By: Kelly Kirles, L.Ac.
While many people have heard that acupuncture can help a woman achieve pregnancy they may not be aware that receiving acupuncture during pregnancy has many benefits!
Acupuncture relieves stress
Stress during pregnancy has been strongly linked to preterm delivery. Many mothers are very anxious about the health of their baby in the womb and are unable to relax. When they are in a state of constant stress the body pumps out the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, our “fight or flight hormones.” These hormones can weaken immunity, disrupt sleep, cause digestive issues and even cause the heart to beat excessively. Stress can also lead to gestational diabetes.
Acupuncture helps to ease nausea, morning sickness, constipation and heartburn
Morning Sickness is common in the first trimester of pregnancy although some women will unfortunately, have it for longer. Receiving acupuncture treatments can help soothe the digestive system and encourage regular bowel movements. Acupuncture and herbal therapy can be helpful in providing relief from heartburn as well. Heartburn usually tends to creep up during the middle to end of a women’s pregnancy and can be very uncomfortable.
Acupuncture can relieve pain and discomfort naturally and without medications
Back pain, leg cramping, varicose veins, neck tension and hemorrhoids are common ailments that occur during pregnancy. Acupuncture is a great way to resolve these problems so that you don’t have to take medications that may harm you or your baby.
Acupuncture lessens pre- and post-partum depression
There are many hormonal changes that come with pregnancy and they can be hard for women to manage on their own. It’s estimated that up to 14% of pregnant women have a major depressive episode at some point during or after their pregnancy. While antidepressants are commonly prescribed to people suffering from depression, there’s no definitive evidence on whether the medications are safe for pregnant women and fetuses. Regular exercise and acupuncture treatments have been shown to significantly reduce anxiety and depression better than anti-depressants!
Acupuncture may help resolve a breech presentation
Many babies are in a breech position, where the baby’s head is facing upwards instead of down, in the last 3 months of pregnancy. This can result in a mother being forced to have a cesarean section. If you are in your last trimester with a breech presentation, acupuncture, and probably moxibustion, can encourage the baby to turn. We have successfully turned many breech babies. 36 weeks is optimum for new mothers to receive treatment for breech presentation.
Acupuncture can help induce labor and can help smooth the labor process
There are times when it’s necessary to induce labor, either for the health of the mother or the baby. Many women now seek out acupuncture to help induce labor or to move the labor process along, as an alternative to pharmaceutical methods. It has been shown to improve contractions and cervical dilation. Acupuncture is much safer than taking petosin, which can cause such hard contractions, sometimes before complete dilation and the risk of tearing becomes greater. Working with an acupuncturist during your pregnancy is a good way to have support during labor if needed as they will be familiar with you and any health conditions you may have.
These are just a few of the many benefits acupuncture can offer a pregnant woman. Please contact our clinic for more information.