Bethesda Fertility Center Resource:
Dr. Kathleen O’Donnell discusses acupuncture for fertility treatment
Kathleen O’Donnell, L.OM., MSOM Dipl.OM, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM), is an Ohio-licensed acupuncturist who has been practicing for eight years
As part of the Bethesda family of care, Dr. O’Donnell works with Bethesda Fertility Center patients to achieve full-body wellness. Using traditional Chinese medicine to support natural healing, she addresses the emotional, mental, and physical aspects of reproductive care.
Learn what acupuncture is and how it can help balance the body to best support fertility.
What is acupuncture?
An ancient practice with more than 3,000 years of history, acupuncture involves inserting half-inch, very fine needles at specific points in the body to facilitate balance and healing. It is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine and is a growing treatment for overall wellness, including stress management. The gentle, time-honoring technique stimulates the body and mind to help heal themselves and regulate the nervous system.
Common conditions addressed through acupuncture include anxiety, depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), migraines and headaches, nausea during pregnancy and much more, according to Mayo Clinic.
How can acupuncture impact fertility?
Dr. O’Donnell shares that there are several ways acupuncture can help with fertility issues:
- Help balance reproductive hormones
- Assist in regulating blood flow
- Regulate the parasympathetic nervous system
- Help your body to relax on its own
- Increase the quality of sleep
- Mitigate some side effects of fertility medications
Having been through a fertility journey herself, Dr. O’Donnell has a deep, personal understanding of the heavy toll women face when trying to conceive. In her sessions, she creates an open and honest environment for people to share their experiences and feelings, often locating where those emotions manifest in the body as physical symptoms.
What to expect if acupuncture is used during infertility treatment:
Dr. O’Donnell treats each patient with a customized approach, focusing first and foremost on maximizing the level of comfort for each patient. She follows the rule “Your body, your treatment” and only does what is safe, comfortable and effective for the person at the time of treatment.
Typically, patients receive at least five treatments, spending the majority of the first treatment getting familiar with the practice before moving on to address specific concerns. To help patients get comfortable, Dr. O’Donnell has a heated bed and foot warmers. One interesting thing to note, says Dr. O’Donnell, is that traditional Chinese medicine connects having warm feet to maintaining a warm uterus, which is central to supporting optimal fertility.
Does acupuncture hurt?
During treatment, patients may feel mild fleeting pinches. Any further discomfort is addressed immediately and resolved.
What can someone expect after treatments?
- Increased Relaxation
- Greater sense of well-being
- Improved sleep quality
Dr. O’Donnell says that often her patients describe a feeling of relaxed heaviness directly after treatment. She says it’s not unusual to have patients drift off to sleep during the rest period of treatment.
Better sleep, connectedness to the body and a better mindset to process emotions are some of the benefits that Dr. O’Donnell sees most frequently.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Dr. O’Donnell practices at the TriHealth Women’s Mental Wellness Center, conveniently located near the Bethesda Fertility Center. To schedule an appointment with Dr. O’Donnell—or any of the care providers at TriHealth Women’s Mental Wellness Center—call (513) 862-2920.