How often do I need to come in for acupuncture?
This is a question that we hear more frequently than perhaps any other, and it's a terrific question! Before you begin any treatment plan, you want to know what kind of commitment you're going to have to make both in time and money. Often this question is answered with, "It all depends on your situation", which is very, very true, but here are some guidelines that should actually give you a little more to work with.
Generally speaking, if you are a woman trying to conceive, the most important times to have acupuncture are during the follicular phase - day 5, 6, 7 or 8 of your menstrual cycle (day 1 being the first day of heavy flow), the day of, day before or day after ovulation (as indicated by your LH surge), and during implantation time (6 - 10 days after ovulation). This works out to be approximately once a week except when you're menstruating, so most women should be receiving acupuncture treatments roughly three to four times per month.
If there is something more significant going on, like lining issues or follicle development, for example, your acupuncturist may want to see you twice a week until it is properly addressed. However, the majority of the women we treat fall into the once a week category.
If you are going through an IVF cycle, it's best if you can start acupuncture 6 to 8 weeks prior to transfer. The number of times to have acupuncture are the same as above, however, once you begin your stimulation medications you may be seen twice a week depending upon information gathered from your ultrasounds.
In an ideal world, we would like to begin seeing you 3 - 4 months prior to conception/transfer so that we can help with egg quality, work on any cycle or lining irregularities, address any nutritional concerns, and help reduce stress. However, acupuncture can still be helpful even if your IUI or transfer is just a few days away. If you are going through IVF, FET or DET we are also working to prepare you for your transfer.
Once you achieve pregnancy, we like to see you once a week through the first trimester to help uphold the pregnancy and assist with any morning sickness symptoms. During the second and third trimesters, you can have prenatal massages to help keep you nice and relaxed, and acupuncture can be used to help with other discomforts sometimes associated with pregnancy, like sciatica. Around week 34 - 36 of your pregnancy we begin seeing you once a week for pre-birth acupuncture.
Do you need to come twice a week? Probably not. Do you need to come once a week? It all depends on your particular situation (you knew I was going to say that, right?). If you are 4 months away from your IVF transfer, maybe you need to come every two weeks. If you're 60 days away, maybe once a week. If your lining is thin, maybe twice a week. It really and truly does depend on where you are in the process, what specific difficulties you are experiencing, and how you are responding to your treatments.