Acupuncture Use in Pregnancy
Chinese medicine can help support you through this important time in your life—whether that is emotionally or physically, acupuncture can help with much more than just conception side of things. Now that you are pregnant it can help with morning sickness, nausea, aches and pains (low back pain, for example), anxiety preparation for birth, and insomnia, as well as preparing for labour!
Acupuncture offers you an alternative to taking medication and can help address discomforts often regarded as part of a ‘normal’ pregnancy that just have to be endured. While acupuncture is viewed by many as an ‘alternative’ medicine, it's use in pregnancy is widespread in certain countries such as Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand, where midwives undertake specialized acupuncture training.
The following list details the conditions that acupuncture has been used for;
1st trimester- Early pregnancy supportive care/ Nausea and vomiting/ Miscarriage/ Threatened miscarriage/
2nd trimester- Constipation and hemorrhoids/ Varicose veins and vulval varicosities/ Headaches and migraines/ Musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, pelvic and hip pain/ Fatigue and exhaustion/ Anxiety and depression/ Itching in pregnancy
3rd trimester- Hypertension disorders including Pregnancy-induced hypertension/ Gestational diabetes/ Breech and posterior positioned babies/ Pre-birth acupuncture to prepare the body for an efficient labour/ Preparation for a medical Induction (treatment 3 days prior)/ Acupressure for support people to use as pain relief during labour
Postpartum recovery- Energy, breastfeeding/milk production, after pains
This involves a series of four treatments (on average) weekly from 36 or 37 weeks to prepare for labour. Points are used according a woman's constitution and pregnancy story. This may include points used to assist in ripening the cervix, positioning the baby in the best presentation for labour and to promote optimal energy and stamina for women.
Research shows that acupuncture in the 4 weeks prior to labour can result in;
More effective labour
Shortened 1st stage of labour
Reduced induction rates
Reduced amounts of Oxytocin (when an induction is necessary)
Reduced epidural rates
Reduced number of emergency c-sections
Increased number of normal vaginal births
For further information on research involving prebirth acupuncture click here
Breech babies are ideally treated between 34 - 36 weeks gestation. This is often a one-off treatment with women being shown how to continue treatment at home with a moxa stick (a herb that has been shaped into a cigar like stick). The moxa stick is lit and held over specific places in the body to stimulate the acupuncture points.
For further information on research into using moxa therapy to treat breech presentations click here
Any mal-positioned babies (such as posterior) can be treated similarly to breech babies. Treatments for this issue are best addressed by/at 38 weeks gestation.