Conditions during pregnancy that are effectively treated with acupuncture

By: Dr. Spence Pentland (Vancouver Fertility Acupuncturist)

Acupuncture is good for treating many conditions and uncomfortable issues associated with being pregnant.

Prevent miscarriage. Treatments 1-2 times per week help prevent miscarriage or early pregnancy loss by reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, reducing stress, and encouraging blood flow to the developing embryo.

Spotting (sub-chorionic hematoma). Acupuncture employed with a technique called moxibustion can help reduce or eliminate bleeding from the uterus (depending on the cause).

Nausea or morning sickness. Depending on the severity of the nausea, 1-5 acupuncture treatments per week may be necessary to restore quality of life and the ability to eat. Often acupuncture is very effective for this condition, especially if combined with the knowledge and practice of keeping blood sugar levels consistent throughout the day.

Headaches. Many women experience headaches toward the end of their first trimester. Acupuncture is known better for the relief of pain than for any other ailment. If you are experiencing headaches that are not just obviously associated with dehydration or fatigue, then try acupuncture.

Depression. The balancing of many emotional conditions is a primary principle of treatment when pregnant women come to my practice. Acupuncture combined with singing lessons administered by singing teacher proficient in proper breathing techniques is quite effective for pregnancy or post-partum related depression. Sing the blues away.

Stress. Hormones secreted by the adrenal glands cause anxiety and stress. During pregnancy, this can affect the amount of life giving blood flow feeding the embryo. Therefore reducing stress or using techniques such as acupuncture to alleviate stress is important.

Restless legs. Acupuncture has shown some promise in relieving the sometimes agonising frustration associated with restless legs. If you have it you understand all too well the agony mentioned. You may also need more calcium in your diet.

Back pain. Again, acupuncture is fundamentally one of the best choices humans have for relieving pain of any kind. Cupping and moxibustion may also be administered when back pain is effecting a woman that is pregnant.

Breech presentation. Studies have shown that moxibustion can be effective at turning a baby that is presenting breech. Is is most effective if done daily for 10-14 days between the weeks of 34-36.

Labour preparation or cervical ripening. Between the weeks of 37-40, acupuncture given once per week helps prepare a woman for labour by boosting vital energy and ensuring smooth flow of emotions and blood during the process. Induction is most often not needed when women commit to the cervical ripening acupuncture protocol.

Induction of Labour. Many women move swiftly into active labour after just one acupuncture induction treatment. Sometimes 2-3 are required within 1 week post due date.

Mastitis. Blocked milk duct. Acupuncture given quickly enough, along with somewhat aggressive self-massage and herbal compresses, can help hasten the recovery from a mastitis infection. This infection can progress quickly so do not hesitate to get treatment and do everything you can at home as well.

Lack of breast milk. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs, when given alongside a Guinness beer per day has shown moderate to good results with increasing the amount of milk production.