If you are thinking of going down the assisted route, you should look to prep your body for at least 3 months beforehand. Research has shown that a combination of acupuncture and herbs taken for 3 months prior to starting an IVF cycle significantly increases the pregnancy rate. If you cannot get access to Chinese herbs and only acupuncture, research has shown you should have at least 9 sessions of acupuncture before the embryo transfer. Improving your diet and lifestyle will greatly contribute to your success.
How often do I need to have acupuncture?
During an IVF cycle, it's vital to have acupuncture twice a week during follicle stimulation when the eggs are growing. On the day of the embryo transfer, when the fertilized embryos are put back in, research has shown it's ideal to have acupuncture directly before and straight after the transfer. That often means twice in one day, or late the previous night if the IVF clinic has booked the embryo transfer first thing in the morning. Once the embryo transfer is done, acupuncture should be continued until the day of the pregnancy test.
How long should I have acupuncture for?
If the pregnancy is via IVF or the couple have had repeated miscarriages after falling pregnant naturally, I recommend having acupuncture until at least 20 weeks. Again, this is the minimum length I would recommend. Having acupuncture throughout the whole pregnancy is ideal. Acupuncture can then be restarted at 35 weeks to help prepare the mother for labor.
If the couple experienced repeated IVF failures and have finally fallen pregnant using IVF, or have a low AMH, used a donor embryo or the woman is over the age of 40, I would recommend having acupuncture throughout the whole pregnancy. The woman will be often be weaker and the pregnancy precious, so every effort needs to be utilised to maintain the pregnancy.