Acupuncture during pregnancy

When I worked at the Whittington Hospital Acupuncture Maternity Clinic, I was so amazed at the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture for a variety of conditions that occur during pregnancy.  Mums-to-be feeling the often immediate positive relief from pain whether pelvic, upper or lower back, migraines or headaches and each more often than not expressed appreciation for the improvement acupuncture made to their lives during this life altering experience.  There are a variety of conditions that can crop up during pregnancy which acupuncture can help... to name a few:

  • Morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum)
  • High / low blood pressure
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Tender breasts
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Back, leg and hip pain
  • Pelvic pain (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction)
  • Varicose veins

Acupuncture can turn breech babies

Acupuncture and moxibustion performed after 34 weeks gestation has been found to turn babies who are in breech position.  Moxibustion (applying heat using a moxa stick) to the nail bed of the little toe of both feet has a reported success rate of more than 80% (Ewies, Olah 2002 - BMJ).  It is a cheap, safe, painless and non-invasive method that produces effective results. 

Acupuncture and labour

Acupuncture to induce labour has been found to reduce pain experience, the length of birthing process and use of oxytocin during labour.  According to a randomized controlled trial study, acupuncture was found to augment labour, reduce the need for pharmacological intervention and provide a more normal delivery. (Gaudernack et al., 2011 – OAGS)  Based on my experience at the Whittington Hospital, mothers reported greater joy and ease of the birthing process when comparing labour with acupuncture treatment as apposed to without.

Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?

When treated by a qualified and experienced practitioner, acupuncture is safe to have during pregnancy. 

Acupuncture after the birth

Fatigue and exhaustion can often be experienced by mothers after labour.  Acupuncture and nutritional therapy can be very helpful in restoring energy levels during this precious time and to combat the ‘baby blues’.  Treatment can help with post-partum depression and mastitis.