I get asked a lot whether acupuncture is safe during pregnancy. The answer is YES. In fact it is a great way to treat any pregnancy niggles and keep yourself and your baby well.
Pregnancy is a special time which brings huge physical and emotional changes. Acupuncture is an relaxing, safe and effective treatment at all stages of pregnancy. It offers drug-free relief for many conditions and there is growing research to support its benefits.
How does Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture helps return the body to optimum health. Daily stresses, lifestyle choices and injury upset our balance and cause physical and emotional symptoms. Gentle stimulation of acupuncture points brings your body and mind back to health.
Acupuncture triggers the body’s natural healing response releasing hormones and natural painkillers (according to research and MRI scans).
What can Acupuncture help with?
Benefits of Acupuncture for Birth Preparation
I see many patients at the end of their pregnancies for some gentle acupuncture treatment to help prepare for labour. Towards the end of pregnancy you will no doubt start to think about the birth. As one of life’s great unknowns there can be some anxiety around how it is going to go.
This is where acupuncture can help. It is a totally safe and very effective treatment which can help prepare you physically and emotionally for labour.
Aches and Pains
Acupuncture is helpful at treating those end of pregnancy aches and pains (because as we know, you can’t take any medication during pregnancy). Having a few acupuncture treatments can stimulate the body's natural pain relief and help with back and pelvic pain.
The acupuncture points I use have been shown to help to soften and ripen the cervix, stimulate gentle contractions and reduce labour time.
If you are booked in for an induction acupuncture can make the process go more smoothly by preparing the body. In some cases patients have gone into labour naturally and avoided being medically induced.
I also put acupressure stickers on certain acupuncture points so partners can press them during labour to stimulate the body's natural endorphins and pain relief.
The end of pregnancy can be a stressful time. Finishing work, preparing the nursery, thinking about labour, reading up on how to care for a newborn and not getting much sleep. It's not surprising that anxiety can creep in. Acupuncture can help to calm the mind and reduce any stress that patients are experiencing. My patients often float out of their treatments feeling calm and confident.
Acupuncture can also help turn a breeched baby! (see previous post)
How can Acupuncture help after I've had my baby?
Help recovery after birth
Treat itchy, painful, numb c-section scars
Treat emotional upset, shock, depression
Bring on milk
As ever, my advice is that your GP or midwife is the first port of call for anything that you are concerned about but please do get in touch if you would like to find out more about how acupuncture can help.
As an aside... Last week I gave a talk to the delightful midwives at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London. I was telling them about acupuncture and how it could help their patients during their pregnancy, labour and post-natally. Their enthusiasm and excitement to learn about new, alternative ways to help their patients was inspiring.
So if you are pregnant and lucky enough to be under the care of the midwives at the Chelsea & Westminster do ask them what they thought!
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