Traditional Chinese Medicine & Fertility – Traditional Chinese medicine’s relationship with enhancing fertility is a growing topic, as more couples are looking for supportive and natural ways to help facilitate a successful pregnancy. Trying to conceive with fruitless results can be devastating for couples. Fertility clinics offer treatments such as IVF, IUI, and hormone therapy, but these may not be a choice for everyone due to reasons such as expense and risk factors of the procedures. Fortunately, there are other options. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses modalities such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and moxibustion to help boost fertility safely and effectively.
One important way Chinese medicine supports fertility is its known ability to relieve stress. Stress can interfere with the blood flow to our reproductive organs and even impede healthy ovulation, so keeping a low stress level is important while trying to conceive. Acupuncture promotes relaxation and will increase blood flow to the uterus. The use of acupuncture and herbs can also stimulate healthy follicular growth, support stronger implantation, and help restore hormonal balance.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, the quality of the woman’s menstrual cycle is essential in promoting fertility. Irregularities in the cycle are addressed so we can regulate imbalances and improve the chances for pregnancy. For example, the use of herbs can help induce ovulation at the right time of a woman’s cycle, or move qi and blood for those with endometriosis or fallopian tube blockages. In addition to herbs, nutritional suggestions are given to tonify (nourish) the woman’s body and prepare the womb and uterine lining for successful implantation. Chinese medicine can even help hold pregnancies for women who have suffered frequent miscarriages, and later support the woman during her pregnancy by addressing common issues such as digestive problems, nausea, and back pain. Likewise, the male partner can be successfully treated if he needs support.
Although newer to the Western cultures, Chinese medicine has been successfully treating infertility with acupuncture and herbs for over 2,000 years. Current research studies have agreed that TCM can aid in successful pregnancy. In 2011, a systematic review that included 30 independent studies indicated that, “Management of female infertility with Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4 month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF.”
There is a classical Chinese saying that indicates when a woman has difficulty getting pregnant her heart has a hidden song. Many couples that have had difficulty conceiving can relate to this poetic imagery. Whether it’s the female or male partner that needs fertility support, a practitioner of Chinese medicine can help give hope to those trying to achieve a successful pregnancy.
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