Acupuncture in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when many women encounter  health issues. Hormonal changes combined with carrying the weight of another (albeit tiny) person inside you can lead to a variety of problems including:

  • Morning sickness
  • Lower back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Anaemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety or depression

Pregnancy is also a time when many women would prefer to avoid taking medication as much as possible. Certain drugs such as paracetamol and antibiotics are safe to take in moderation, but many other drugs can pose a risk to the unborn child.

So if you are expecting and looking for a natural, drug-free solution to your pregnancy-related symptoms, why not give acupuncture a try?

Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy?

Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy providing it is carried out by a qualified practitioner. There are certain acupuncture points which should be avoided or used with caution, so ask your acupuncturist about their experience working with pregnant women before you start treatment.

Acupuncture rarely causes adverse effects and when it does, they are usually not serious. Some of the most common side effects of acupuncture include:

  • Temporary pain at the needle site
  • Minor bleeding
  • ¬†Bruising
  • Tiredness or drowsiness
  • Headaches

Acupuncture for Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is one of the most common problems during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Morning sickness can actually happen at any time of day and causes nausea and vomiting which can range from mild to severe.

In very severe cases this is known as hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that causes frequent vomiting to the extent that the mother may have to be hospitalised to avoid serious dehydration.

If you are suffering from severe morning sickness and are unable to hold down any fluids or food, you should talk to your doctor immediately. However, if your morning sickness is mild to moderate, there is a good chance acupuncture could help.

Acupuncture for Pregnancy Pain

Lower back pain and pelvic pain are common issues during pregnancy, especially in the later stages as the fetus grows larger. Many women also suffer from headaches due to fluctuating hormone levels.

Research on acupuncture for lower back pain in pregnancy has shown that it can effectively relieve pain, sometimes by as much as 50%. It may also make it easier to perform everyday activities and reduce the need for painkillers such as paracetamol.

Acupuncture for Other Pregnancy-Related Conditions

There is little evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness in the treatment of other pregnancy-related conditions, but many women do find it helpful nonetheless.

Acupuncture is very relaxing, and may help if you feel nervous as your due date approaches. Some women even use acupuncture to induce labour if they go beyond their due date.

Moxibustion for Turning Breech Babies

Babies are often in a breech (bottom down) position throughout the second trimester of pregnancy, but usually turn to a cephalic (head down) position before labour. If the baby remains in a breech position, this can cause complications and a cesarean may be necessary.

Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese therapy which is traditionally used for turning breech babies. It involves warming a point on the little toe with a stick of moxa (a herb in the mugwort family) and is usually repeated over the course of several days. The treatment is most effective if carried out before week 37 of pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and would like to find out more about acupuncture and moxibustion, contact us for a chat and we will be happy to answer any questions.


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