Creating Life: Acupuncture’s Role in Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth


The Struggle with Infertility

Infertility is a painful struggle that many women face. Despite actively trying to conceive for months or even years, some women find themselves unable to get pregnant. The inability to conceive when desired can cause significant distress, disappointment, and frustration. Many women feel their bodies have failed them when pregnancy eludes them.

Seeking medical help for infertility can be a long process full of tests, procedures, and often inconclusive results. The lack of clear answers adds to the emotional rollercoaster. Women struggling with infertility may feel isolated and alone, but it’s important to know this is a common challenge faced by many. There are options available to aid conception through both Western medicine and alternative approaches like acupuncture. With perseverance and the right help, conception is possible.

How Acupuncture Can Help

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine practice that has been used for thousands of years to treat many conditions, including infertility. One of the main ways acupuncture helps with fertility is by improving blood flow and circulation throughout the body.

When the needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points, it stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals that promote healing. This causes the muscles around the blood vessels to relax, allowing them to dilate and increase blood flow. More blood circulation delivers oxygen and nutrients to the reproductive organs, creating a better environment for an embryo to implant and grow.

Acupuncture also enhances microcirculation in the ovaries, improving the quality of eggs. For men, increased blood flow improves sperm health, motility, and count. Overall, the boost in circulation from acupuncture treatments provides better nourishment to the reproductive system, removing blockages, and optimizing its function.

Acupuncture Treats the Whole Body

Acupuncture takes a holistic approach to health and fertility, treating the whole body rather than just focusing on getting pregnant. Acupuncture aims to restore balance in the body’s energy flow or “qi.” When qi is balanced and flowing smoothly, the body is healthier and more receptive to conception and carrying a pregnancy.

Some common imbalances acupuncture can address include:

  • Hormonal issues like irregular cycles or ovulation problems
  • Uterine issues like fibroids or scar tissue
  • Poor blood flow to reproductive organs
  • High stress levels
  • Thyroid problems
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Inflammation or autoimmune issues
  • Digestive problems like IBS

An acupuncturist will assess all of these factors and more during an initial consultation. They will check pulse, look at tongue, feel abdomen, and ask questions about lifestyle and health history. The personalized treatment plan aims to address root causes of infertility while also boosting overall wellbeing.

Acupuncture helps rebalance hormones, improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, decrease stress, and mitigate the effects of conditions like PCOS or endometriosis. Even if the original goal is conception, the treatment works to create a healthy foundation. This means a body primed for not just getting pregnant but also having a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Case Study: Healing the Body First

Acupuncture takes a holistic approach to fertility by treating the whole body, not just the reproductive organs. This was the case for one of my patients, Sarah.

Sarah had been trying to conceive for over two years without success. She came to see me hoping acupuncture could finally help her get pregnant. However, after examining her body, I could tell there were some underlying issues that needed to be addressed first before she would be ready to carry a child.

Sarah had a lot of stagnant energy and blockages preventing proper circulation throughout her body. She also had weaknesses in her spleen and kidney systems, which are vital for fertility and pregnancy. I suggested we work on healing her body overall before focusing on conception.

After just a few acupuncture sessions, Sarah said she already felt more energized than she had in years. Over the next couple months, we continued to clear blockages and strengthen her internal organs. Once her body reached a state of balance, I knew she would now be able to nourish a growing baby.

Sure enough, after five months of treatment, Sarah became pregnant! She went on to have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a beautiful baby boy nine months later. This is just one example of how acupuncture restores wellbeing on many levels, creating the optimal environment for new life.

Acupuncture and Miscarriage Prevention

Acupuncture can be an effective way to help prevent miscarriage when used alongside conventional medical treatments. The goal of acupuncture is to promote a healthy and balanced environment for the fetus.

Acupuncture helps improve blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, providing important nutrients to the fetus. It also regulates hormones and reduces stress – two factors that can contribute to miscarriage when out of balance.

Several studies have shown acupuncture reduces the risk of miscarriage for women undergoing IVF treatment. In one study, women who received acupuncture had a significantly lower rate of miscarriage compared to women who did not receive acupuncture.

Acupuncture also helps strengthen the uterus and supporting muscles to better hold the weight of the growing fetus. By improving the health of the mother, acupuncture allows her body to properly nurture and support the fetus throughout pregnancy.

The calming nature of acupuncture can also help emotionally prepare a woman for pregnancy after previous miscarriages. Acupuncture helps reduce anxiety and build confidence in her body’s ability to carry the fetus to full term.

When combined with conventional medical care, acupuncture is a safe and effective way to help prevent miscarriage and promote a healthy pregnancy.

Breech Babies

It’s estimated that 3-4% of pregnancies result in a breech baby, meaning the baby is positioned feet or bottom down instead of head down as is optimal for delivery. This makes for a more complicated delivery.

Acupuncture can help turn breech babies into the proper head-down position by stimulating acupressure points that promote relaxation and balance in the uterus. Points along the bladder meridian as well as SP6 and LI4 are commonly used.

Moxibustion, or warming acupressure points with the herb mugwort, is also frequently used to turn breech babies. The warming therapy increases fetal activity and encourages the baby to reposition itself head down.

Multiple clinical trials have shown that moxibustion results in a 50-75% success rate in turning breech presentations. When combined with acupuncture, success rates can be even higher.

Acupuncture and moxibustion are safe, non-invasive ways to encourage a breech baby to turn before attempting medical procedures like external cephalic version or planning a cesarean delivery. It’s best to begin treatment between weeks 32-35 for optimal results.

Inducing Labor

Acupuncture can be used to help induce labor naturally and gently when the due date is approaching. The acupuncturist will stimulate points that can help ripen the cervix and encourage contractions. This is often combined with massage and other natural induction methods.

The goal is to help labor start on its own, avoiding more invasive medical interventions. Acupuncture and induction massage create changes in the body that mimic the natural process of labor. Contractions stimulated by acupuncture also tend to be more effective than contractions stimulated by IV medication.

Research shows that using acupuncture for labor induction can reduce the need for medical inductions. In one study, women who received acupuncture from week 36 of pregnancy until labor had a significantly lower rate of inductions compared to women who did not receive acupuncture.

Many women wish to avoid being induced medically if their labor does not start on its own. Acupuncture provides a gentle way to help start the process naturally. It works with the body rather than forcing it. For women hoping to avoid medical induction, acupuncture can be an excellent option to try first.


Acupuncture is Safe

Acupuncture is an extremely safe treatment option during pregnancy and when trying to conceive. The needles used are sterile, single-use, and disposable to eliminate any risk of infection. The needles are also very thin so there is little pain or discomfort associated with acupuncture treatments.

In the hands of a licensed acupuncturist, there are very few side effects. The most common side effect is a small bruise or bleeding where the needle was inserted. Some people report feeling relaxed, sleepy, or energized after a treatment.

Numerous studies have confirmed the safety of acupuncture for women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. There have been no reported increased risks of miscarriage, preterm labor, or other complications. Acupuncture points and needling techniques can be adjusted to be pregnancy-safe as well.

The World Health Organization endorses acupuncture as a safe, effective, and low-risk treatment option before and during pregnancy. Many doctors also recognize the benefits of acupuncture and will refer patients to licensed acupuncturists.

Overall, acupuncture is a drug-free way to help optimize your health when trying to conceive. The gentle stimulation of acupuncture points brings the body back into balance, correcting underlying issues that may be interfering with getting pregnant.

Additional Benefits

Acupuncture can provide many additional benefits during pregnancy beyond conception and delivery. Here are some of the top ways it can help:

Help with Morning Sickness

Morning sickness affects up to 80% of pregnant women. The exact cause is unknown, but acupuncture can help by relieving nausea and vomiting. It targets pressure points that calm the stomach and stop the triggers that lead to morning sickness. Multiple studies have found acupuncture significantly reduces nausea and vomiting compared to control groups.

Relief from Back Pain

Back pain is another common symptom during pregnancy as weight shifts forward and hormones loosen ligaments. Acupuncture increases blood flow, relaxes muscles, and activates pain-relieving endorphins. It also corrects imbalances that contribute to back pain. Studies show acupuncture provides effective back pain relief for pregnant women.

Easing Anxiety

Being pregnant can be an anxious time. Acupuncture promotes relaxation and serotonin production to ease anxiety. It also balances hormones that can contribute to mood swings. Research indicates acupuncture meaningfully reduces anxiety levels in pregnant women. The calming effects can be profound.

Acupuncture’s ability to address morning sickness, back pain, anxiety, and other symptoms makes pregnancy safer, healthier, and more comfortable. Seeking treatment from a licensed acupuncturist trained in pregnancy care is recommended.

Dr.Ac Yelena Grabko providing female reproductive care in  Edmonton

Being a master of Kiiko Matsumoto’s style of acupuncture, she is representing the culmination of centuries of Japanese acupuncture wisdom and innovation while advancing its methodology for the modern era in her daily clinical practice. Through masterful palpation and sensitive needling, Yelena Grabko is able to pinpoint and resolve underlying issues with minimal intervention. She encourages Patients to explore this dynamic modality, either as a complement to Western medicine or as a holistic system for self-care. Founded by Yelena Grabko, Live by Design Health Centre is dedicated to patient-centered care and gentle healing of body and soul.

For more information visit us at 

Acupuncture & Massage Therapy in Edmonton

To book your appointment contact us 

Contact us | Live by Design Health Centre in Edmonton


Call Now Button