Acupuncture for Pregnancy
Acupuncture is a wonderful, safe, natural, complementary support during pregnancy and I have worked with many women throughout their pregnancies.
I hold a post-graduate Diploma in Maternity Acupuncture and as a member of the Acupuncture Childbirth Team I attend regular continuing professional development sessions covering all aspects of maternity care.
Is acupuncture safe in pregnancy?
A 2014 review of 105 maternity acupuncture trials showed that of the 25 where adverse events (AE) were reported, only 1.3% of these events were evaluated as certainly, probably or possibly as a result of the acupuncture treatment. Of these 1.3%, all AE were reported as mild/ moderate, with needle pain being the most frequent (1). I make every effort to keep needle pain to an absolute minimum in my treatments.
Is maternity acupuncture effective?
As part of my post-graduate training I undertook observation at the dedicated maternity acupuncture clinic in the Maternity Day Ward of Whittington Hospital, London (NHS), where it is used alongside conventional treatments to promote labour, correct breech position, treat musculoskeletal pain and alleviate severe morning sickness. The clinic began as a three month pilot scheme to reduce caesarean rates and offer patients a broader range of therapies in pregnancy and had such success it has now been running for over 8 years.
If there is a history of miscarriage or you are particularly anxious, I recommend weekly sessions for the first trimester.
These sessions are very calming and reassuring and a good opportunity to address any early pregnancy symptoms such as:
There is normally a break in treatment during the second trimester, providing you are feeling fit and well, where you simply enjoy the pleasures of pregnancy and your growing bump!
If baby's position is not optimal, treatment between weeks 34-36 can help correct this.
Birth preparation sessions begin at 36 weeks, continuing weekly until 40 weeks. These have been shown to promote timely, efficient labours with reduced interventions. They also help to keep nerves at bay.
If you do go over your due date, acupuncture can help get things moving by helping to ripen the cervix and promote contractions. These are not 'induction' treatments, they merely put you in the best possible position for labour to start naturally where possible. If baby's position is not optimal, this may need to be addressed first.
For interested clients, I provide material and advice on acupressure for use during labour. The feedback from this, from both mothers and support people has been very positive.
These sessions are a great way to restore and heal after pregnancy and birth.
1 - 'The safety of acupuncture during pregnancy: a systematic review'. Park J et al. Acupuncture in Medicine: British Medical Journals. 2014; 32(3):257-66.