Pregnancy acupuncture is a gentle and effective treatment, which can address many of the issues that arise during pregnancy. I have a postgraduate certificate in obstetric acupuncture issued in conjunction with the Royal College of Midwives and I treat women at every stage of their pregnancy, as well as in the first few weeks after they have given birth.
The most common symptoms and points that I treat during pregnancy are:
- Nausea (morning sickness);
- Aches and pains during pregnancy;
- Breech presentation;
- Promoting labor; and
- Post-natal symptoms.
Nausea (morning sickness)
Although nausea is a very common symptom of pregnancy (approximately half of all women experience some form of nausea during pregnancy), it is not something to be taken lightly as it carries the risk of dehydration and can be very debilitating.Since most women wish to avoid taking medication during their pregnancy, many turn to Chinese medicine which has been shown to be very helpful in relieving nausea. In some women the nausea completely disappears, while others experience considerable relief and an improvement in symptoms that enables them to function much better during their pregnancy.
Musculoskeletal problems during pregnancy are mainly caused by three factors:
- The effect of the hormone progesterone, which stretches and relaxes the ligaments;
- Altered centre of gravity as weight shifts to the abdominal area; and
- Limited physical space as the baby grows.
Back pain, symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) and sciatica are the most common conditions and acupuncture is a very effective treatment. It is often combined with physiotherapy and osteopathy to achieve excellent results and considerable relief for patients.
When a baby is lying in a breech position (feet first), a Chinese herb called moxa (Mugwort) can be burnt near the little toe to correct the baby’s position.Ideally treatment takes place in Week 34 of the pregnancy and at the treatment I show the pregnant lady and a partner how to use the moxa at home.The moxa treatment is repeated twice a day for 10 days. It is extremely easy, effective and safe has been shown to be successful in approximately 75% of cases.There are a number of contraindications for the use of moxibustion to turn a breech baby, which include:
- twin pregnancies
- high blood pressure
- bleeding in pregnancy
- problems with the amniotic fluid
- uterine abnormalities
- the mother is rhesus negative, and
- a previous c-section for breech.
Preparing your body for labor
Weekly acupuncture treatment from Week 37 helps to prepare the body for birth and has been shown to reduce the duration of labor, rates of induction and medical intervention during birth.After each treatment I show you the points that I have used to soften the cervix, aid in dilation and relax the ligaments and I ask you to apply gentle pressure to a few of them each day. I find that this really helps to reinforce the treatment and makes it less likely that the baby will be overdue. These points can also be used during labor to promote an efficient birth, maintain contractions and relieve pain.
Post-natal care is an area which can often be overlooked, especially as women nowadays do not spend much time recuperating in hospital after giving birth.
By restoring Qi (energy) and Blood, acupuncture can be used to treat many of the physical symptoms that occur during the first few weeks after giving birth, such as:
- Extreme fatigue and lack of energy;
- Assisting the healing process after a natural birth or caesarean; and
- Insufficient milk and mastitis
I also treat women who are experiencing the emotional shockwaves of giving birth, such as feeling overwhelmed, coping with change, guilt and disappointment that a planned natural birth ended in medical intervention and post-natal depression.