Last year 300 Australian pregnant women were asked about acupuncture as a treatment for antenatal depression. 68% had already been using acupuncture & of them, a further 68% were using it specifically for pregnancy related symptoms. Overall 84% had a positive experience & were open to its possible inclusion in conventional care as a non-pharmaceutical alternative. Maternal depression & anxiety during pregnancy can affect the unborn child & has been associated with increased rates of obstetric complications, congenital malformations & possibly low birth weight. As well as the physical implications in utero, it may impact later cognitive, behavioral & physical development, as well as the child’s response to stress.
Acupuncture for antenatal depression
A 2018 systematic review of good quality research (24 RCTs) further supports the evidence showing acupuncture to be beneficial during IVF. Out of 5,807 patients, statistically significant improvements were seen in rates of embryo implantation, clinical pregnancies and live births, when compared with routine IVF care. Positive trends in these outcomes were also seen when acupuncture was given during the stimulation phase of an IVF cycle (FSH injections) and around egg retrieval, indicating its cumulative effect and dose dependent response.
2018 Review of Acupuncture & IVF
Together acupuncture, moxa & herbs improved the overall effectiveness of HRT for premature ovarian failure, by almost 20%. A 50% reduction in menopause symptoms, enhanced benefits to hormone levels (FSH, LH, E2), significant (more than 3x) thickening of endometrial lining and restoration of menstruation, were improved outcomes seen in a 2018 study out of the Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion.
Acupuncture, moxa & herbs for premature ovarian failure
Read why this maternal-foetal medicine specialist (high risk pregnancies) highly recommends acupuncture during fertility treatments. After including acupuncture in her own regimen, Dr Clark became pregnant with twins after 6 failed IVF cycles (including a donor egg cycle) & 2 failed embryo transfers.
Foetal medicine specialist & acupuncture for fertility
When pregnant, acupuncture after the due date can reduce your need for medical induction by almost 50%. A study from June 2018 followed 375 women who were overdue to give birth. Rates of medical induction were almost half for women who had acupuncture (20%) with lower rates of oxytocin infusion, compared to those who received routine care (38%). The acupuncture group had higher rates of spontaneous delivery (75% vs 53%) and delivered earlier than the control group.
Acupuncture in Postdate Pregnancy Management
A new observational study from New Zealand reports acupuncture & cupping provide clinically significant improvements in 89% of pregnancy related lumbopelvic pain (lower torso, lower back and pelvic girdle). Acupuncture & cupping are an effective alternative to commonly prescription drugs and over-the-counter analgesics that are not recommended during pregnancy.
Acupuncture & cupping for pregnancy lumbopelvic pain
Increasing protein in the diet is commonly recommended to improve fertility. We now know it’s safe to eat up to 12 eggs per week without any negative impacts on cardiovascular health, even for those with pre-diabetes & Type 2 diabetes! A recent study (2018) tracked 128 participants over a year on a high (12/week) or low (<2/week) egg diet & found no significant changes to cholesterol, blood sugar or blood pressure. Start scrambling!
12 eggs/week ok for health
Acupuncture is VERY effective at alleviating menstrual pain & can improve your quality of life! A small Australian randomised controlled trial (2017) showed a total of 12 acupuncture treatments over 3 menstrual cycles significantly reduce menstrual pain intensity and duration for up to 1 year.
Acupuncture significantly reduces menstrual pain
A recent (2018) systematic review concludes that diet during pregnancy & lactation impacts the baby’s developing immune system and may reduce the risk of allergy & autoimmune disease. Probiotic supplementation was likely to reduce childhood eczema and fish oil may lower egg allergy. A strong statistical correlation with positive benefit was seen in a number of cases but most importantly, there were no reported negative effects from taking these supplements during pregnancy.
Maternal diet may reduce baby’s risk to eczema and egg allergy
Acupuncture during IVF doubles pregnancy rates in 2016 London study
Homerton University Hospital in London carried out a clinical trial during 2014-2016 that included 160 infertile couples undergoing IVF. Half had 4 sessions of acupuncture during their IVF cycle while the other half did not have any acupuncture. After 18 months, pregnancy rates were 46.2% for the acupuncture group and 21.7% for the untreated group.