Acupuncture and Pregnancy

By: Dzhingarov

Pregnancy can be an exciting and beautiful time, yet can sometimes cause discomfort such as backache, nausea or insomnia. Acupuncture may provide relief and is generally considered safe for pregnant women.

Acupuncturists are trained to avoid stimulating any acupuncture points that might induce contractions or early labor, yet research has not demonstrated a connection between stimulating these forbidden points and negative pregnancy outcomes.

Pain

Women expecting multiples often experience pelvic and back pain during their first trimester due to increased pressure on their lower back, especially if they have had previous back issues or are carrying multiples. Acupuncture may help ease this discomfort during this stage of gestation.

According to an analysis of data from ten randomized controlled trials, acupuncture can significantly help pregnant individuals alleviate lower back or pelvic pain during gestation. Furthermore, no observable major adverse side effects were noted among babies born of mothers who received acupuncture during their last trimester of gestation.

Researchers believe acupuncture helps ease discomfort associated with pregnancy by activating endorphins, stimulating them to increase blood flow to areas being treated, and decreasing stress hormones in the body. Although each person responds differently, researchers believe this explains why acupuncture may provide significant relief during this condition.

Acupuncture not only relieves lower back and pelvis pain, but can also assist with cervical ripening – something essential if women want to avoid C-sections.

Acupuncture has also been proven effective for treating depression during pregnancy, particularly for women not using antidepressants. According to one study, those receiving acupuncture had lower HAM-D scores than their non-acupuncture control group or massage therapy control group, suggesting it might be an attractive alternative to antidepressants in pregnant women. More research needs to be conducted, while it is recommended that women with specific medical conditions (such as bleeding disorders or pacemakers) consult their doctor prior to beginning an acupuncture treatment during their gestational gestation.

Nausea

Acupuncture has long been used to effectively treat pregnancy-related symptoms, including morning sickness. FDA-approved therapies like acupuncture may even cover its costs – though beware: when considering having it during your pregnancy it’s essential that an experienced practitioner be used and that you consult your healthcare provider first before beginning treatment.

Acupressure points on the wrist have been proven to reduce pregnancy-induced nausea by activating several brain chemicals that block pain signals from the stomach, and may help with other pregnancy-related symptoms like heartburn and fatigue. Acupuncture can also stimulate progesterone and oxytocin production which, together, may alleviate nausea and vomiting.

Researchers from Adelaide University conducted a recent study where 593 pregnant women who experienced nausea or vomiting at less than 14 weeks gestation were randomly allocated either traditional acupuncture, PC6 acupuncture, sham acupuncture or no acupuncture for four weeks. Women receiving traditional or PC6 acupuncture reported significantly less nausea, dry retching and vomiting compared to control group.

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Acupuncture can be an ideal natural treatment for morning sickness. Since most pregnant women don’t take over-the-counter drugs like antacids and other nausea remedies, acupuncture may offer an attractive alternative. If nausea persists after several sessions of acupuncture in the first trimester, more frequent sessions might be recommended; otherwise most people’s nausea subsides fairly quickly. Your acupuncturist will advise you about their frequency at your initial consultation based on factors like your constitution, medical history and body’s response to treatment.

Insomnia

Acupuncture has proven itself an effective and safe treatment option for insomnia during pregnancy. A 2014 review of 105 studies examined this subject showed a low rate of negative side effects from acupuncture during gestation, mostly pain at the site where needles are inserted.

Insomnia during early gestation may be caused by hormone shifts and nausea; during the second trimester physical issues can play an integral role in disrupting restful slumber – back pain, heartburn, swelling ankles/feet/frequent need to urinate etc. Acupuncture therapy has proven invaluable in providing relief in these instances and more.

Studies have shown that acupuncture significantly enhanced sleep quality for pregnant women by increasing overnight melatonin secretion. Furthermore, an aggregate review of 15 studies on this subject indicated that even inserting needles into traditionally forbidden points – like lower back points – during gestation did not increase the risk of complications like preterm birth and stillbirth.

Experts often advise pregnant patients against engaging in acupuncture during their first trimester due to certain points that can increase miscarriage risk; however, it’s essential that they work with an experienced practitioner who knows how best to care for pregnant patients. It is also vitally important that they inform their acupuncturist of all other treatments they are receiving, medications they are taking or medical conditions they have as soon as possible.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition affecting muscles and joints. Symptoms include pain, fatigue and tenderness in muscles and joints. Painful sensations include deep muscular ache, burning sensations or shooting pains that shoot across your body like tight bands; pressure that seems constantly on the body or tight bands feel tight against it – the sensation typically worsens at night when cold or dampness are present – stiffness headaches sleep problems anxiety are also all possible as can stiffness stiffness headaches sleeping problems or anxiety arise as potential culprits in any given day – making diagnosis even harder!

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Fatigue and IBS are common symptoms of fibromyalgia. Acupuncture may provide a potential remedy to these and other symptoms associated with it, including numbness or pain in extremities and difficulty sleeping patterns. Furthermore, getting adequate rest can make symptoms of fibromyalgia worsen over time.

One study demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture to ease pregnancy-related fibromyalgia pain relief when compared with people receiving sham acupuncture treatments. Ten40 women participated in nine trials that reviewed body and ear acupuncture respectively; some studies included forbidden points as part of their treatments – these can lead to contractions or cervical changes and should therefore only be discussed with your OB prior to undertaking them.

Fibromyalgia is not uncommon among pregnant women, yet it may lead to some dangerous complications during gestation. One such complication is Venous Thromboembolism (VTE), in which blood clots break loose from leg veins and travel up into the lungs causing serious health risks to both mother and baby. VTE may even prove fatal for both mother and child.

Depression

Depression during pregnancy is an unfortunately prevalent and serious condition. An estimated 15% of pregnant women develop major depressive disorder and can experience adverse side effects that could harm both mother and child. Antidepressants may be prescribed, however these drugs can have harmful side effects for both mother and baby – making acupuncture an attractive and safe solution to help with depression during gestation.

Stanford University researchers recently conducted a controlled trial demonstrating that pregnant women suffering from major depressive disorder who received acupuncture to treat their symptoms experienced significant improvement over those who didn’t receive the therapy. Acupuncture was designed specifically to target fatigue and feelings of hopelessness associated with depression during gestation, while it also helped decrease dry retching, nausea, anxiety and reduce dry retching during early gestation periods.

In this study, the acupuncture treatment used was provided by experienced practitioners who had been trained to work with pregnant patients. Acupuncture points used were located on feet, hands and abdomen for each session – similar to what would be recommended by the International Association of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine as an effective means of combatting depression during gestation.

if you’re experiencing depression during your pregnancy, it is important to speak to both your prenatal care provider and a mental health professional to explore options available to you. If acupuncture may help alleviate symptoms of depression, schedule an appointment with a licensed acupuncturist who has extensive experience treating pregnant patients as well as special training in women’s health issues.