Acupuncture may be helpful in all stages of pregnancy and we recommend that you consider having four to six weekly treatments to promote and maintain your well-being. It is important to try and address any issues as they arise before they become a problem. Research suggests that acupuncture may help to improve the flow of blood to the uterus as well as enhancing energy levels.
During pregnancy, perhaps more than at any other time, you may prefer to seek out natural approaches to manage the discomforts of pregnancy so that western medications, which may cause possible harm to the unborn baby, can be reduced or avoided altogether.
Alongside Tui Na massage, acupuncture can safely relieve a multitude of disorders that may arise during pregnancy and childbirth both gently and effectively, allowing you to remain calm, comfortable and happy throughout. Common problems that may be helped include morning sickness, stress, anxiety and depression, pelvic pain, rib pain, carpal tunnel, swelling, insomnia, itching and sinus congestion to name but a few. For more information please click here.
Acute morning sickness? Take a look at this brief video to see how acupuncture can help.
Preparation For Birth
There is plenty that acupuncture and Tui na can do in the last few weeks of pregnancy too by helping you to prepare physically and mentally for birth. For example, it can help to induce labour, or to turn breech babies, as well as to help with pain relief during the birth itself.
We encourage women to come to us on a weekly basis from 36 weeks onwards to ensure that your body is energetically ready for the birthing journey. The emphasis at this time is on preparing the cervix and pelvis for labour; the acupuncture points and Tui Na techniques used boost energy, aid relaxation, nourish the blood in the body, soften the ligaments and tendons and help the cervix to thin, soften and dilate in preparation for labour.
Pre Birth Acupuncture Research
Research from New Zealand showed that pregnant women who receive pre-birth treatment, either go into spontaneous labour around their due dates, or if induction is required they respond well to acupuncture induction and move efficiently into a natural labour. Research has demonstrated that the duration of labour in a group of 140 women giving birth for the first time was reduced from 8 hours and 2 minutes in the control group to 6 hours and 36 minutes in the group that received pre-birth acupuncture on a weekly basis from week 36 until the due date.
Betts D, Lennox S. “Acupuncture for prebirth treatment: An observational study of its use in midwifery practice. ”Medical acupuncture 2006 May 17 (3) :17-20
Moxibustion To Turn The Breech
Moxa (Artemisia Vulgaris or ‘mugwort’) is a herb that is used as a heat source to stimulate acupuncture points. It is renowned for its curative and restorative properties particularly in chronic conditions and has been used in traditional treatments for over 2000 years in China.
Breech presentation occurs in 3-5% of term pregnancies. As caesarean section is now the suggested mode of birth for breech babies, it is preferable to try and encourage the baby to turn before labour begins.
Research and anecdotal evidence suggests that the practice of moxibustion (burning of the herb) over the point Zhiyin or bladder 67 (the most dynamic point of the most energetic channel) has a higher success rate in turning baby to the optimal ‘head down’ position than does the manipulation of the baby (ECV or external cephalic version).
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this point (on the outside edge of the little toe) when heated by the moxa, stimulates and carries Qi (or functional energy) along the bladder channel to tone and enhance the movement of the uterus and the baby so that turning is more likely to occur. It is a safe, simple and lovely and relaxing treatment which partners enjoy administering twice daily if possible until the baby turns.
Post Birth Acupuncture
Acupuncture and Tui Na play a key role in the post-natal period to aid recovery. We recommend a couple of acupuncture and tui na treatments post birth, the first being 3-5 days after childbirth. This treatment is extremely gentle and supportive and helps to restore a hormonal balance.
There are also many post birth problems and discomforts that can be helped more specifically such as: post natal depression, mastitis, breast feeding problems, pelvic pain, after-pains, and post caesarian recovery.
Mother Warming in Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a warming ‘Qi’ or energy restoring technique that we use on new mums a few days after birth. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years, the earliest record of the practice can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). The treatment involves the use of a moxa stick to gently warm the acupuncture channels of the lower abdomen and back.
It is a lovely soothing and therapeutic technique that is used to gently nourish and strengthen the body by helping to tone the uterus and aid recuperation after birth at a time when a woman needs to regain her strength to care for her newborn and establish breast feeding. Moxibustion is wonderfully energising and can be particularly beneficial to help gentle recovery from caesarean section.