Chinese medicine and acupuncture offer you natural ways to increase fertility during the critical three to six months before conception. Our preconception program uses a blend of lifestyle counseling, mind-body techniques, herbal formulas, supplements and acupuncture to balance your hormones, improve your fertility, reduce stress and boost your overall health and well being.
Our preconception program is an option for women who simply want to boost their fertility naturally, for women that have been unsuccessful with IVF and want to try a natural alternative, or for women who want to ensure their body is in the best condition to conceive before trying IVF again. If you are trying to conceive naturally, or with medication or IUI, our recommendation is to have three treatments a month, two before ovulation, and one after. This helps focus the body’s attention and circulation on the reproductive organs, nourish follicular development, reduce stress and regulate the menstrual cycle. The expectation for spontaneous pregnancy to occur during the preconception program for natural fertility is within three to six months. If you are not pregnant in that time frame, your body will be at an optimal place for more aggressive medical treatment, like IVF. You will not only experience an improvement in your specific condition but better overall health and sense of wellbeing.
IVF Support — When to Use Chinese Medicine with IVF
For best results, acupuncture should be used before and during IVF. A recommended 6-8 weeks of weekly treatments in advance of your egg retrieval may maximize the benefits of acupuncture for use in conjunction with IVF. Your progress should also be monitored during the stimulation phase of your IVF. Continuing acupuncture after your embryo transfer is optional.
Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy in the hands of a highly skilled acupuncturist and can be used on an as-needed basis. If you have a history of Repeated Pregnancy Loss, it is recommended to continue treatment through the first trimester. For Frozen Embryo Transfers, many recommend four weekly treatments, with the last treatment on transfer day, if possible.
How Does Chinese Medicine help Improve IVF Success?
- It may increase blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the uterine lining.
- It may help improve circulation to the ovaries, nourishing the follicles as they mature.
- It may aid in preventing uterine contractions during embryo transfer.
- It relaxes the patient and helps reduce stress.
- It diminishes the side-effects of the IVF medications.
- It may improve male sperm factors.
Acupuncture involves inserting very fine, sterilized, single-use needles into specific points on the body that have been empirically proven in treating different disorders. It is not at all like getting a shot because acupuncture needles are not hollow and do not withdraw or inject any substances. The sensation one may feel with acupuncture ranges from nothing at all to a slight achiness, warmth or tingling in the area. Very often, one will fall asleep while the needles are working, providing total relaxation of body and mind. You can continue your usual daily activities after your treatment, such as work or exercise. There are very few side-effects from acupuncture, the most common being bruising at the site of needle insertion.
What to Expect
While receiving your acupuncture treatment, you will be lying down comfortably in a pleasant environment. Most people find acupuncture to be relaxing and may even fall asleep. Depending on your treatment plan, points will be selected on your arms, legs, head, ears, back or abdomen. You will be treated with respect and sensitivity. To help achieve maximum benefit from your treatment, it is suggested that you:
- Wear loose clothing
- Make sure and eat before your treatment, and avoid caffeine for three hours prior
- Relax and breathe
- Ask questions
- Refrain from strenuous activity
- Drink plenty of water and nourish yourself with fresh food
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Jerusha D. Stephens, LAc, FABORM
Jerusha is licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure and is a board certified Diplomat of Acupuncture and Herbology, nationally certified by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). She is presently Founder and President of the Mississippi Oriental Medicine Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to acupuncture advocacy. Her work with MOMA helped to usher in Mississippi’s inaugural Acupuncture Practice Act in 2009, which allowed for the licensure and regulation of the profession in her home state.
Jerusha has been studying and practicing Oriental Medicine since 1998. She graduated from the Academy of Oriental Medicine in Austin, Texas, in 2002, with a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine.
Jerusha is proud and honored to become the first licensed acupuncturist in Mississippi. She is a member of the Jackson Spine Society and became the only Mississippi acupuncturist to earn a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine, which distinguishes her as a specialist in helping men and women facing fertility issues with an integrative approach to their health, in 2010.
Jerusha currently resides in Florence, Mississippi, with her husband, two daughters (Delia, 8 and Lucinda 1) and their Australian Shepherd, cat and numerous dairy goats. She enjoys gardening, traveling, yoga, reading and nutritious, creative cooking in her spare time.