Acupuncture For Pregnancy & Childbirth

I’ve mentioned before that I get a monthly newsletter from my former acupuncturist. I thought this month was another useful newsletter for some of you.

Obviously, I don’t need this information right now, but I hope to need it some day.

Acupuncture is really relaxing and can do some amazing things for you. If I could afford it (and had insurance), I would totally start going again. I loved it.

My sister went to my acupuncturist when she was about a week overdue with my first nephew, and because she is insanely afraid of needles and couldn’t relax enough to get the acupuncture-induced contractions to get labor moving along, it didn’t work for her. But I have heard that it is highly successful if you can allow the acupuncturist to get to the points they need.

Acupuncture in Pregnancy & Childbirth

Pregnancy is an amazing time in a woman’s life. Many women report feeling healthier than they have ever felt before; however, the physical growth of the baby and changes in hormone levels can bring about pain, discomfort and a variety of health problems.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can provide a safe, effective alternative for many of the health complications that may arise before, during and after pregnancy. A growing number of women are choosing acupuncture to use throughout their pregnancy and as an optional treatment for an overdue or difficult labor.

Planning for a Healthy Baby

Healthy parents produce healthy babies. With acupuncture and Oriental medicine, parents can improve their health to create the most optimal environment for their unborn child. In addition to their ability to strengthen, support, and balance overall health and well-being, acupuncture and Oriental medicine are an effective treatment for regulating menstruation and hormone levels, reducing stress and addressing any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns that a woman may have.

Acupuncture during Pregnancy

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can play a vital role in the comfort of a pregnant woman. There is strong evidence to support that acupuncture is highly effective at treating some of the most common problems experienced during pregnancy including morning sickness, heartburn, insomnia, water retention and sciatica.

Here is a list of some of the problems that an acupuncturist often treats during pregnancy:

    * Nausea and Vomiting
    * Heartburn
    * Constipation
    * Hemorrhoids
    * Edema and Swelling
    * Urinary Tract Infection
    * Pelvic Pain
    * Neck and Back Pain
    * Sciatica
    * Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    * Leg Cramps
    * Fatigue and Exhaustion
    * Insomnia
    * Anxiety and Depression

Acupuncture for Childbirth

While there are acupuncture points that can provide natural pain relief during labor, acupuncture is more commonly used to induce labor. There are several points that stimulate contractions and influence cervical ripening. There is also an acupuncture point that has been found to turn a breech baby.

Acupuncture Postpartum

Many women feel depleted after the birth experience. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help the transition of those first few months after birth to ensure a quick recovery. Postpartum care focuses on the physical, emotional and psychological recovery of the mother from the effects of pregnancy and labor, as well as encouraging breast feeding.

Here are some of the postpartum disorders that can be treated with acupuncture:

    * Fatigue
    * Postpartum Depression
    * Mastitis
    * Insufficient or Excessive Lactation
    * Post Operative Healing
    * Night Sweats

If you would like to know more how acupuncture and Oriental medicine ease discomfort and facilitate pregnancy, please call for more information.

UB 67 for Turning Breech Babies

An acupuncture point on the small toe of the foot (Urinary Bladder 67) has been found to effectively revolve fetuses in breech presentation.

In an Italian study, 240 women at 33-35 weeks of gestation carrying a fetus in breech presentation were randomized to receive acupuncture plus moxibustion (an herb used to apply heat to an acupuncture point) or to be assigned to the observation group. At delivery, the proportion of babies that had turned from breech position to vertex (head-down) position was 53.6 % in the group treated with acupuncture while the proportion of babies that had turned from breech position to vertex position in the observation group was 36.7%.

Safety of Acupuncture While Pregnant

Acupuncture is safe to use while you are pregnant; however, there are some points that can cause contractions and should NOT be needled during pregnancy or should be used with extreme caution.

Acupuncture Points to Avoid During Pregnancy

* Large Intestine 4
* Spleen 6
* Gallbladder 21
* Points on the sacrum
* Point on the lower abdomen
* Point on the low back

There are also many herbal remedies that are contraindicated during pregnancy. Always err on the side of caution with all herbs and medications while you are expecting.

Common Acupuncture Points used During Pregnancy

Zhubin (K 9) – ‘beautiful baby point’
Location: Above the medial malleolus (inner ankle bone), right below the calf muscle.
Function: Calms the mind, builds or tonifies blood.
Indication: Good for hypertension, fear, anxiety, nightmares, and mental disorders.

Zusanli (St 36)
Location: Four fingers below the knee cap, on the outer edge of the tibia.
Function: Strengthens overall constitution, builds blood and Qi, resolves edema, and harmonizes meridians that control digestive functions.
Indication: Great point for diarrhea, constipation, gastric pain and indigestion. Also helps with insomnia, edema (water retention), and increases energy level.

Neiguan (P6) – ‘morning sickness and motion sickness point’
Location: Two fingers above the inner wrist.
Function: Calms the mind, harmonizes the stomach.
Indication: This is THE point for nausea and vomiting. It is also one of the most relaxing acupuncture points and is used for both insomnia and anxiety.

Source: J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2004 Apr;15(4):247-52

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Comments

  1. I love acupuncture. I’m gonna print these points out for my acupuncturist, just in case she doesn’t know!

  2. Wow – I didn’t realize how many ailments acupuncture could help from this regard – thanks for sharing!

  3. I’ve done acupuncture a few times as well but I don’t even remember what it was for! I’ve never heard of doing it for pregnancy, that’s so cool!

  4. I feel so educated!

  5. I have a friend who is finishing up his schooling for that.. like medial school!! but every time he visits, we’re all like “DO ME – DO ME”… we want some ease from sort of achiness or pain… it works!

  6. I hope you’re able to use this info someday soon, Megan.

    Have you done acupuncture for conception? I tried it, although it didn’t work for me I have heard it’s worked for others.

  7. I’ve heard that acupuncture is really helpful for pregnant women! However, I think I would be like your sister “GET THAT NEEDLE AWAY FROM ME!!”

  8. i’ve never had acupuncture. that was very interesting to read!

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