Acupuncture during pregnancy offers you a safe, drug-free and effective treatment throughout all stages of pregnancy. It can be particularly useful during times when symptoms such as nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are experienced by smoothing the flow of energy and promoting well-being.
Patients have presented to my clinic with the following complaints or conditions:
Towards the end of pregnancy and past the due date, acupuncture is often used to encourage the natural onset of labour. Ideally, it is best to have weekly treatment, particularly at week 37, 38 and 39 to harmonize the mother's energy and to focus on the process of labour.
enhance fetal position
prepare the pelvis for labour and help ripen the cervix
help build the energy reserves of the mother
In New Zealand, in 2004 a study was done looking at 169 women who received pre-birth acupuncture given by midwives.
35% reduction in the number of inductions
31% reduction in the epidural rate
Compared with midwifery only a 32% reduction in emergency caesarean delivery
9% increase in normal vaginal births
It was also noted by the midwives involved in the study that they observed a trend in the women who received pre-birth treatment to respond particularly well to acupuncture induction, further reducing the need for medical induction.
Annabel will also teach you and your birthing partner how to self-administer acupressure on points on the body, a method that can be used during each phase of labour. Acupressure can reduce the intensity of contractions during labour significantly, and can also be used just prior to labour to help move things along if the woman then goes overdue in her pregnancy.
In China, where acupuncture originated, a herb called "moxa" is gently smouldered over a particular acupuncture point on the toe to help in turning breech position babies.
Moxa treatment entails the mother and if possible, her partner, coming for a session to learn the technique, and treatment is then done at home twice a day for 7-10 days.
The optimum time to try to turn a breech baby is from 34 weeks, so it is encouraged to have treatment as soon as it has been confirmed that your baby is breech. Babies can still turn right up until the end of pregnancy, although it is less likely after 38 weeks.
In addition to moxibustion, acupuncture can add an additional boost to help energise the turn, and points selected have a direct link to bring the energy and blood to the uterus. Annabel will discuss with you whether you would like to have the acupuncture alongside moxibustion and also provide advice on how you can help your baby turn into an anterior position before labour begins.
Women often come to see Annabel near or past their due date to receive acupuncture treatment to balance their energy and encourage the natural onset of labour, prior to a chemical induction. Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment working harmoniously with the delicate hormonal balance of late pregnancy, stimulates uterine contractions, dilates the cervix and aims to promote efficient labour by invigorating and descending a woman’s energy to allow her baby to be born. A small observational study of 14 midwives over four months indicated acupuncture treatment before labour was beneficial in reducing medical interventions, compared with midwifery care without acupuncture.
Ideally, Annabel likes to see her patients sometimes before a medical induction is scheduled. In some cases, women will only require one treatment, but more commonly two or three treatments are required to sustain contractions. This will depend on how far beyond term the pregnancy is and the health and readiness of the mother and baby. Everyone is different in terms of how they respond and no two pregnancies are ever the same.
It is very beneficial to have acupuncture treatment in the immediate days after childbirth. Labour can be very taxing on the woman's body and health, and post-natal acupuncture can help to build the body's reserves of energy. In Chinese, Medicine rest is considered vital to replenish the mother's energy and to give the mother and her newborn time to bond and flourish.