Acupuncture during pregnancy
Holistic approaches to various conditions and illnesses have become more and more popular in recent times. One reason why people are keen to try out alternative therapies like acupuncture is because there are virtually no side effects.
Since ancient times people have turned to acupuncture for many health conditions, including pregnancy. We can trace traditional Chinese medicine back a long way. As a form of medicine, acupuncture was used for thousands of years and in its most basic form it can be traced back to Ancient China between 5,000 and 7,000 years ago where it was used in Chinese Medicine.
What is acupuncture?
The ancient Chinese beliefs, on which acupuncture is founded, say that diseases develop in our bodies because the flow of life force energy through the body is blocked. The aim is to unblock and rebalance the flow of qi (the life force energy) through the body again. Acupuncture uses very thin needles but doesn't cause any pain and many people swear by its use for all manner of health conditions. One of these is pregnancy.
Acupuncture during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman's life but unfortunately it comes with lots of symptoms, some of which can be quite distressing and wearing. Morning sickness in particular can be difficult to cope with and the extreme form of this which is called 'hyperemesis gravidarum' is even worse. Traditional acupuncture in the area around the wrist has been shown to alleviate vomiting and nausea.
The acupuncture points used are very targeted and the needles stimulate nerves deep down to trigger the body to release endorphins. In turn, these endorphins can mute pain signals and reduce any unpleasant pregnancy symptoms. It can also help to resolve other general health issues.
Researchers have also shown that pelvic pain and other lower back pain in pregnancy can be reduced. Pregnant women who are treated with acupuncture on specific points on their ear during their second and third trimester, can see a huge relief in their back pain.
Similarly, women whose medication for depression may be reduced or changed during pregnancy, can be helped with acupuncture. And women with severe pregnancy-induced headaches can likewise use acupuncture to make them feel better.
It's even been found that pregnant women who have trouble getting to sleep and who wake frequently in the night, sleep better if they are treated with acupuncture.
Risks of acupuncture during pregnancy
Research has shown that acupuncture is safe to have during pregnancy. There are very few risks associated with accupuncture during pregnancy but there are a few specific points around the ankle which can cause contractions, so are best avoided.
Acupuncture can also be used to prepare the woman for a natural labour with a reduced duration and pain. Once given birth, accupuncture can help to ensure good breast-milk levels and restore the woman's menstrual cycle.
It goes without saying too that you should be very careful when looking for an acupuncture practitioner. Look for one who is a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAC), like the experts at the London Acupuncture Clinic, with experience of acupuncture during pregnancy.