Madonna and ChildIt is well known that acupuncture is a successful adjunct to fertility treatments. Less well known is that acupuncture and herbs are very effective in the treatment of infertility as stand alone treatments. Due to the difficulties inherent in the drug therapy necessary for Western fertility treatments, in many instances it is advisable to try acupuncture before investing in more invasive treatments.

A  complex system of blood, yin, and yang interdependency governs the ability to conceive. Certain meridians (energy pathways) travel through the uterus and connect it to supplies of energy and blood. By nourishing and/or balancing these meridians and systems a woman can greatly increase her chances of becoming pregnant.  Acupuncture and herbs are a safe and important step in this direction.

In younger (late twenties to mid-thirties) women who have no organic reason for infertility, but nonetheless have trouble conceiving,  I have seen a pattern which involves tension in the pulses.  Typically this younger woman has a stressful, very-consuming occupation which – in Oriental Medicine - effects both the kidneys and the liver.  Because the Kidneys govern primal impulses (fight or flight) as well as conception -  when under stress because of overwork and even exhaustion - a woman is much less likely to be able to conceive.  In it's wisdom, the body does not think the time is right to burden the system with a little one.

Excess damp or phlegm can also cause blockages which may prevent conception. This condition is also amenable to treatment and some dietary changes.

Childbirth Issues

Occasionally the little one is so snug in it's comfy home that she/he seemingly does not want to leave! In this case – and if your care provider is concerned – it is advisable to come in for treatment. I have had great success using  acupuncture  to help ease the little person out into the world without the use of  drugs or other western medical intervention.  And Mom is stronger and feels more empowered in the process.

Breech babies can also be coaxed to turn into the right position for delivery with acupuncture and moxabustion.  Trials have shown this to work about 75% of the time.  And while there is a “special point” to use in aiding this process, a holistic approach which means treating the Mother, not just the symptom, can address underlying issues for a win-win outcome for Mother and baby!

Nursing the Little One & Colic or Digestive Difficulties

Some women encounter problems with their milk supply:  acupuncture has a lot to offer, and can diagnose whether the problem is one of overall deficiency on the part of the mother (not enough Qi to produce enough milk), stress, or other issues.  I have had great success with helping women start their hungry little one on a happy path.  For those little ones with excessive colic or digestive problems,  opening or clearing a meridian or two can really help.  I generally do this without needles. Once the child is old enough to actually ingest solid food, there are also some excellent pediatric herbal formulas which can support the child's digestive process.

Postpartum Depression/”Baby Blues”

After carrying and birthing a baby, many women have issues of depression.  Frequently these feelings are both intermittent and short-lived, but around 10% have more serious, persistent depression.   When you think about it, the new mom's whole system has been turned topsy-turvy to serve the needs of the growing infant, and the best of everything has gone to help the baby thrive.  Oriental Medicine recognizes a series of imbalances which give rise to such conditions. Treatment can help the body/mind  return to normal more quickly so Mom can feel her best after all the work she has done to create the new little person, as well as keep up with the work to come.  Even if the condition is severe enough to warrant medication, the Oriental Medical practitioner can work in concert with mental health professionals to speed recovery.