Can Alternative Medicine Boost Fertility?
One couple out of seven in the UK experiences trouble conceiving. Some of them decide to turn to treatments such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization to help them to become pregnant.However, these methods can be rather pricey. As a result, many women are tempted to boost their fertility and increase their chances of having a baby by trying one or several alternative medicines. Sometimes these are used in place of a fertility treatment, other times, in conjunction with one. Advantages include the fact that they are more affordable and they also don’t involve taking any drugs. Acupuncture, yoga or hypnosis: do they really work and help to improve fertility?
AcupunctureAcupuncture, which involves inserting tiny, thin needles into specific parts of the body, is believed to stimulate the nervous system into releasing chemicals that help to relieve and heal pain. Where fertility is concerned, this Chinese medicine may increase blood flow to the ovaries, thereby stimulating hormones, regulating ovulation and facilitating implantation of the foetus. Acupuncture may also help to boost the male reproductive system.
Additionally, specialists have discovered that there is a connection between stress and infertility. Acupuncture helps to reduce stress and depression, which can, in fact, help reduce the need for drugs.This ancient technique helps women to feel more relaxed, which in turn improves their chances of conceiving. Undergoing fertility treatments can be exhausting and stressful. Acupuncture can help patients to relieve this stress a little, for example, when used in conjunction with IVF. Moreover, receiving acupuncture while trying in vitro fertilisation might even improve the treatment's success rate.
However, studies show different results and disagree on the efficacity of acupuncture therapy: some research suggests that this traditional Chinese practice improves women’s chances of having a baby, while others conclude that its effects are negligible.
YogaThere is no research supporting the fact that yoga can actually improve a woman’s fertility. However, yogic routines are proven to increase blood flow to the organs, in particular the ovaries, and this is believed to oxygenate the cells and improve the quality of the eggs.Additionally, just like acupuncture, yoga can reduce stress. As mentioned above, women who are under a lot of stress tend to have more difficulty conceiving. Yoga helps the body to release endorphins, a hormone that plays a role in reducing stress. It also contributes towards strengthening the immune system.
Practicing yoga regularly, in a group class or in your living-room via video, can make you feel more relaxed and lower your blood pressure. It’s also a good way of staying fit, which is important for a healthy pregnancy.
HerbsYou may have read about their many and varied benefits on the internet or in magazines. Some articles even claim that certain herbs may boost one's chances of conception. However, most specialists don’t recommend herbal supplements. In fact, some might even prove toxic and others can trigger allergies.Additionally, doctors are not sure if herbs interact well with other drugs. This could be problematic, for instance, if you’re undergoing a fertility treatment. There is not yet sufficient evidence to be sure which herbs are bad or good, and opinion is still divided concerning their effects on the body. If you are planning to take an herbal supplement, always consult your doctor first.
HypnosisHypnosis is known to help people quit smoking and other addictions, but can it also help women to get pregnant? A study published in 2006 showed that the chances of conceiving during IVF (more precisely during embryo implantation) whilst also receiving hypnotherapy, were twice as high as those of other patients who did not undergo hypnosis.
Nonetheless, there is not enough data to conclusively support this finding. Therefore, until more studies are undertaken in order to confirm its benefits on fertility, hypnosis should not be considered as a viable fertility treatment.
However, trying hypnotherapy does no harm whatsoever. On the contrary, it can help you to reduce anxiety by planting a positive suggestion in your mind.
Mind/Body Techniques.Mind/body techniques are another way of relieving stress. In fact, women who can’t get pregnant are often under a lot of stress and frustration, amongst other negative emotions. Although being relaxed is important when it comes to boosting conception, it can be difficult to stay calm when you’ve been trying for a baby for months.
Guided imagery, lifestyle modifications, journaling, meditation or deep breathing might help women who want a baby, whether they go through a fertility treatment or not. These techniques are the belief that mind and body are connected and that maintaining certain behaviours or thoughts can facilitate the conception process.
These methods are all great ways of managing stress, anxiety and other negative thoughts. Learning a few techniques and reproducing them at home or with a specialist can be very beneficial.