Acupuncture and pregnancy: Providing safe, gentle, and profound relief during pregnancy
Acupuncture is thousands of years old and uses complex and detailed diagnostic standards to effectively treat many different conditions and complications associated with pregnancy, labor, and post-partum. Some women are hesitant to try acupuncture during pregnancy, specifically the early stages of pregnancy. The first trimester is a dichotomy: as it is filled with elation and joy and is also an unnerving and fragile time for expecting moms.
Regular acupuncture during pregnancy sets the foundation for a healthy mother and baby. In addition, women who receive acupuncture during pregnancy often have a shorter and easier birth experience than women who don’t receive acupuncture. Several European studies concluded that women who received acupuncture once a week during the last month of pregnancy had significantly shorter labors than women who did not receive any acupuncture.
Choosing an acupuncturist
When choosing an acupuncturist during pregnancy, find an acupuncturist that has specific expertise in pregnancy care. Fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum care require unique TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) knowledge and or education. There are many acupuncture points/Chinese herbs that are to be avoided during pregnancy and it is wise to choose a practitioner that is well versed in this type of care.
What acupuncture can do for you during pregnancy
Acupuncture has the most optimal results when the patient receives treatments on a regular basis throughout pregnancy. Acupuncture works very effectively on acute conditions, but is most effective when it has the opportunity to prevent illness, pain or discomfort. This is especially true during pregnancy. Regular maintenance through acupuncture can help alleviate problems as women go through the various stages of pregnancy.
Acupuncture can be very effective at treating and managing conditions such as:
- nausea, vomiting, and hyperemesis gravidarum
- low energy
- back pain and sciatica
- symphysis pubis pain
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- gestational diabetes
- high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia)
- PUPPs & other pregnancy-related skin conditions
- certain types of threatened miscarriage
- breech presentation
- posterior presentation
- pre-term labor
- delayed labor
- labor pain
- lactation problems
- postpartum depression
General Treatment Plan for Pregnancy
Acupuncture and TCM provide specific treatments for each of the three trimesters of pregnancy: The first trimester sets the foundation for a healthy pregnancy, reduces nausea and assists with prevention of miscarriage. The second trimester tends to be the easiest for most women, but acupuncture can help to maintain balance in the body and offer relief from common complaints such as pain, heartburn, and constipation etc. The last trimester is a time when acupuncturists work to prepare the body for labor and delivery, reduce stress and anxiety, increase good quality sleep and help prevent preeclampsia and other conditions associated with the end of pregnancy.
Why Chose Acupuncture as a Conjunctive Therapy during Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a sacred and reflective time, as women are striving to be their absolute healthiest for the wellbeing of their baby and to allow for the most blissful prenatal experience. If we are able be care for and nurture ourselves as mothers to be, we will be increasing able to be present to the needs of our babies and families at large.
Pregnancy is a time when women deserve to feel jubilant and literally full of life! Acupuncture works effectively on the mind body connection, providing mental and physical relief for the mother and baby. It can provide a time of solitude, expression, deep relaxation, understanding, comfort, and vibrant health.
Article Written By:
Shannon Gyles MSOM
(Featured in Natures Pathways)
Acupuncture & Fertility pamphlet from Acupuncture Media Works, LLC, (2005).
Acupuncture: Review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials. World Health Organization, Geneva, 2002. www.who.int/medicines