Acupuncture for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding
Posted May 02 2008 5:01pm
Acupuncture is ideal for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, because it is non-invasive and drug-free. Acupuncture is safe for you and your baby, and can support your body in maintaining a healthy and comfortable pregnancy. Some points, such as those on the lower abdomen and lower back, are avoided during pregnancy. Aside from these restrictions, acupuncture can be used safely at all stages of pregnancy.
Acupuncture for Pregnancy
Acupuncture can help with the difficulties some women experience during pregnancy, such as:
uterine bleeding, threatened or recurrent miscarriage
nausea and morning sickness
water retention and edema
low back ache, sciatic pain, other musculoskeletal pain
fatigue, poor sleep
treating other problems â€” such as colds and flu, pain, asthma, and digestive problems â€” without using drugs that may not be safe during pregnancy.
Acupuncture for Labor and Delivery
Acupuncture can also help support labor and delivery. I suggest a series of treatments starting about 6 weeks before your due date. Your acupuncturist can use a series of points that help relax the tendons and ligaments, soften the cervix, strengthen the uterus, and relieve tension and stress. Studies suggest that pre-birth acupuncture can decrease the length of labor, and reduce the likelihood of interventions such as chemical induction of labor, use of epidural anesthesia, and Caesarian delivery. You can see one of the studies here:
Other ways acupuncture can help with delivery:
Turn breech babies: a simple moxibustion technique is up to 95% effective in turning breech babies, if used in weeks 32-36. This alone could significantly reduce the rate of C-sections!
Induce labor without drugs. Chemical induction often results in labor that comes too hard and too fast for your body to handle, leading to a need for more interventions. Acupuncture is a gentler way to get things started.
Decrease pain during labor: ask your acupuncturist to teach you and your birth partner some acupressure points to use during labor. Women report a significant difference in pain and stress levels when these are used
Help speed healing and recovery after childbirth, adjust to hormonal changes, and reduce the stress of adjusting to parenthood.
Acupuncture for Breastfeeding
Acupuncture can also help with many breastfeeding difficulties, including:
problems with milk supply
mastitis or blocked milk ducts
irritated, sore nipples
(In case you’re wondering, this does not involve needling the breasts themselves! Most of the best points for these problems are on the hands and feet. Another great point is on the ribcage at the base of the breast, directly below the nipple. You can try massaging this point yourself to relieve discomfort or encourage milk flow.)