Dr. Andrea Cleaver, NDNaturopathic Doctor - Women
The fertility journey can be challenging.
How can naturopathic medicine help with fertility?
Naturopathic medicine can be beneficial, either on its own, or alongside treatments received at a fertility clinic.
Treatments are individualized to best match each person’s particular needs. Not only are treatments geared to help a couple become more fertile, but also to improve overall long-term health. Often a combination of acupuncture, herbs, and nutritional counselling is used.
Several clinical studies have shown that acupuncture can help improve pregnancy rates, including live birth rates with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intra-uterine insemination (IUI). It can also be beneficial for couples wanting to improve their chances of conceiving naturally.
How can treatments aid in addressing fertility concerns?
Naturopathic treatments can help:
- balance hormones (including thyroid hormones, high FSH levels),
- regulate the menstrual cycle,
- improve egg quality and uterine lining,
- help address fibroids/polyps, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS),
- reduce side-effects from fertility medications,
- increase blood flow to the pelvis (including ovaries and the uterus),
- reduce the risk of miscarriage,
- support a healthy pregnancy,
- and reduce overall stress levels.
Couples experiencing unexplained infertility can also benefit.
Treatments are not only for women. For men, acupuncture, in addition to other modalities, can help improve both sperm quality and quantity.
How often is acupuncture performed?
Individual requirements may vary. Treatments are focused on supporting the follicular, ovulatory and luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Acupuncture can also be performed before and after IUI or IVF. Specific herbs (considered safe to use alongside conventional treatments) can be taken on a daily basis to further support the process.
In pregnancy, acupuncture can be continued during the first trimester to help reduce the risk of miscarriage, to help manage nausea, tiredness as well as stress or anxiety. Acupuncture can also be used in late pregnancy to help reduce the risk of post-term labour.
Pre-conception advice can also be provided to those who are considering pregnancy in the near future.