Pregnancy is a time of extraordinary physical and emotional change. It’s also a time when it’s more important than ever to support and care for your well-being. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help you meet the unique challenges of pregnancy, ensuring optimal health for you and your baby in a safe and natural way, without the use of harmful medications.
What to expect: Acupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years to regulate the female reproductive system. Acupuncture and TCM are based on the concept that Qi, (pronounced “chee”) or vital energy, flows through the body in channels called meridians. Practitioners of acupuncture and TCM work to balance the Qi in the body’s meridian and organ systems by manipulating corresponding points on the body.
During pregnancy acupuncture can help with:
- Back pain and sciatica
- Breech birth
- Excessive lactation
- Insufficient lactation
- Labor and delivery pain
- Morning sickness
- Physical problems
- Postoperative healing
- Postpartum discharge
- Psychological problems
For a healthy pregnancy, treatment is often recommended once a month, with weekly treatments in the last month. However, your practitioner will tailor your treatment entirely to your needs and choose points based on your unique symptoms and concerns.
Since some acupuncture points should not be used during pregnancy, it’s important to choose a practitioner experienced in prenatal acupuncture. It’s also important to discuss any treatments or herbal supplements with all of your prenatal health care providers.
Relief for common concerns: Regular balancing treatments throughout your pregnancy can enhance your health as well as your baby’s health, potentially preventing complications and positively influencing the development of your baby. Many mothers-to-be find themselves facing anxiety, fatigue, back pain, heartburn, nausea, and other symptoms as a result of the many new demands being placed on their bodies. Acupuncture has been found to effectively relieve many of these symptoms. Morning sickness responds particularly well to acupuncture, and your practitioner can even show you specific points that you can massage at home to help restore your appetite. Recent studies have also shown promising results in using acupuncture for depression during and after pregnancy.
Breech babies and other issues: Acupuncture can also help with more serious issues during pregnancy. Specific acupuncture points and techniques are very useful for turning “breech babies” (those positioned feet-first). One study concluded that fetal malpresentation is a relatively simple, efficacious and inexpensive method for breech birth presentation.1 Treatment involves moxibustion, or applying heat from the burning of the herb mugwort to a point just outside the nail of the little toe. The treatment causes no adverse side effects.
If your due date has passed, acupuncture can also be used to induce labor through gentler means than traditional Western labor inducing treatments and medications. Acupuncture and acupressure can even be used to help control pain, calm the mind and reduce stress during delivery.
After baby has arrived: It’s important to recover properly after childbirth. Acupuncture can help you heal and regain your strength and vitality, rebalance your energy, boost your body’s defenses, and help address concerns such as pain, fatigue, and postpartum depression.
Acupuncture and TCM provide a safe, gentle way to nurture and care for your health, and that of your baby, throughout your pregnancy and beyond. If you are pregnant or considering having a baby, contact an acupuncturist today!
Acupuncture can support your health during your pregnancy by addressing these trimester symptoms:
- First trimester – Sets the foundation for a healthy pregnancy. It can alleviate morning sickness, vomiting, fatigue and headaches.
- Second trimester – Offers relief and balances the body from common complaints. It helps to alleviate heartburn, hemorrhoids, stress, f sleep problems, edema, |elevated blood pressure and weight gain.
- Third trimester – Prepares the body for labor and delivery. It helps to alleviate sciatica, hip, joint, pubic and back pain.
1 Acupuncture Conversion of Fetal Breech Presentation. D. Habek, et. al.Fetal Diagn Ther 2003; 18:418-421
Non-Stress Test Changes During Acupuncture Plus Moxibustion on BL67 Point in Breech Presentation. I. Neri, PhD., et al. Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, Vol. 9, No. 3,158-162 (2002)
Acupuncture during JVF improves pregnancy chances, http://www.healthnewstrack.com/health-news-271.html
Research Articles on Acupuncture and Pregnancy, http://pregnancy.health-info.org/research-acupuncture-pregnancy,.html©2008 Acupuncture Media Works