Pregnancy is a special and joyful time in a woman's life. However the structural and hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy are accompanied by numerous physical and mental challenges.
In recent years we have seen an increase in the number of women who are turning to acupuncture for the relief and reduction of common pregnancy complaints. Acupuncture is becoming the treatment of choice for those looking for a more natural and drug-free approach.
Research has suggested that acupuncture promotes the circulation of blood in the pelvic cavity, enhances blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, and helps improve the quality of the uterine lining and function of the ovaries. It also regulates and balances hormone and immune function.
Additionally, the calming and relaxing effects of acupuncture can help to reduce the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with pregnancy.
Here are some of the problems that can be treated with acupuncture during pregnancy:
More than half of all pregnant women experience morning sickness. It is a condition that occurs naturally during the first trimester of pregnancy. Symptoms range from mild nausea to vomiting and can become quite debilitating.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine morning sickness is seen as disharmony among the organs, in particular the stomach, spleen and liver. The aim of acupuncture is to restore balance and correct the direction of energy flow. The practitioner will focus on regulating and balancing energy, harmonising the stomach and liver, and strengthening the digestive system.
Many studies have strongly indicated that acupuncture has a clinically useful effect in combatting morning sickness.
Acupuncture treatment is carried out twice in the first week, then followed up with a weekly session until symptoms resolve.
Correction of Malposition of fetus
Correction of malposition of fetus is one of the conditions listed by world organisation for which acupuncture has been proved through controlled trials to be an effective treatment.
It has been used by TCM practitioners for thousands of years and it is performed through using moxibustion to warm the acupuncture point Urinary Bladder 67, a very dynamic point that activates the uterus, increases foetal activity and encourages the baby to turn into the optimal cephalic position for birth. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, moxa has a tonifying and warming effect that promotes movement and activity. The movement may happen within one treatment, however normally several sessions of treatment are required for the baby to turn. Please click here for information on "Using moxibustion in primary healthcare to correct non-vertex presentation: a multicentre randomised controlled trial".
Induction of Labor
When a pregnant woman has reached her due date and nothing has happened, her midwife may suggest she try acupuncture to help kick start natural labour. Acupuncture helps to induce labour naturally through stimulating meridian points located on your hands, lower legs and feet. It facilitates labour in many ways, including promoting the descent of the baby to an optimal position, helping to ripen the cervix, removing blockages of energy, and stimulating uterus contractions. Whilst in some cases one treatment may be all that is required for labour induction, on average, between 2 to 5 sessions of treatment may be needed.
In addition, having acupuncture during the days leading up to labour improves your stamina, calms your mind and reduces anxiety and fear about labour and delivery. Research has found women receiving acupuncture in the last few weeks leading up to delivery had better outcomes during childbirth and spent less time in labour.
Other problems that acupuncture can help with during pregnancy
Musculoskeletal pains, headache, insomnia, mild pregnancy-related hypertension, constipation and more.