I get a lot of questions about what acupuncture can do to aid pregnancy and a lot of people are completely unaware that it can help at all. In fact, acupuncture works very well for morning sickness, turning a breach baby or even to induce and during labour. I created this fact sheet to help women make informed decisions about treatment and through my work with various Hypnobirthing groups in Bristol and Cornwall, this information is being distributed to women in those groups... I thought i may as well share it here too!
Acupuncture is a centuries old, tried and tested medicine used to help women deliver millions upon millions of healthy babies. The difficulty is that during pregnancy, quick decisions often need to be made about which treatment is right & what treatments out there actually do work? It can be a very anxious time for an expectant mother and so this fact sheet is aimed at trying to give mothers some helpful advice so they can decide what is right for themselves and their baby.
Finding out the baby's sex
In China, the ancient diagnostic method of pulse-taking was used as the standard way to determine the sex of a baby with astounding accuracy. In fact, the tradition is still used today and your acupuncturist should be able to tell you the sex of the baby, especially by the third trimester (as long as the mother isn't expecting twins of different sexes).
Acupuncture for pregnancy nausea has long been recognised to help. In fact some NHS services offer acupuncture for just this depending on the area you live in. Travel sickness wristbands, which are often thought to double up as morning anti-sickness bands, work by putting pressure on an acupuncture point. The difficulty is, if you don't know exactly where that point is, the wristband will be useless. An acupuncturist will be able to accurately locate the correct area to apply pressure. They will also use needles to effectively stop nausea and sickness and often only one treatment is required.
Acupuncture to prevent miscarriage
It is important to say that if there is a defect in the foetus then unfortunately acupuncture will not be able to save the baby as miscarriage can be a natural process. However if you are habitually miscarrying then there is clearly a problem. Acupuncture is used to help bring the mother's body back to optimum health so that the foetus has the best possible chance to develop and grow, enabling the mother to carry the baby to full term.
Acupuncture to turn breech babies
It has long been a tradition to turn babies with this age old method. Many studies have been conducted which prove that this method has a very high success rate. An acupuncturist will use moxa, which is a herb made from the mugwort plant. The herb is moulded into a cigar-like stick and is set alight and smoulders near specific acupuncture points. The mother is given homework to do this herself every evening until the baby turns. It has instant effects and the mother will be able to feel the baby moving once the heat is applied.
Acupuncture to induce babies
Again, acupuncture to induce babies has a long tradition and is actually quite simple. All an acupuncturist needs to do is encourage the mother's energy to move downwards. Again, acupuncture treatment will not force nature and so if the baby needs a little more time then treatment will not start the birthing process immediately but it will get the body ready for imminent labour by starting to open and stretch the cervix. Once this begins the baby will too be preparing and birth will be shortly round the corner!
Verity Allen Acupuncture