By Riva Preil
Pregnancy is an exciting and wonderful time, but with the many physical and hormonal changes that occur, it can also be a time of extreme discomfort. Many pregnant women suffer from fatigue, nausea, reflux, and back pain. Acupuncture is a safe, gentle and effective way to address these complaints. Prenatal acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help women support a healthy pregnancy and uncomplicated delivery. Regular acupuncture during pregnancy sets the foundation for a healthy mother and baby. Current research suggests that women who receive acupuncture during pregnancy often have a shorter and easier birth experience. Several European studies have concluded that weekly acupuncture starting 6 weeks prior to the due date results in significantly shorter labor.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment for breech presentation has also been in use for thousands of years. It has a success rate of 75% and carries no risk to mother or baby. It is believed to release hormones that stimulate the uterus and increase fetal activity, which encourages the baby to turn on its own. This is generally performed between weeks 32 – 36. When successful, the baby will turn within 24 hours of treatment. Sometimes only one treatment is sufficient, or it may take several sessions for the baby to reposition itself.
Acupuncture for labor induction is safe for both mother and baby as long as there are no serious complications with the pregnancy. It is most effective starting the week of the baby’s due date.
Adapted from material by Paula Haberman, PT, L.Ac