Acupuncture for antenatal support
Is Acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is very safe to have during pregnancy and is an effective option at a time when many women choose to avoid taking medicine for minor ailments. It is essential that you choose an acupuncturist who is trained and a member of a professional body such as the British Acupuncture Council.
How can acupuncture help during pregnancy?
Many conditions which routinely crop up during pregnancy would benefit from a natural solution. Acupuncture, when provided by a trained practitioner, can give relief for a range of pregnancy related conditions.
PreBirth treatment involves a series of four treatments weekly from 36 or 37 weeks to prepare for labour. Points are used according a woman’s constitution and pregnancy history. These include points to ripen the cervix, to help position the baby in the best presentation for labour and to promote optimal energy and stamina for women to enter into labour.
Data was gathered by 14 midwives on 169 women, as part of their midwifery practice in Wellington, New Zealand; it found that when comparing all caregivers (Midwives, GP’s and Specialists) to those women who had received PreBirth acupuncture there was:
- An overall 35% reduction in the number of inductions (for women having their first baby this was a 43% reduction)
- A 31% reduction in the epidural rate.
Acupuncture and breech babies
An adjunct technique to acupuncture called moxibustion has been used for many centuries to turn breech babies.
A herb called moxa is ‘compacted’ into a cigar shaped stick, one end of which is lit and it’s slowly smouldered directly above an acupuncture point on the little toe (BL 67).
Research studies have concluded that offering acupuncture type interventions at BL 67 to women with a breech foetus at 33 weeks gestation reduced the number of breech presentations at term, the number of caesarean sections required, and was cost effective when compared to expectant management.
Acupuncture and labour
Acupuncture is used to induce labour in overdue pregnancies; it should only be used for induction when the mother has passed her due date and when written permission is provided by the patient’s obstetrician. Best results are seen seven to ten days after the treatment(s) but it can be immediate in most cases.
Acupuncture can also be used to restart labour if it has slowed down or if contractions have stopped.
After the birth
Acupuncture is used by new mothers to increase energy levels, to promote healing and to combat the ‘baby blues’. It also is very helpful in treating mastitis.
Acupuncture and pelvic pain in pregnancy
- Elden H, Ladfors l, Fagevik Olsen M, Ostaard H, Hagberg H. Effects of acupuncture and stabilising exercisers as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomised singleblind controlled trail. BMJ 2005;330:761
Acupuncture and morning sickness
- Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. Acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a randomized trail. Birth.2002Mar:29 (1):1-9
- Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. Pregnancy outcome following women’s participation in a randomised controlled trial of acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Complement Ther Med. 2002 Jun; 10(2):78-83.
Moxibustion use for Breech Presentation
- Cardini F, Weixin H. Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation. JAMA 1998; 280:1580-1584
- Van den Berg I, Kaandorp G, Bosch J, Duvekot J, Arends L, Hununk M. Cost-effectiveness of breech version by acupuncture-type interventions on BL 67, including moxibustion, for women with a breech foetus at 33 weeks gestation: a modelling approach. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2010;18, 67—77.
- Kubista E Kucera H. Geburtshilfe Perinatol. 1974; 178 224-9
- Lyrendas S, Lutsch H, Hetta J, Lindberg B. Gynecol. Obstet.24; 217-224
- Tempfer C, Zeisler H, Mayerhofe Kr, Barrada M Husslein P. Influence of acupuncture on duration of labour Gynecol Obstet Invest 1998; 46:22-5
Acupuncture and Cervical Ripening
- Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P. Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a randomised controlled trail. Wien Klin Wochenschr 2001; 113 (23-24): 942-6
Acupressure to reduce labour pain
- Hjelmstedt A, Shenoy ST, Stener-Victorin E, Lekander M, Bhat M, Balakumaran L, Waldenström U. Acupressure to reduce labor pain. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2010 Nov;89(11):1453-9.
Acupuncture use for the treatment of depression in pregnancy
- Manber R, Schnyer R, Lyell D, Chambers A, Caughey A, Druzin M, et al. Acupuncture for depression during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol 2010;115:511–20.
Research References were kindly provided by Debra Betts