How can acupuncture help you get pregnant?
My name is Geina Horton, I’m the acupuncturist for Advanced Reproductive Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that inserts ultra-thin needles into specific points in the body in order to regulate the way that the body functions. The number one reason that women get acupuncture during pregnancy or before IVF is to relieve stress. It also helps create a sense of calm so that women feel more comfortable going through all the emotional components of IVF and assisted reproductive medicine.
The medicines can cause all kinds of side effects: headaches, stress, digestive distress, things like that. Acupuncture can really help soothe some of the side effects that are happening.
Anxiety is probably one of the number one things that women experience when they’re going through IVF procedures and through assisted reproductive medicine procedures. The medicine can cause more anxiety, but the emotional component of wanting to have a child and having difficulty having that child creates a lot of anxiety. Acupuncture can calm the nervous system, create a sense of peace and make you feel centered and very grounded while you’re going through the procedures.
Acupuncture in the operating room
The University of Colorado is the only hospital in our region to offer acupuncture in the operating room. I am very honored to be the first acupuncturist to be credentialed to work in an OR.
We do a pre- and post-IVF acupuncture treatment for the patients in the actual operating room. It’s very exciting; we’re in the embryo lab and I get to interact with all the scientists and the medical students. Teaching them a little bit about Chinese medicine is very important to me, as well.
But the patient is the number one reason that we are all there, so they get to come in and relax and get comfortable with their surroundings. We get to give them a lot of love and it’s actually a lot of fun to be with people during this procedure. Their partners come back with us and we make it a really great environment. It’s not like the other operating rooms where surgeries are happening – it’s a loving, lively place back there.
After the embryo transfer happens, I take over again and do a second treatment. It lasts another 25 minutes. Both treatments are designed to relax a patient and to make them very, very comfortable with what is about to happen.
It’s a really big day for couples and it’s an honor to be back there and share the time with them where they’re getting ready to have a baby. I like to tell everyone when they leave, they’re leaving pregnant. Obviously, we have to wait a little bit of time, but it’s a really joyful day to be with people and to be able to create the space for them. By using acupuncture, it’s just really special.