Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy when administered by a qualified practitioner. The research shows that acupuncture is not only safe, but it also has an advantage over conventional medicine in treating various pregnancy-related ailments such as morning sickness, headaches, depression, and pain to mention a few. Oftentimes women prefer to avoid medication during pregnancy. It has been shown that women have a positive view of acupuncture to address ailments that arise while pregnant.
Acupuncture for Pregnancy FAQ's
Most herbs are safe during pregnancy. However, some are not. Fortunately, the record of Chinese medicine has been well kept in detail over millennia so we can know which herbs are safe for which patients and during pregnancy. This is why the herbs should not be taken without the guidance of a trained practitioner.
There’s anecdotal evidence that shows Chinese medicine treatments can support pregnancy. These have not been well evaluated by clinical trials because these cases require individualized treatments. The strength of Chinese medicine is that it treats every woman as an individual and customizes the treatment for what the woman needs at the time of her appointment. Of course, not all miscarriages can be prevented.
For women with a history of recurrent miscarriage, the recommendation is to start the treatment 3-4 months prior to conception. This is considered ‘cultivating the soil before planting seeds. In Chinese medicine’s view, prior preparation before conception is considered to be very important in having a viable pregnancy and a healthy child.
Can the use of acupuncture, herbs or traditional Chinese medicine help with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy?
Absolutely. This is one of the conditions from numerous clinical trials that showed the efficacy of acupuncture. In fact, acupuncture can help with all types of nausea and not just pregnancy-related such as motion sickness, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and migraine to mention a few.
Can the use of acupuncture, herbs or traditional Chinese medicine prevent pregnancy and postpartum depression?
Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for depression. This is true for the pregnant and the non-pregnant. Studies from New Zealand showed acupuncture treatments prior to birth reduced the likelihood of women experiencing postpartum depression.
Yes, acupuncture has shown to be similarly effective to medication and cognitive behavioral therapy in addressing sleep issues.
Can the use of acupuncture, herbs or traditional Chinese medicine help with the normal body aches and pains of pregnancy?
Acupuncture is probably best known for its ability to treat pain. It has a similar analgesic effect that is similar to codeine but without the side effects and has shown to be more effective than codeine after 2 weeks. Over time, pain medications become less effective. Acupuncture, on the other hand, tends to have a stronger effect over time. Acupuncture can be useful for all types of pain whether it is pregnancy-related or not. Pregnancy-related low back pain, pelvic pain, headaches, and carpal tunnel can all be relieved by acupuncture.
Can the use of acupuncture, herbs or traditional Chinese medicine help promote labor when it is safe for me to have my baby?
It has been shown that women who receive acupuncture treatments starting at 35 weeks of pregnancy had an overall reduction in the number of inductions, epidural rate, emergency cesarean delivery, and an increase in normal vaginal births rate and on-time delivery. The goal of acupuncture and Chinese medicine is not to promote labor immediately but to increase the chance that a woman will go to labor at the ‘right’ time.
The frequency will depend on the woman’s history and the current condition. For severe morning sickness or pain, more frequent treatment is recommended. Patients may come in 2-3 times per week until the condition resolves. For women without complications, monthly supportive treatment will be helpful to keep in balance.
Can the use of acupuncture, herbs or traditional Chinese medicine help to prevent or treat diabetes of pregnancy?
Acupuncture’s efficacy in treating or preventing diabetes has not been demonstrated. However, herbs and dietary therapy have been shown to be effective in treatment of diabetes.
Can the use of acupuncture, herbs or traditional Chinese medicine help to prevent or treat high blood pressure of pregnancy?
Acupuncture has been used effectively to reduce high blood pressure. It has also been shown to normalize low blood pressure. Again, dietary therapy is helpful in treating blood pressure.
If my baby is breech, can the use of acupuncture, herbs or traditional Chinese medicine help to get my baby into the proper position?
This is a common condition that presents during pregnancy especially before 30 weeks. In addition to acupuncture, application of herbal heat called moxibustion applied to very specific acupuncture points has been used to correct the breech presentation. Of course, it is best to start as soon as possible once breech presentation has been confirmed.
Can the use of acupuncture, herbs or traditional Chinese medicine help with my recovery after a vaginal delivery?
Pre-birth acupuncture starting 35 weeks of pregnancy supports more efficient delivery which can minimize birth trauma. Pre-birth acupuncture is also associated with less postpartum pain. Acupuncture and herbal treatments after delivery can also help with all types of postpartum discomfort.
Can the use of acupuncture, herbs or traditional Chinese medicine help with my recovery after a cesarean section?
Again, pre-birth acupuncture has shown to reduce emergency c-section. Acupuncture can promote healing and reduce pain and inflammation after the c-section.
Can the use of acupuncture, herbs or traditional Chinese medicine help increase my milk production after I've had my baby?
Acupuncture and herbal treatments have been used to support insufficient lactation and, when needed, to help stop lactation comfortably.