Acupuncture during pregnancy
During pregnancy you can experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms. Acupuncture is a safe method of supporting pregnancy-related conditions without negative side effects; and there is now a body of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture in pregnancy and childbirth.
Treating common pregnancy conditions
In early pregnancy it can be common to experience nausea and sickness. For some women this can also continue throughout pregnancy. Other symptoms acupuncture can support and help manage include –
- Digestive changes; indigestion (heart burn, acid reflux) bloating, fullness and constipation
- Emotional & Metal imbalance / disharmony; mood swings, irritability, poor sleep, tiredness, feelings of tension & stress
- Physical changes; tiredness, changes in blood pressure, headaches & migraines, oedema and vulval varicosities, itching and pain
- Musculoskeletal pain; back pain, pelvic girdle and hip pain, sciatica, tight neck & shoulders and hypermobility.
I also work with women where their journey to motherhood started many years earlier and pregnancy can be an uncertain and unsettling time. Along with the joy and excitement of having a baby, they can also feel anxious and worried. Regular acupuncture during pregnancy helps to maintain emotional balance.
Birth preparation & labour
Birth preparation involves weekly treatment from week 36 to prepare the mother for labour. It does this in various ways: ripening the cervix, helping to position the baby for labour, benefiting sleep and easing hot flushes, help staying calm and relaxed and bolstering energy levels.
Moxibustion is used from weeks 34-36 to turn a breech baby; and at the end of pregnancy, if the baby is overdue, acupuncture supports labour induction. I will also demonstrate acupressure points for use in labour that help labour to progress and manage levels of pain and discomfort.
Having a baby is both physically and emotionally demanding. It is important after giving birth to rest and nourish your body. This allows your body to recover and heal from pregnancy and childbirth. At this time your hormones are begin to rebalance and you are adjusting to life as a new mum or balancing caring for your baby with the needs of an older sibling. Acupuncture can help with –
- promoting lactation
- mastitis & painful breasts
- back & shoulder pain
- swollen ankles
- urinary problems
- stress & anxiety
- tiredness and exhaustion
For some women giving birth can sadly be a traumatic experience. Labour may not have gone as planned or had to be very medicalised. Acupuncture is very supportive on an emotional level, helping with feelings of loss or sadness, even feelings of sometimes anger and frustration. After giving birth these can be experienced, along with feeling overwhelmed. Regular acupuncture during this period can also help balance hormone levels and support postpartum depression.
A useful resource for pregnancy and childbirth by expert obstetric Acupuncturist Debra Betts can be found here –https://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz This website contains useful information and research on pregnancy and birth and videos of for locating acupressure points during labour