I am often asked if acupuncture and Chinese herbs are safe to use during pregnancy. The answer is emphatically, yes! Chinese medicine is not only safe for use before, during, and after a pregnancy, it is often used by women (and men) to assist with getting pregnant in the first place. However, this blog post is not going to be solely about infertility. Instead, I will answer a few common questions regarding the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine around pregnancy in general. Read on!
"Can acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine help me get pregnant?"
Quite simply, yes. I have seen it first hand, and I have colleagues who are helping couples conceive on a regular basis. Many women use acupuncture along with, or even without, conventional infertility treatments with great success. One study shows that acupuncture can increase conception rates by at least 26%, while addressing the underlying mechanisms for infertility without the harmful side-effects of modern drugs. You can read more for yourself HERE.
"Can acupuncture induce labor?"
While there are many acupuncture points that have been used for thousands of years for this very thing, technically speaking, labor induction is a Western medical treatment, and acupuncturists cannot advertise that they do such a thing. However, when it is close to your delivery date, acupuncture can help to prepare your body. Many women may experience stress, anxiety, sharp pains, or exhaustion when their due date is near. In these cases, and many others as well, acupuncture can help significantly, easing the stress that may accompany your first (or even third) pregnancy.
In addition, acupuncture treatments are well known for being able to turn a fetus if there is a possibility of a breech presentation. This is usually not a concern unless the baby has not turned into the proper position until after week 34 of the pregnancy. Acupuncture and moxibustion (warming of acupuncture points by burning and a special Chinese herb near or on them) are extremely valuable ways to help position the fetus accordingly.
"What conditions can acupuncture be used for during my pregnancy?"
During pregnancy many women experience varying combinations of the following: nausea and vomiting, fluctuations in body temperature, constipation, back pain, fatigue, emotional ups and downs, urinary frequency, breast tenderness, etc. These symptoms tend to come and go during the different trimesters of pregnancy, and some, especially morning sickness, are considered to be signs of a healthy pregnancy. This is true so long as the morning sickness fades by the 12th week of pregnancy, is not so bad that is causes dehydration, and so long as mom and baby are still receiving the proper nourishment from their food.
"Should I continue receiving acupuncture treatments after I deliver?"
Yes. This is actually a very important time for mom (and baby) to receive close care from an acupuncturist. Baby's health is dependent upon mom and dad's physical and emotional well-being during conception and pregnancy, and very much so on mom's after birth. Post-partum troubles may include depression, fatigue, abdominal pain, insufficient lactation, vaginal discharge, inflammation of the breasts, etc. Regular acupuncture is great for both moms and dads in order to help them regain their strength, replenish blood and fluids, and to make sure that they are in the best possible state of mind to take care of their newborn child.
This page is intended to serve as a source for links to blogs and articles about acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine that both new and returning patients may find informative and/or entertaining. It is also where I will share information about the history, principles, and benefits of this awesome medicine.