When it comes to alleviating the normal discomforts of pregnancy, acupuncture can be a safe, non-invasive method of relief.
During an acupuncture session, a qualified practitioner will first assess you and ask what concerns you have. They will insert a number of thin, sterilised needles through specific points in your skin. Each point is related to a specific ailment or area of the body. When stimulated during acupuncture, the aim is to correct imbalances in your body and restore health.
Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago. Traditional Chinese medicine views the body as having two opposing forces, yin and yang. When an imbalance occurs, it blocks the flow of qi energy along the meridians in our body which can cause physical and mental pain.
To Chinese therapists, qi (pronounced chee ) is the vital energy that flows through all of us. Meridians are the internal pathways that facilitate the flow of qi.
It's important to acknowledge that acupuncture is not a substitute for western medical care during your pregnancy. Acupuncture can provide many complementary benefits but it is vital that you see a qualified healthcare professional on a regular basis to monitor the progress of your pregnancy.
It is important that you speak with your maternity care provider if you are thinking about having acupuncture. There may be a reason why this is not recommended for you during your pregnancy.
How acupuncture can help during pregnancy
Acupuncture is a very popular method of treating pain and other symptoms of pregnancy. It is very different to Western medicine.
If, like most women, you are busy working, or looking after other children, the added demands of growing a baby during pregnancy could really take their toll.
Many women have found acupuncture to help relieve their symptoms of:
- Morning sickness
- Lower back and pelvic pain
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Sleeping problems
- Muscle aches
- Low energy levels
- Lack of focus and concentration
Acupuncture in the third trimester
If you haven t felt the need earlier, acupuncture in your third trimester may help to prepare your body for labour.
Around your eighth month of pregnancy, your healthcare professional will be focusing even more on your baby's position in your uterus. If your baby is in the breech position, meaning their feet are pointing down instead of up, you could consider ways that could help them to turn so they are head down.
Acupuncture and another complementary therapy called, Moxibustion, have been found, by some, to encourage babies to move around until they are no longer in the breech position. Moxibustion for breech babies involves burning a traditional herb above your belly where your baby's feet are. Because of its safe and non-invasive nature, this therapy is very popular with many pregnant women.
But remember, there is very little scientific evidence that acupuncture or Moxibustion are effective. So don t get your hopes high on either of these techniques being effective.
In the last few weeks of your pregnancy, there are also specific points that a qualified acupuncturist can stimulate to help soften your cervix for giving birth.
Finding the best acupuncturist
The best acupuncturists are those who are licensed and who have had the most comprehensive training, including specialised training in treating pregnant women.
Your therapist should also know how to keep you comfortable during your treatment. Feel free to ask for extra support pillows if you need them. Lying on your side without extra support could put unnecessary strain on your belly and your baby.
Don t hesitate to ask about an acupuncturist's experience, especially in treating pregnant women. It's important that you feel comfortable and confident with the acupuncturist you choose so that you can relax and reap the benefits of the treatment.If you're having trouble sourcing a trained, local acupuncturist, ask your healthcare professional or another pregnant woman for a recommendation.
Last Published* November, 2021
*Please note that the published date may not be the same as the date that the content was created and that information above may have changed since.