Many women have certain tips, tricks and secrets that they use to help them relax during pregnancy – so while the science is still out on pregnancy acupuncture, there are many who believe it to be very effective at relieving pregnancy stress, among a number of other benefits.
What is acupuncture?
Based around the Chinese medicine concept of “qi,” acupuncture involves inserting many small needles into specific points across the body that are situated on energy pathways, known as meridians. Those who practice acupuncture believe that this therapy can help relieve the discomfort associated with pregnancy by restoring the correct flow of “vital energy” across the body.
“Acupressure” is similar to acupuncture in that it involves applying pressure to certain points across the body, but acupressure uses a firm massage rather than needles, so some may be more comfortable with this method.
How can acupuncture help?
Having been around for thousands of years, the intersection of pregnancy and acupuncture is nothing new, and there are thousands of women who believe they have benefitted from acupuncture during pregnancy, in a number of different ways, though the most common maladies managed through acupuncture include morning sickness, back pain, fatigue, migraines, and heartburn. Many believe acupuncture and acupressure may also relieve some of the pain of labor contractions.
Are there any risks?
For a procedure that involves so many sharp needles, acupuncture is considered quite safe. So long as your acupuncture therapist is experienced in dealing with pregnant women, and is nationally-certified, acupuncture carries very little risk, though there is some risk of soreness or bruising around the needle site, and a slight risk of infection. It’s a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider before starting acupuncture during pregnancy. There are some pressure points that may cause contractions, so you should make sure that your therapist knows you are pregnant before you begin the treatment.
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- J Park, Y Sohn, A R White, H Lee. “The safety of acupuncture during pregnancy: a systematic review.” Acupuncture in Medicine. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2013-010480. Web. 2/19/2014.