Advice from Fertility Acupuncturist Hannah Pearn
Acupuncture is one of the most popular therapies used to support fertility. It is estimated that around 1 in 4 couples choose acupuncture to help them when trying to conceive. While having needles put in you might not sound relaxing, many people swear by the ongoing support, care and treatment from their practitioner.
I spoke to Hannah, leading fertility acupuncturist and educator who has spent ten years supporting people on their fertility journeys. She runs two busy clinics in South London and has a team of specialists dedicated to supporting fertility issues. At the same time, she campaigns for better fertility education and information through press, teaching, events, an online community and her podcast “Don’t Tell Me to RELAX”. In this interview, Hannah answers 5 popular questions about fertility acupuncture.
Over to Hannah…
How does acupuncture for fertility work?
Acupuncture has been scientifically proven to help regulate hormones, optimise the uterus environment by improving blood flow to it and reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with infertility.
How often should I have acupuncture for fertility?
Acupuncture is always tailored uniquely to each person who comes to clinic. Therefore, the frequency of treatment will vary depending on the individual’s reproductive health, stress levels, general health, etc. In some cases, we treat once a month, but mostly fortnightly or weekly. Acupuncture for IVF is timed alongside IVF protocols including egg collection, transfer and the two-week wait.
When’s the best time to start acupuncture for fertility?
We always recommend starting 3 to 6 months before you’re ready to conceive. This is because we need this amount of time to help make a positive change. We know it takes approximately 3 months for eggs to mature and develop within the ovary ready to be ovulated, and it’s about 60 days for sperm to mature. Therefore, change needs to be consistent during this time to have the maximum impact.
What should I expect in a session of acupuncture for fertility?
With us, the first session will take an hour and half and we will go through all aspects of your current health, lifestyle, and health history. We want lots of information about your digestion, sleep, emotional well-being, stress levels, work-life balance, exercise, menstrual cycle health, underlying health conditions, vaginal health, immune health, diet, medications, supplements………it’s a LOT! We do this because we want to look at all the areas that we know can influence health and therefore fertility. With this information we develop a unique plan tailored to you, which aims to address any areas where there might be issues. As well as the talking there is obviously the acupuncture, which usually lasts about 20 to 30 minutes and is a chance to relax, switch off and take time for yourself.
Where do I find a fertility acupuncturist?
Anyone can call themselves a fertility acupuncturist and it’s important that you work with someone who has experience and specialist training in this area. You want a practitioner that you connect well with but one that understands the complexities of both natural fertility support and assisted conception from a Western medicine perspective as well as a Chinese medicine perspective. There are several specialist groups out there. My team and I trained with or are currently training with the Fertility Support Company, and we are Advanced Level specialists. You’ll be in good hands with anyone with this qualification as 5 years’ experience is needed, and it’s one of the most rigorous and comprehensive training programmes in the UK.