Pregnancy and Post Partum Care
Acupuncture during pregnancy can shorten labor and decrease the need for medical intervention.
The treatment of pregnancy-related conditions lies within the scope of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture is an ideal form of treatment, as it offers women drug-free relief from a multitude of problems that can arise during pregnancy and childbirth. It is a healing modality that can effectively be used with conditions that are viewed as a normal part of pregnancy such as nausea and musculoskeletal pain. Acupuncture can assist in improving the quality of life during pregnancy and prevent these and other conditions from becoming more serious.
Acupuncture during the 1st trimester
Treatment during this time helps the woman’s body adapt to pregnancy as well as prevent threatened miscarriage. It treats common first trimester symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
Recommended frequency: Weekly.
Acupuncture during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters
Treatment during this time relieves and prevents symptoms such as heartburn, hemorrhoids, back pain, anemia, insomnia, vaginal itching, sinusitis, anxiety and more. Recommended frequency: 1 to 2 times monthly.
Acupuncture is an ideal way to help women prepare for labor. Research has shown that the mean duration of labor in women giving birth for the first time was reduced by two hours in a group of women who received pre-birth acupuncture. . In addition, many minor discomforts that women experience around this time (heartburn, constipation, leg cramps, nasal congestion, swelling) can be relieved with acupuncture.
Pre-birth treatment assists in ripening the cervix, helping position the baby for labor and promoting optimal energy and stamina for women to enter into labor. Recommended frequency: Weekly, starting at week 36.
Data on 169 women was gathered by 14 midwives as part of their midwifery practice in New Zeland. It found that when comparing all caregivers (midwives, general practitioners and specialists) to thos women who received pre-birth acupuncture there was:
- An overall 35% reduction in the number of inductions (43% for those women having their first
- A 31% reduction in the epidural rate
- 32% reduction in cesarean delivery
- 9% increase in vaginal births
Acupuncture for Breech Babies
Typically, a baby will move to the head-down position within the pelvis around the 34th to 36th week of pregnancy. In some situations, the baby is either malpositioned (the head is in the pelvic outlet, but not in the best position) or malpresented (the baby has a body part other than the head presenting in the pelvic outlet). The use of acupuncture and moxabustion can be all the baby needs to move into the correct position.
Studies looking at the optimum time for turning a breech baby with moxabustion have found that intervention is most effective at week 34, before the baby has grown too large. Many practitioners and physicians wait until week 36, as many babies spontaneously turn by that time.
Acupuncture can be very effective and is often sought out to assist in labor induction. Most commonly, women who are past due (a full-term pregnancy can last from 38-42 weeks) often seek acupuncture for labor induction. In this situation, acupuncture points that are not used during pregnancy are used to stimulate the uterus and induce labor. Research has shown that acupuncture takes from 3 to 60 hours to initiate contractions. At least two acupuncture sessions are recommended.
Acupuncture can help during labor in the following ways:
- Induce labor naturally and ease progression of labor
- Ripens/dilates the cervix
- Relaxes and opens the pelvis
- Releases endorphins, encourages relaxation, manage labor pain
- Promotes effective uterine contractions if labor is not progressing optimally
- Turns breech/posterior babies
- Relieves a cervical lip
- Sustain a mothers energy
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Reduce the need for medical interventions
- Reduces postpartum hemorrhage
Birth Testimonial – Natalie D.
Monica offered a committed and uplifting presence to me throughout my pregnancy. Her acupuncture and personal doula care helped keep me calm and centered and profoundly supported my birth. When the contractions would arise, the acupuncture eased tension and helped me to go with the flow of nature! It was so valuable during my birth experience and I would highly recommend it