6 questions about Acupuncture and IVF

People are often apprehensive and curious about needles – how on earth can they help you feel relaxed?  Here are the top 6 questions I get asked about Acupuncture and IVF by nearly every new patient.

1. How often do I need to come? If you follow my advice to start acupuncture 3 months before IVF, you are looking at every 2-3 weeks usually. If you leave it much later say 4 weeks beforehand – then every week.

2. How does it work?Acupuncture is thought to help with the stress response and promote blood flow specifically to the reproductive organs with certain acupuncture points. Other points are chosen that support you as an individual and take into account your physical, mental and emotional health. My patients also find that acupuncture is great at easing the headaches that sometimes accompany the IVF meds.

3. Will it hurt? Generally no! A few people are very sensitive (roughly 1/30) in which case I can use extra tiny needles and more acupressure. If still too sensitive I recommend Reflexology instead.

4. Do I need acupuncture before and after embryo transfer? Short answer NO! But yes I still do acupuncture after embryo transfer! A small trial (subsequently known as the Paulus protocol) looked at implantation rates with IVF comparing both with and without acupuncture at time of transfer. The implantation rates were significantly higher with the acupuncture group. However other trials have looked at other interventions; one notably involved a clown and getting patients to laugh. The implantation rates were higher in this clown watching group too. I take from this that doing something that brings you joy, happiness and relaxes you can possibly help. For my patients who love acupuncture we know it’s a good call for them to have it on the day of transfer as it’s a lovely end to the multitude of appointments the past 2 weeks. I also ask my patients to sing loudly and badly on the way to the IVF clinic and go for walks in nature afterwards. Anything that makes you giggle and happy is good in my opinion!

5. Are there any foods that can help me? I forgotten how many times I’ve been asked if pineapple will help implantation! Eating well in the 3 months beforehand is the most helpful. By eating well I mean regular meals at regular times. Snacking too if people are on the go all day. Eating plenty of low GI foods, complex carbohydrates, a variety of protein and vegetables. It’s not complicated! We all know really what a good diet looks like – but we often skip meals and pick sugary snacks as we suddenly crave some calories.

6. How much caffeine can I have? No coffee. No de-caff coffee – Sorry! Tea is fine in the morning. I’m interested in why someone would need to drink a lot of caffeine throughout the day. Usually it’s related to poor sleep or skipping breakfast and other meals.

To find out more about Acupuncture alongside IVF please arrange a time to speak with Kate by emailing me with your contact details and the best time of day to call you: kate_mcdougall@protonmail.com