Acupuncture for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding

March 30, 2008 at 10:26 pm 4 comments

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
  • sinus congestion
  • low back ache, sciatic pain, other musculoskeletal pain
  • fatigue, poor sleep
  • mood changes
  • treating other problems — such as colds and flu, pain, asthma, and digestive problems — 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 at: http://medicalacupuncture.org/aama_marf/journal/vol17_3/article_2.html

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
  • breast engorgement
  • 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.) 

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Acupuncture for Allergies Spring in Chinese Medicine

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mica  |  April 6, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    An old boss of mine swore by this, especially when she was breastfeeding, she had a weekly appointment she wouldn’t miss for the world. I hadn’t really remembered anything of it until now, as i’m googling breastfeeding, as I will have my own to do soon. There are so many different options for you at this time in your (and your child’s!) life, I am glad you reminded me of this one… here is one of the sites I have found most helpful weeding options out, and trying to figure how to take care of myself after the big day…

    do you have any suggestions for the frequency of acupuncture sessions? for a breastfeeding mom? thanks.

    Reply
  • 2. myacupuncture  |  April 8, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Hi Mica,

    Thanks for your comment. And, congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your baby!

    Timing of acupuncture appointments varies, but in general it’s great if you can get a treatment once a week. For some acute situations, it’s better to do it at least twice a week (for example, a painful case of mastitis that you want to clear up fast!). Once things are going smoothly, people often taper down to every 2-3 weeks, just for support and a “tune-up.”

    A lot of women (it sounds like your former boss was one of them) like to come every week for a while. They find it helps with the stress and adjustment of having a new baby around, and gives them a place to deal with minor health issues or breastfeeding problems as they come up. Plus it’s something they look forward to doing every week that is just for themselves.

    I wish you all the best for the birth and the beginning of motherhood. And remember to take good care of yourself, as well as your child!

    Marilyn

    Reply
  • 3. Marlene  |  May 8, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Hey I didn’t know that, wish I knew about acupuncture for pregnancy before. I love taking care of my baby but I really hate being pregnant, I had a hard time, was nauseous all the time, feel bad. feel faint. Even until now, when I smell things or hear songs that I heard when I was pregnant it brings back all 9 months trying times.

    For expectant mothers who want to know more about pregnancy and taking care of your babies, you can visit http://www.realsavvymoms.com, they even have experts to answer your questions.

    Reply
  • 4. Kelli Garner  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Really nice posts. I will be checking back here regularly.

    Reply

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