Although Pregnancy is generally a special healthy time for a lot of women, it can be beneficial in certain cases to have Acupuncture whilst pregnant, either to help maintain a healthy pregnancy, or to manage uncomfortable symptoms.
Maintaining a healthy Pregnancy
Many women who have been having treatment for fertility choose to either continue or start acupuncture during pregnancy.
Some women come for treatment in pregnancy to manage a certain condition. Others have been having treatment for fertility, or have had problems in previous pregnancies, and once pregnant wish to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
In these cases, especially if there is a history of miscarriage I recommend treatment once a fortnight for the first 3 months, followed by treatment once a month until 36 weeks. From 36 weeks it is ideal to begin weekly Pre-Birth Preparation. To read more about this please click here
What Conditions are treated in Pregnancy?
This is a list of some of the more common conditions treated in Pregnancy. If you have a condition not listed here feel free to call Nicola on 01364 652220 or send a text to 07981 887 909 to discuss if Acupuncture can help you.
-Urinary Tract Infections
-Musculoskeletal conditions including Rib pain
-Pain of the neck and upper back
-Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Leg cramps
-Anxiety & Depression
-Pubic Symphysis Pain
How often should I have treatment?
This varies according to the condition. Some guidelines are given below under each section. We can also discuss this in your first session, as it will vary from person to person.
Fatigue is a natural part of pregnancy and is usually just a sign that you need more rest. Acupuncture can help boost your energy levels. During the session we will also discuss dietary and lifestyle changes that will help to maintain your energy at this time. Treatment frequency varies according to the severity of the condition and speed of change. Once a fortnight for the first 3 months would usually suffice.
Research has shown Acupuncture to be a safe and effective treatment for women who experience nausea and dry retching in early pregnancy. **
For some women it is miraculous and 2-4 weekly sessions is all that is required to alleviate the nausea.
For others particularly those with a history of severe nausea in pregnancy, Acupuncture does not alleviate it completely, but it may reduce the severity of the nausea.
Relevant dietary or lifestyle changes that may help can vary from person to person and is based on their individual Chinese Medical Diagnosis.
As the smooth muscles relax in the body in response to pregnancy hormones it becomes very easy to pull or strain a muscle. This type of pain usually responds quickly to treatment. Some discomfort in the lower back is very common, especially in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Back pain is more of an issue for women in early pregnancy who wish to avoid taking pain killers, especially for those women who have been managing chronic pain for years with medication that they no longer feel comfortable taking during pregnancy.
In severe cases weekly treatment may be necessary to avoid medication all the way through the pregnancy, especially if work conditions are aggravating the problem (e.g lots of standing, lifting or driving). For other less chronic conditions 4-6 weekly sessions followed by 2-3 fortnightly may be all that is required. This varies considerably from person to person but you should get an idea of the speed of change in the first few sessions. Many people feel instant benefits in their first session but it then takes a few sessions to ‘hold’ the pain relief so that it lasts.
Pubic Symphysis pain
Pain in the pubic bone can be a severe debilitating part of pregnancy. This type of pain usually responds very well and very quickly to Acupuncture. 2-3 weekly sessions may be all that is required to completely alleviate this. It is heart breaking to see women who have no idea that Acupuncture can help with this and who suffer for months unnecessarily before coming for treatment. Needles are not placed in the lower abdomen. Just a few needles are used in the lower legs and sometimes arms. Treatment is generally considered to be very relaxing and many people fall asleep when the needles are in. Research has shown that Acupuncture is superior to stabilizing exercises in the management of pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy, with acupuncture the treatment of choice for patients with one-sided sacroiliac pain, one-sided sacroiliac pain combined with symphysis pubis pain and bilateral sacroiliac pain. *
If you have severe itching during pregnancy it is important that you inform your midwife or doctor. Acupuncture can help alleviate itching during pregnancy. The amount of treatment varies considerably form person to person. A recommended amount would be 4-6 treatments although you would hope to see improvements in the first couple of sessions. Sometimes dietary changes can also help and this will be discussed in the treatment and based on your individual Chinese Medical Diagnosis.
Some women find that they have very ‘restless ‘legs’ in pregnancy, which can wake them at night and affect their sleep patterns. As sleep is so important in pregnancy it is essential to try to alleviate this symptom. Acupuncture is usually very effective in helping treat this. 4-6 treatments are usually recommended.
“That time was invaluable. I felt I was definitely doing something to improve the health of both me and my baby, which was in complete contrast to the scary things that were happening around us. I would (and do) recommend Nicola to anybody who can get to her for sessions, even five years on, I just recommended her to a pregnant friend this morning.”
“Nicola is an amazing practitioner. She’s calm, professional and confident and all of that oozes from her. Unlike experiences I’ve had with other acupuncture practitioners, I barely felt anything and had no unwanted side effects. 5 Years on & I still recommend her to everyone in Devon who asks me about acupuncture. Unfortunately I don’t live close enough anymore, or I’d be up there every week! I tried not to have any expectations beforehand but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked and how quickly – it was definitely a lifeline at that point, even though the conventional medics around me at that point were very anti complementary therapies. It brought my pain, blood pressure and overall anxiety level right down.”- Dorothy, 27 yr old who came for pain management, with an emphasis on back/neck/hip pain in pregnancy, including threatened pre-term labour and complications
For more information about Breech, Induction, Pre-Birth Preparation, and Post Birth Support, please click here
* Elden et al. (2005) published a randomized single blind controlled trial involving 386 pregnant women in the British Medical Journal (BMJ);330(7494):761
** Smith et al. (2002) published two articles from their research on nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. The first looked at the effectiveness of acupuncture and the second at the safety of acupuncture treatments in early pregnancy with 593 women who were less than 14 weeks pregnant. Complement Ther. Med.10(2):78-83