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Getting pregnant with her first child was difficult, but when Rebecca Killmeyer of Charlottesville, VA, experienced a miscarriage during her second pregnancy, she wasn't sure if she would ever have another baby. When she decided to enter a study testing the impact of acupuncture on women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) at the University of Virginia (UVA) Health System, she came out with a miracle.
"To our great surprise we were blessed with a third pregnancy during the PCOS study," said Killmeyer. "I'm absolutely certain the acupuncture treatments helped me ovulate regularly, which allowed me to become pregnant."
Lisa Pastore, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UVA Health System and principle researcher of the study, was hoping for results like this. Her goal has been to help women with PCOS have regular menstrual cycles. PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance, interfering with ovulation and ultimately, fertility. With several women in the study reporting pregnancies, Pastore believes acupuncture could be an important alternative, non-drug therapy for women with this disorder.
"During the last year we have seen women who never had a regular menstrual cycle start having regular periods. We can also boast several pregnancies since the study began," said Pastore. "Now we would like to recruit more people to the study in order to complete the study. It is important for research to have enough participants to ensure that the results are scientifically credible and not due to chance."
Scared and skeptical was how Killmeyer described her initial feelings towards the experimental treatment, but soon her worries gave way to relaxation. "When I saw those tiny little needles coming at me I thought to myself, 'I didn't sign up for this!,' but I tried it and after a few minutes I was asleep on the table," Killmeyer said. "The sessions were completely refreshing after awhile."