Acupuncture is an ancient and traditional medicine which has been established for over 2,500 years. Acupuncture has been shown to be very safe during pregnancy and is particularly popular at a time when many women begin to shy away from strong pharmaceuticals. Many patients see a positive physiological response to acupuncture though interestingly, women also report benefits to their emotional health following a course of treatment. Treatments are often identified as a time in which they are able to switch off from the modern day world and connect with both the experience of pregnancy and also their blossoming relationship with their baby.
How can it help pregnant women?
Research and anecdotal evidence has shown that acupuncture is particularly effective in relieving the following pregnancy symptoms:
- morning sickness and nausea
- maintaining a stable mood and relieving anxiety
- boosting energy levels
- regulating blood pressure
- piles and varicose veins
- migraine and headaches
- back and pelvic discomfort
- moxibustion to turn breeched babies
Can you use acupuncture during labour?
Yes! Where appropriate it can even be used to encourage the onset of labour in pregnancies that go past term (40 weeks). It is important in these cases to see acupuncture as part of the holistic process of birth and it must also be discussed with other members of the multidisciplinary team who are supporting the mother during her pregnancy and birth. Acupuncture encourages the release of prostaglandins (which may begin to soften the cervix) and oxytocin (which is the hormone that drives contractions). Acupuncture encourages the body to do this naturally – as opposed to having artificial synthetic versions of hormones doing the same job.
More commonly during labour, acupuncture and pressure points are used both for pain management and to charge mood and energy levels. A therapist will be able to guide a woman and her birth supporter in different pressure points which may be useful during labour. Acupuncture also has a positive effect on mood and mindset, this then influences the body’s hormonal response to ensure that the labouring woman has the right cocktail of hormones needed to drive labour.
A course of acupuncture treatment can have a hugely positive impact on how a mother-to-be feels about and experiences her pregnancy and birth. To find out more about Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Labour, click here