Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of using small needles to stimulate specific areas or “meridians” in the body and to correct the body’s energy, or chi. Because acupuncture is particularly effective for chronic conditions, many pregnant women turn to acupuncture to provide drug-free relief from many unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy.
An Australian study showed that women who received acupuncture treatments regularly before their 14th week of pregnancy had less nausea and shorter bouts of morning sickness than women who did not receive treatment. Acupuncture has also been used to treat a serious condition Hyperemesis of pregnancy, causing severe vomiting that persists throughout pregnancy.
During the second trimester, acupuncture has been used to successfully treat heartburn and hemorrhoids. In the third trimester, acupuncture can provide relief from sciatica, joint pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, many women develop late in pregnancy. Acupuncture has even been used to relieve pain during childbirth.
Pregnant women who want to use acupuncture to treat developed during pregnancy should be sure to visit a licensed and experienced acupuncturist. For example, although acupuncture can be used to treat edema or swelling of the ankles, edema can be a sign of serious problems. An acupuncturist experienced in treating pregnant women would be more likely to recognize this problem and refer the patient back to her obstetrician.
The serious risk of using acupuncture during pregnancy is that it may stimulate labor if it is improperly applied. Choose an experienced practitioner of this risk almost negligible levels. In fact, many women have turned to acupuncture to purposefully stimulate job when their child is overdue. Some women have found acupuncture induced labor is milder than from drugs like Pitocin work.
In addition to benefits during pregnancy, birth, acupuncture has been used to promote fertility and to treat infertility. In a small German study, women who used acupuncture in conjunction with IVF had a 42.5% success rate, compared with 26.3% in women who used IVF alone. Fertility experts attribute this to the overall health that comes from getting regular treatments acupuncture points.
Finally, acupuncture may have some benefits in the treatment of postpartum depression. While no study has been done to support the efficacy of acupuncture treatment of postpartum depression, anecdotal evidence shows that some women benefit from its use. Because acupuncture is not harmful interactions, it can be useful free treatment.