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Acupuncture During Pregnancy

By Lubna Sheikh on 10th May 2020

baby massage guide

At Bodywork Massage London, our goal is to promote your overall health throughout your pregnancy, and beyond. Research has shown that acupuncture therapy during pregnancy can be highly beneficial for the mother. It has been known to alleviate backaches, insomnia, and generally low-moods. [1]

Let us talk you through our acupuncture services, which are delivered by our highly trained therapists who have years of experience in the art.

What is acupuncture?

Traditionally acupuncture comes from Chinese medicine, which views the human body as having two opposing forces: the Yin (Negative) and the Yang (Positive). Chinese medicine believes that the flow of the Chi (your body’s vital energy) becomes blocked when an imbalance occurs between the Yin and the Yang.

Acupuncture can be used to restore this balance. During the practice of acupuncture, needles are inserted into your skin at different points along what are described as meridians.

These meridians control the flow of Chi and the balance of the Yin and the Yang. The correct insertion of an acupuncture needle can alter this flow and restore a person’s natural Health. [2]

How does acupuncture work?

To the untrained eye, the practice of acupuncture involves randomly poking a patient full of needles. Over 1,000 recognised acupuncture points exist in the human body, all of which are placed along the meridian pathways.

A qualified acupuncturist understands precisely where to put each needle to get the desired effect that they want and produce a series of results. [3]

Benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy

Many patients have accredited their acupuncturists with easing a vast range of different pregnancy symptoms. These have included constipation, heartburn, swollen legs, and even carpal tunnel syndrome.

Here is a more extensive list of symptoms that qualified acupuncturists are known to have relieved during pregnancy. As yet not enough data to make a definitive decision as to the efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment during pregnancy.

While scientists agree that some evidence exists for acupuncture helping with the following:

  • Pelvic and lower back
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches [4]

Acupuncture during the three stages of pregnancy

Thankfully pregnancy is not a recognised illness, and the majority of women do not need regular ongoing treatment during pregnancy. However, this is not to say that there aren’t common ailments that women suffer from.

Many of these can be helped by acupuncture which offers a drug-free, safe, and gentle solution.

During the first trimester, acupuncture is known to provide relief for the following:

  • Headaches and nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Morning Sickness

It can relieve these symptoms during the Second trimester:

  • Back pain
  • Heartburn
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Edema
  • High blood pressure
  • Haemorrhoids

It can also help in the third trimester with the following:

  • Induction of labour
  • Pelvic pain
  • Back pain
  • Breech position

Is Acupuncture safe in early pregnancy?

Between 1998 and 2003 an extensive review was taken of 105 acupuncture studies on the effects of acupuncture on pregnant women. It found that the risk of severe and adverse reactions was shallow. [5]

What are the potential risks of acupuncture during pregnancy?

Studies have shown that acupuncture performed by trained professionals is both safe and comparatively risk-free. The majority of the risk is associated with the practice of acupuncture rather than a danger to your baby or yourself.

If incorrectly applied it can result in infection, redness, or soreness at the insertion sites and occasionally injury from needles having been placed too deeply.

Your biggest concern during pregnancy shouldn’t be the practice of acupuncture rather than where and who is performing it. This is not to say that like any procedure it is entirely without risk as you will see below.

What acupuncture points are targeted in pregnancy?

Five common points are targeted during pregnancy. These include:

  • Neiguan – Inner pass – P6 point
  • Baihui – Hundred Meetings – DU 20
  • Shanzhong – Chest Center – CV17
  • Zusanli – Leg 3 Miles – ST36
  • Zulinqi – Foot governor of tears – GB41

At Bodywork Massage, our highly trained acupuncturists will firstly go through an assessment with you to see which areas you could improve on. We will always discuss your options with you and if you are particularly concerned, or even put off by a particular pressure point, we will take this into account. [6]

What acupuncture points to avoid during pregnancy?

As we mentioned above, acupuncture during pregnancy should only be carried out by skilled professionals. Our experts will know to avoid the following points:

  • Spleen 6 – SP6
  • Large intestine 4 – LI4
  • Bladder 60 – BL60
  • Bladder 67 – BL67
  • Gallbladder 21 – GB21
  • Conception vessel 3 – 7 – CV3 – CV7
  • Bladder 27 – 34 – BL27 – BL34

If you have any doubts, be sure to discuss this with your acupuncturist, if they are not familiar with these points. We will never put you in an uncomfortable position – we are solely here to relax you and help you get the best out of the treatment.

Acupuncture and safety for pregnant women

You should think of the following before committing to any new procedure with pregnant:

  • Consider your overall health
  • Choose the acupuncturist carefully
  • Calculate the cost
  • Check for any signs of inconvenience

What is moxibustion, and can it help during pregnancy?

Moxibustion is an alternative therapy that is based on a similar principle to that of acupuncture. But rather than actually breaking your skin with a needle, a practitioner will burn a long stick of mug wort herb along or near the acupuncture points of your body.

Studies have shown that the heat of the burning of the herbs as well as its properties provides relief from certain symptoms of pregnancy.

Can postpartum acupuncture help?

Many women choose acupuncture after birth how come deal with the residual pains and aches from labour and also help restore honey imbalance caused by the loss of reproductive hormones.

Studies have indicated they can help with the following:

  • Pelvic and low back pain
  • Poor milk supply
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

FAQs about pregnancy and acupuncture

1. Does acupuncture hurt?

Due to the fact that the needles are extremely thin and professionally inserted, it’s highly unlikely that you will feel anything. Once it reaches its intended depth, you will occasionally get slight tingling or a mild dull ache.

2. Does acupuncture cause miscarriage?

If acupuncture is performed incorrectly it is capable of triggering specific functions in the body. Some points can cause contractions in the uterus resulting in miscarriage or premature delivery. If you have any concerns about this, discuss them with your doctor beforehand.

3. Can acupuncture prevent miscarriage?

When a miscarriage is not the result of chromosomal abnormality, acupuncture can be used to treat many of the common causes. It can help regulate the flow of hormones as well as increase the quality and the thickness of the endometrial lining.

4. Can acupuncture help during childbirth?

Some evidence exists to support the belief that the practice of acupuncture towards the end of pregnancy helps the cervix ripening and make it ready for labour. Support is also growing for the body of evidence that indicates acupressure and acupuncture can significantly reduce labour pains.

Contact Us Now For a Pregnancy Acupuncture Appointment in London

Contact us on 07904 786 888 for an acupuncture treatment tailored to your individual needs and requirements. Our expert team of staff will conduct a detailed assessment before the treatment, to help decide what benefits you would like to reap from the session.

We look forward to hearing from you through the phone or through our online form.

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK189968/\

[2] https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2014/06/08/acupuncture-and-its-effect-during-and-after-pregnancy

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4680134/#R9

[4] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/240633338_Post_natal_acupuncture

[5] https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009232/ful

[6] https://nicm.edu.au/news/research_shows_acupuncture_may_help_prepare

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