Shelby VanCleve, L.Ac. and Holly Macias, L.Ac. of Common Ground Wellness take a special interest in treating fertility. They are two of only four acupuncturists in the State of Kentucky to be a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (aborm.org). They are the only fertility acupuncture specialists in Louisville. They have established relationships with many of the IVF clinics in Louisville and Cincinnati, who refer to them often to assist in increasing live birth rates for patients undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technology procedures.
- To get started, look at our schedule online or call the office to set up your Initial Fertility Visit. After you schedule your appointment, you will get a link to complete the Fertility Health History; we encourage you to fill this out as completely as possible. You are welcome to provide us with any pertinent lab results or medical records.
- During your initial two-hour appointment, we will do a detailed review of your fertility journey in addition to all aspects of your health and wellness. For example, we will talk about your health as a child, your mother’s health when she was pregnant with you, any health concerns you have had leading up to this point, as well as all current symptoms including digestion, pain, mental health, sleep habits, energy levels, exercise, lifestyle, etc. You will get your first acupuncture treatment during this visit as well.
- In between your initial and your first follow-up, we will work to develop a treatment plan for you. This treatment plan will pinpoint exactly what you are seeking help with, what we think may be going on in both Western and Eastern medical terms, and make recommendations in terms of diet, lifestyle, herbs/supplements, self-care, additional diagnostic workups (such as lab work or Western medical testing), and referrals within the community we think would be most helpful for your journey.
- During your first follow-up, we will spend 90 minutes together to go over the details of your treatment plan, answer any questions, and proceed with your acupuncture treatments. You will leave that appointment with a detailed plan, links to reputable supplement sources, and an understanding of your treatment protocol including frequency and length. Fertility Optimization usually starts with three months of weekly treatments, but this may look different depending on where you are at in your fertility journey and the complexity of your case.
- All subsequent follow-ups are one hour in length and are primarily focused on the execution of the treatment plan, tracking symptom progress, answering questions, providing emotional support, and administering effective acupuncture protocols for fertility enhancement.
I recommend beginning treatment as far in advance of your IVF procedure as possible, with at least three months being the ideal. This allows us time to prepare your body to produce the best quality eggs and uterine lining. Weekly treatments are often indicated, but twice weekly may be necessary for ladies with impeded blood circulation to the uterus and ovaries, those over the ago of 35, or during the stimulation phase of your IVF cycle.
If you are not planning for IVF but want assistance with getting pregnant naturally, we like to allow about three to six months of treatment. I ask that you track your cycle using a BBT thermometer and bring your charts in to each treatment for analysis. We will discuss diet and lifestyle components to aid in your ability to conceive, and you will likely be advised to begin an herbal regimen that changes depending where you are in your menstrual cycle. When necessary, you will be referred to a local Reproductive Endocrinologist for a fertility work up or additional testing.
I will be here for you every step of the way and provide a helpful resource when navigating the confusing information you receive both from your own research and from your doctors. My fertility clients have been very pleased with the support they receive here at Common Ground. –Shelby VanCleve, L.A.C.
The treatment of infertility with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dates back 2,000 years. These ancient, time-tested techniques improve fertility rates and support a woman’s whole body, unlocking greater potential for health, healing, and childbearing. The recommendations you receive and the changes that you make to promote your fertility have numerous health benefits, beyond childbearing.
JUST THE FACTS
In a 2007 study, researchers found that acupuncture may improve the quality of life in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). Stress and anxiety is a predominate complaint in woman struggling with fertility and acupuncture excels at promoting a greater sense of ease and well being. It was also found that women receiving acupuncture reported significantly less abdominal pain, other pain, nausea, and stress two hours after egg retrieval compared to women receiving conventional analgesia.
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York reviewed recent studies and concluded that acupuncture helps to:
- Increase blood flow to the uterus, which improves the chances of an embryo implanting on the uterine wall
- Reduce anxiety and stress. The hormones that are secreted during stressful situations can significantly decrease fertility.
- Normalize hormone and endocrine systems that regulate ovulation, especially in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Positively affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, which plays a key role in fertility.
- Regulate the menstrual cycle.
For an extensive look at the research on acupuncture for fertility, go here.
In 2008, the British Medical Journal published research, which concluded that acupuncture can be offered as a significant, clinically relevant adjunct to IVF, relaxing the uterus and increasing blood flow for the successful implantation of an embryo within the uterine lining.
Acupuncture and TCM provide a safe, effective, drug-free, and natural approach to treating infertility and enjoying a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few reasons to try acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine:
- Acupuncture does not treat just signs and symptoms but instead activates the body’s natural healing potential be treating the root causes that have lead to the problem or disease.
- Acupuncture and TCM are completely natural. Drugs are never used.
- Acupuncture and TCM can be used to strengthen, support, and balance overall health and well-being, therefore can increase the effectiveness of other procedures.
Also consider acupuncture during your pregnancy and birth. According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture has been found useful for relieving labor pain, nausea, vomiting, and significantly reducing the duration of labor.
Recommended Books on Fertility
- Pathways to Pregnancy: Personal Stories and Practical Advice for Your Fertility Journey by Mary Wong, R.TCMp, R.Ac.
Conceiving with Love: A Whole-Body Approach to Creating Intimacy, Reigniting Passion, and Increasing Fertility by Denise Wiesner, L.Ac.
- Feed Your Fertility by Emily Bartlett, L.Ac. and Laura Erlich, L.Ac.
Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility by Sami D. David, MD and Jill Blakeway L.Ac.
- The Infertility Cure and The Way of the Fertile Soul: Ten Ancient Chinese Secrets to Tap into a Woman’s Creative Potential by Randine Lewis, Ph.D. L.Ac.
8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS: A Proven Program to Reset Your Hormones, Repair Your Metabolism, and Restore Your Fertility by Fiona McCulloch, ND
Fertility Fuel: Create Your Family Without Losing Your Mind, Your Marriage, or Your Money by Susan Schiff, DOM
The Tao of Fertility: A Healing Chinese Medicine Program to Prepare Body, Mind, and Spirit for New Life by Daoshing Ni, DOM, L.Ac., Ph.D.
It Starts with the Egg (Second Edition): How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF by Rebecca Fett
Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health by Toni Weschler, MPH
I highly recommend seeing Shelby if you are at all struggling with fertility — the acupuncture treatments are great and extremely helpful, but beyond that she has great advice, excellent book suggestions, and she can really guide you through the process in a calm and positive manner which I couldn’t find anywhere else or from anyone else. I could go on and on. I always leave with peace of mind and can’t wait for my next appointment!
I can’t recommend this place enough! I never had acupuncture before and Shelby made me feel completely at ease. She is so incredibly thorough and knowledgable in everything she does. She helped me regulate my cycles and I got pregnant in just a couple months. So thankful I found her!
I first came to acupuncture after my fertility doctor recommended it. It definitely helped me with my stress and I can honestly say I have never felt as relaxed as I do after acupuncture. A few months after I started acupuncture, I got pregnant! I definitely think the acupuncture helped and would recommend it for others dealing with the stress of fertility issues. Shelby the acupuncturist is great! She is such a kind soul and makes you feel very comfortable.