When parents determine they want to start or expand a family, they often seek certain methods to help expedite the conception process.

Acupuncture, relaxation therapies, and diet are touted as an alternative to costly medical treatments. But do they really work?

Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice that involves placing tiny needles into areas of the body, has served to treat some causes of infertility for centuries. In 2006, a study published in the journalFertility and Sterilityshowed that 36 percent of women who had acupuncture before and after embryo transfer during IVF got pregnant, versus 22 percent of those who didn’t have the treatment.

It’s hard to believe deep breathing and meditating can help aid in fertility, but the research is promising. According to a recent study done by Dr. Alice Domar from The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Waltham, Massachusetts, 52 percent of the women receiving IVF treatments and attending mind/body sessions involving breathing exercises and positive thinking were pregnant after two IVF cycles, versus just 20 percent of those who didn’t attend.

The phrase “you are what you eat” holds true even in fertility. Eating seafood before pregnancy is essential due to their rich omega-3 fatty acid content, which increase fertility. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that women trying to conceive can safely eat up to 12 ounces a week of low-mercury fish. Loading up on other vitamins such as iron and folic acid are a must. Of course, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables go along with readying the body for pregnancy. Even fathers-to-be should take a daily multivitamin that contains zinc and selenium for at least three months before conception. Limiting intake on alcohol and caffeine is advised for both parents for optimum results.

Would you consider trying one of these options?