Sean has supported women and their partners for many years and because of his own family and wife’s experiences with acupuncture and childbirth, he especially loves helping and supporting a woman during her pregnancy.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective therapy that offers many benefits during pregnancy.
According to research “in pregnancy, acupuncture therapy may be a safe therapeutic modality for relieving discomfort without an adverse outcome”
General Pregnancy Treatment
Treatment during pregnancy depends on what support you need and where you are in your pregnancy. As a general rule, weekly or biweekly treatments through the first trimester can be beneficial to reduce symptoms and support the pregnancy and subsequently many women will use acupuncture as a safe and effective way to manage issues as they arise during the second and early into the third trimester.
Ideally weekly or biweekly treatments are given from 32 weeks until birth, helping to prepare for labour, reduce pain, support mental health, and improve sleep.
Acupuncture Treatment for Nausea
Nausea and/or vomiting in pregnancy tend to be more dominant in the first trimester. If more severe in nature, treatments 2/week for 2-3 weeks can successfully reduce nausea and improve appetite. For maintenance and to support healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients, weekly treatments are often enough. I also recommend passing off the cooking to your partner – if they love to cook it’s their time to shine, if they are just learning it’s their time to shine as well! It’s your time to rest and focus on yourself, your baby and being healthy.
It’s also important to be open to modifying your diet and listening to your body.
In 2002, the journal “Birth” concluded that
“Acupuncture is an effective treatment for women who experience nausea and dry retching in early pregnancy. “
Caroline Smith, Caroline Crowther, Justin Beilby. 2002 Mar;29(1):1-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-536x.2002.00149.x.Birth.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11843784/ – nausea and pregnancy
A study from the “Journal of Pain and Symptom Management” found that acupuncture produced no side effects, increased food intake, reduced vomiting, and produced a significantly faster reduction in nausea with patients who had real acupuncture.
https://www.jpsmjournal.com/article/S0885-3924(00)00185-8/fulltext#secd22131683e224 – nausea/vomiting in pregnancy.
If you are experiencing daily nausea that is preventing you from nourishing your body and your baby, it may be necessary to have treatment 2-3 times per week until the symptoms become more manageable. If the symptoms are more manageable and it is not preventing you from eating, sleeping or working, weekly treatments are often sufficient to help reduce nausea and improve your appetite.
It is also important to connect with your primary care provider or nutritionist to make sure you have the support you require. Supplementation with vitamin B6 can often be a successful treatment in combination with acupuncture, and the option of prescription medication should also be considered if recommended by your doctor.
Acupuncture to Help with Sleep
Sleep disturbances and insomnia are often a serious issue in pregnancy, and can affect a woman’s quality of life and overall health. As the pregnancy moves forward, sleep issues tend to amplify, with worse sleep coming into and towards the end of the thirst trimester.
Research suggests that acupuncture treatments can naturally increase melatonin levels, leading to a healthier circadian rhythm and more restful sleep. Better sleep means a better immune system, less anxiety and mood swings, and balanced appetite and metabolism.
A study from the Nature and Science of Sleep Journal, with 72 women found that “acupuncture treatment significantly improves the sleep quality in pregnant women”
The Nature and Science of Sleep: Effect of Acupuncture on Pregnancy-Related Insomnia and Melatonin: A Single-Blinded, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial13 May 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 271—278
https://www.dovepress.com/effect-of-acupuncture-on-pregnancy-related-insomnia-and-melatonin-a-si-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-NSS – acupuncture and pregnancy insomnia
If you are not sleeping well every night, it is recommended to start with 2/week treatments and when sleep starts to improve, reduce treatments to weekly or biweekly. For maintenance many people will come for a sleep treatment on a monthly basis.
Acupuncture for Pain during Pregnancy
Pain in pregnancy can take on many forms. Typically the first trimester is relatively pain free, but unfortunately it is common for women to experience chronic or acute pain that is unusual or specific to their pregnancy.
Acupuncture is an excellent, drug free choice to manage and reduce pain during pregnancy, including pelvic pain, lower back or lumbar pain, shoulder/neck pain, headaches, carpal tunnel.
Treatment depends greatly on the severity and onset of pain. Generally 2/week for 2 weeks can successfully reduce discomfort and acute pain. Following an initial course as outlined, ongoing weekly treatments
Treating Pain in Pregnancy with Acupuncture: Observational Study Results from a Free Clinic in New Zealand – Elizabeth Soliday, Debra Betts. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, February 2018, Pages 25-30