Performing acupuncture on expecting moms has a number of benefits and uses. Acupuncture is part of a holistic approach to health and pregnancy. As part of treatment, your acupuncturist will discuss diet and lifestyle to help you stay healthy throughout pregnancy and the post-partum period. In this article, we will explore the treatment process and how acupuncture helps in early pregnancy.
How Does Acupuncture Help in Early Pregnancy?
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into areas of the body that stimulate the nervous system to release endorphins, serotonin, and hormones in the spinal cord, the brain, and muscles. Endorphins and serotonin are chemicals the body produces as natural painkillers. In fact, endorphins and serotonin help the body to regulate pain, promote the body’s self-healing abilities and help people to maintain a healthy emotional and physical state.
Acupuncture treatment is comprised of three components: needle insertion, manipulation, and removal. Acupuncture points are located in a variety of places on the body. The practitioner will explain where and why they are placing needles as they proceed. Your acupuncturist will insert needles at varying depths into the stimulus points. The sharp, thin needles cause little or no discomfort or pain other than perhaps a mild sensation when a needle reaches the correct depth. Apart from helping patients relax, many fall asleep during treatment. The acupuncturist will then manipulate the needles at the insertion point by twisting them by hand. Alternatively, your acupuncturist may apply heat or mild electrical pulses to the needles. A typical session lasts between 10 and 20 minutes. Taking the needles out is painless.
How it helps
Acupuncture helps to build energy and encourages relaxation throughout pregnancy by relieving anxieties and frustrations.
In the first trimester, acupuncture helps to maintain a pregnancy and can alleviate or ease nausea, heartburn, and tiredness. However, for expecting moms further along with pregnancy, acupuncture can ease and reduce general aches and pains, swelling, and relieve constipation.
In the third trimester, acupuncture works to help the body prepare for labor. The acupuncturist will focus on a set of pre-birth acupuncture points as well as on any individual needs of the patient.
At the pre-birth stage, acupuncture prepares the body for labor by toning and nourishing the body. In fact, acupuncture helps the body to relax and softens the uterine ligaments. Studies suggest that acupuncture assists with bringing blood flow to the pelvis. This then encourages the baby to descend into the birth canal in the correct position, while at the same time preparing the cervix to soften and dilate, and the uterine muscles to effectively contract when needed.
Acupuncture is perfectly safe. Nevertheless, pregnant women must exercise caution as it is thought that acupuncture can cause premature labor. However, this is the subject of debate and depends on each individual patient. Medical professionals do not recommend acupuncture for people who bruise or bleed easily, people who are using blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder.
Acupuncture can promote natural and spontaneous labor which reduces the need for induction. It can also reduce the need for medical interventions such as C-sections, forceps deliveries, and epidurals. Acupuncture can also reduce birthing time on average by 1.5 hours. Therefore, if you have given birth before you will definitely appreciate giving birth faster.
Additional Reading: Is Acupuncture Safe While Pregnant?
Southlake Natural Family Wellness
Our mission is to support the health and well-being of our patients by offering individualized, comprehensive holistic care including acupuncture, herbal recommendations, customized nutritional counseling, allergy elimination (NAET), whole food supplements, lifestyle suggestions, moxibustion, and cupping, as well as helping couples get pregnant and STAY pregnant by supporting all the paths to conception.
About Farrah Hamraie
Farrah Hamraie, L.Ac, MOM, Dipl.OM (NCCAOM), is licensed and board-certified in Acupuncture and Herbal medicine in the State of Texas with a Masters of Oriental Medicine from the Dallas College of Oriental Medicine. She is also a Diplomat of NCCAOM (the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), a Board Certified Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, and a member of the American Association of Oriental Medicine.