stress is one of the factors that is often the culprit. This is where acupuncture can help out tremendously. The biggest benefit that acupuncture provides is a huge reduction in stress levels. 

It achieves this through the stimulation of endorphins, our body’s natural painkiller and mood elevator. Acupuncture is also believed to influence your autonomic nervous system, which regulates the involuntary functions of your body. This includes aspects like blood pressure, heart rate, and more. 

Another way that acupuncture is said to help with pregnancy is that it is shown to regulate hormone levels, improve ovulation and, thereby, improve the likelihood of conception.

Acupuncture has been used for millennia in Chinese medicine to help with fertility and involves the careful insertion of thin needles into specific zones in your body. 

While Western medicine is often skeptical, there are numerous anecdotes of people who have had success with it. In addition, due to its stress-relieving abilities, it is unsurprising that those who undergo the process claim to have had success in conceiving. 

Acupuncture is also known to help with regulating hormone levels, improve ovulation and thereby improve the likelihood of conception.

Low Fertility Rates: A Looming Threat in Many States

In recent times, many states have experienced a decline in fertility rates. According to data from the CDC, states like North Carolina saw a -14.9%. States like Colorado and Arizona experienced the biggest drop in fertility at -25.1% and -31.1%, respectively. Capitalizing on this fact, there has been a rise in the number of services offering acupuncture in Charlotte, NC.

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

A lot of people are hesitant when to try out the procedure when they hear that needles are involved. According to Inner Peace Acupuncture, a clinic based in Charlotte, NC, a common worry is that the needles might feel like hypodermic injections. Thankfully, acupuncture needles are hair-thin and flexible. You probably won’t even feel them being inserted.

The experience can be surprisingly pleasant for most people, contrary to their expectations. Of course, your experience heavily depends on the skill of the person and how much training they have had. With less experienced acupuncturists, you might initially experience a “little jolt,” as some people claim. 

People who undergo the procedure to deal with pain often claim to experience almost immediate relief. A lot of pregnant women also find acupuncture to be a cathartic experience. This is because it helps with many of the symptoms and changes that come with pregnancy. These symptoms include headaches, insomnia, pain, and even depression. 

In some studies, a reduction in antepartum-depression symptoms was found after only eight to twelve sessions of acupuncture.

Acupuncture Also Helps Pregnant Women Find Comfort

Every mother can attest to the fact going through nine months of pregnancy is not always a smooth ride. From back pain to nausea, the number of side effects can be overwhelming.  A meta-analysis that looked at acupuncture and its effect on low back / pelvic pain found that significant pain relief was possible during pregnancy. 

Published in BMJ Journals, the systematic review by Yang et al. concluded that acupuncture also had another positive benefit. There were no observable severe side effects on the newborns.

Other studies show that acupuncture has many more benefits in store for pregnant mothers. Here are some of them:

  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Swelling
  • Stress

Acupuncture as a Means of Inducing Labor

Yet another ability of acupuncture is that it is sometimes used to induce labor. This is often the case when a mother has passed her due date and needs external assistance to give birth. 

In this context, acupuncture needles are inserted in slightly different spots than usual to induce labor. They are located on your hands, feet, and lower back and are supposedly areas that stimulate contractions and cervical ripening. In addition to the needles, these spots may also be stimulated with mild electric currents and heat. 

It is difficult to find studies that validate its effectiveness. According to a paper published by Western Sydney University, acupuncture is often attempted to induce labor because medical methods pose significant side effects. Many midwives are known to be trained in the skill of Acupuncture. To what extent it is beneficial remains to be seen.

Safety Factors and What You Should Be Aware of Before Trying Acupuncture

For the most part, acupuncture is a safe procedure when conducted by a licensed and experienced acupuncturist. However, as with anything that relates to one’s health, there can be some health and safety concerns to keep in mind. With regard to pregnant women and women trying to conceive, there are a few factors you should know about before trying acupuncture. 

The Proper Timing: If you are a mother trying to conceive, you should inform your acupuncturist about where you are in your menstrual cycle. This is because some acupuncture points should be avoided during certain phases of your cycle. 

Similarly, if you are close to your due date, you should be avoiding needles in your lower abdomen and lower back. This is because they can stimulate contractions, and unless you get the go-ahead from your physician, it is best to avoid such areas. 

Blood Thinning Medication Complications: If you are taking blood thinning medications, you should keep in mind that acupuncture needles may cause you to bleed more than normal. This is why you should disclose any medication you are on with both your regular physician as well as your acupuncturist before trying the procedure. 

Hygiene: This goes without saying, but your acupuncturist should maintain the highest standards of hygiene. They should be using fresh needles that are properly sterilized. A lapse in hygiene standards can cause serious infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, and other blood-borne illnesses.


Stress is common when you are trying for a baby and not having success. Many studies dismiss the claim that acupuncture for infertility can work or even aid in conception due to the lack of direct evidence. 

However, the benefits from acupuncture take time to manifest. Moreover, the marked reduction in stress is often all that is needed to help remove a major factor that was hindering pregnancy in many cases.  

Acupuncture has a long history with strong anecdotal support regarding its effectiveness. It has a variety of uses that extend beyond stress relief and has been known to reduce pain significantly. This is one of those therapies that is best tried out personally, as the experience varies from person to person.

Joshua Bartlett
Joshua Bartlett

My name is Joshua Bartlett I run this blog with my wife Jarah. We have more than 11 years of parenting experience including three girls and one boy. I started this blog in late 2018 when I realized that I was dealing with baby-related issues on a constant basis…please read more about me here!

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