Barbara Poczyniak, R.Ac
I'm often surprised to learn that many women are still not aware of the benefits of acupuncture treatments in pregnancy. Here are my answers to the top 5 questions I hear about getting acupuncture while you are pregnant.
Is Acupuncture During Pregnancy Safe?
Yes! Acupuncture is gentle and effective treatment for many issues that women face in pregnancy. Most Registered Acupuncturists have training to work with pregnant women, but be sure to inquire about their levels of experience in this area. Note that other types of acupuncture providers such as chiropractors or massage therapists generally cannot offer acupuncture treatments during pregnancy, as this is not within their scope of practice.
How can Acupuncture help in Pregnancy?
Acupuncture can help during all stages of pregnancy. During the first trimester it can help maintain a pregnancy, as well as alleviate any issues such as fatigue and nausea. It is an excellent pain relief remedy for back pain and other body discomfort when women do not wish to take pain relief medication. Throughout pregnancy it can aid with common problems such as heartburn, constipation and insomnia.
Where do the Needles go for Acupuncture in Pregnancy?
Depending on the issue being treated needles may be put into acupuncture points on the hands, arms, feet and legs. Point locations could also include ear, face or scalp points. They may be 'local points' on the back if you are experiencing back pain, or your practitioner may choose 'distal points' instead. There are always choices for the acupuncture points we can use in a particular treatment, and both safety and comfort are top priorities. There are also a number of acupuncture points that are NOT used during pregnancy for safety reasons.
Can Acupuncture help turn a Breech Baby?
Acupuncture and moxabustion (burning a herbal 'cigar' made of mugwort near a specific acupuncture point on the baby toe) can indeed be useful for helping to turn a breech baby. Each woman's situation is different, but ideally best results can be expected at around week 33-35. I usually suggest a combination of acupuncture visits in the office plus daily 'moxabustion homework' for 5-10 days in a row at home.
Can Acupuncture Induce Labour?
Technically only an MD can offer labour induction - as this is a medical procedure. With acupuncture we can help prepare the body for an easier labour and delivery. Ideally acupuncture treatments will have started at least 3 weeks prior to expected due date. If a woman is past her due date (and is having a normal, healthy pregnancy), acupuncture can be used to help encourage labour to start. It can also be used for pain relief during labour and delivery. During this time we start to incorporate a few of the 'forbidden points' that are not to be used earlier in pregnancy. These acupuncture points are thought to stimulate uterine contractions, therefore are saved until the last days of pregnancy for this purpose.
Looking for more information for Acupuncture in Pregnancy? We offer a free 20 minute discovery session that can be booked here.
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Hi, I'm Barbara Poczyniak. Registered Acupuncturist practicing in Toronto.