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Keeping embryo healthy?



I am new to treating with acupuncture, and would greatly appreciate some of your wise input.

My current human patient is a 35 year old woman who has been trying to conceive for many years now, and has failed to do so naturally or with IVF treatment. She recently came to me, and I have done some acupuncture to boost her fertility. The IVF treatment post our sessions has been successful, and she is now pregnant. Yet this is only the first week of her pregnancy.

She would like to continue seeing me, since they did warn her that her current pregnancy is of course not a sure sign that it will actually last.

I have looked up points in books and on various sources online (inluding on here), that help during pregnancy, but I mostly keep finding points that are related to miscarriage problems (UB, KD, SP, ST, GV, ). Or to some general points good for the genital area and uterus (ST, CV). All of these require her to have some sort of problem already, that I can identify and then choose the points based on that.

But the acupuncture I am looking for is the one that will prevent problems from starting.

I am familiar with points contraindicated during pregnancy.

Therefore, do you have any ideas which points are appropriate for her situation? She is basically healthy, has just conceived with IVF and is eager to keep the embryo developing healthily.

(Also, out of curiosity, which are your preferred fertility points: I was taught to use the abdominal conception vessel and stomach points, do you agree with that?)

Thank you very much for your time and effort,



As with any treatment if you simply treat what you see using the diagnostic framework inherent to TCM and forget about the western conditions you will be much better off. In other words, forget about the pregnancy (except for contraindicated points, techniques, etc.) and simply treat her overall imbalance - sp qi deficiency, kd yin deficiency, etc. whatever that is. Maintaining a pregnancy is done by simply strengthening the body, but what needs to be strengthened is different for each individual. By having a clear diagnostic picture of the patient overall you will be guided towards what to do. Certainly some of the protocols for avoiding miscarriage can be helpful but, again, only if they have relevant imbalances. An imbalance, however, isn&#39t an indicator of a subjective state of health - we all have them (i.e. we all have a pattern or two of identifiable imbalance). In other words her relative state of "health" is certainly no reason to not find applicable points. Using the pulse, tongue, palpation, etc. you can lightly maintain her strength throughout the pregnancy - but what you choose to do will be unique to that individual and her specific signs.

More specifically, personally I avoid the CV points entirely during pregnancy unless there is a very specific reason to use them. Some commonly used points that have broad functions and are generally safe and effective during the 1st trimester would be GV 20 (to lift and stabilize the fetus), ST 36 (tonify st/sp qi and blood overall), PC 6 (aid nausea), etc. A treatment could easily be those points, again depending on the overall diagnosis of the patient.


Thank you very much, I suppose one gets so used to constantly trying to manipulate the body and mind in such long pregnancy trials, that once the pregnancy happens it is instinctual to try to continue manipulating, instead of stepping back and just observing for a while. :)

I am assuming one lifts the foetus (GV20) by anterior insertion and tonification of the point?

Thanks again,



Yes, it&#39s is all too easy to both underthink and overthink acupuncture at times - some treatments really are quite simple and some complex patterns really require a fair amount of thought before you start treating... As for GV 20, yes, forward and tonifying would be correct. I wish her and her child the best!


Most of my practice is centred around fertility, pregnancy, labour and postnatal.

In pregnancy, the rule should be "if it ain&#39t broke, don&#39t fix it", although my medical colleagues sometimes forget that..... I agree with Chad, just treat what you see using Chinese medical diagnostics (whichever school you belong to), bearing in mind the contraindicated points. However, IVF often means a woman starts her pregnancy kidney deficient so, check those pulses and treat accordingly - ki3 is OK. I also avoid CV points, although the texts say they are safe above the fundus. There is little the woman herself can do to prevent (or stop) miscarriage, I&#39m afraid. If it&#39s going to stay, it will stay, is my experience.

I use a nutritional approach more than acupuncture and herbs in pregnancy, so encourage a Spleen-friendly diet, keep the blood sugar stable (especially in this 1st trimester), and increase folic acid intake.

What lovely news! It&#39s so rewarding to help people get pregnant, even if it means supporting interventions like IVF. Congratulations to you both.


To keep embryo health, the patient should keep good emotion without stimulate from outside, sleep good and rest good with good food nutrition. On acupuncture should less needles on each treatment, light needling on each treatment, more use tonify massage way instead of acupuncture.

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