Prenatal Acupuncture
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Prenatal Acupuncture

“Acupuncture is the hidden gem of pregnancy self care.”

– First time mama and Vela patient, 2016

Acupuncture is a wonderful way to support your mind, body and spirit during pregnancy. Prenatal acupuncture is safe, effective and relaxing. You can access acupuncture at any point during pregnancy to address concerns from stress to constipation to pubic pain. Receiving regular acupuncture treatments in the last 4-6 weeks of pregnancy has also been associated with increased cervical ripening and shorter “more timely labors” (Betts, 2006).

What are benefits of prenatal acupuncture?

  • Reduce stress
  • Diminish pain
  • Build trust in body
  • Prepare for labor
  • Optimize fetal position

Prenatal acupuncture can address:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Back pain
  • Pubic pain
  • Headaches
  • Sinus congestion
  • Carpal tunnel

When is the right time for prenatal acupuncture?
Anytime! Prenatal acupuncture is safe and effective at any time during pregnancy. Seeing an acupuncturist who specializes in pregnancy is important for getting the most effective and appropriate care specifically tailored to your body and your pregnancy.

Here are some guidelines about when to seek out prenatal acupuncture:

Pain: At onset. Pain is easiest to treat at the onset and your body is busy growing a baby so may not have as many resources available to send towards your problem areas. Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to relieve musculoskeletal pain while helping reinforce a healthy pregnancy.

Stress: Anytime! Modern life is crazy and often too stressful. Growing a human while working, caring for other children or simply trying to navigate your normal life can be intense. Just a few tiny needles can shift your body out of “fight or flight” and into a more relaxed nervous state. This shift can help increase your resilience, reduce your pain or nausea, improve your sleep and help you feel more like yourself. Taking 30 minutes to pause your busy life and connect with your breath, body and baby can be a profound reset!

Wellness: Anytime! Feeling great? That is awesome, don’t be afraid to spread the word! We need more positive pregnancy stories in the world. You don’t have to feel bad to get acupuncture. Regular treatments can help you stay healthy, happy and pain free.

Birth preparation: 34-35 weeks. Starting weekly acupuncture around 34-35 weeks is ideal for birth preparation. If you know you tend to deliver early or have a planned induction or cesarean staring weekly acupuncture at 34 weeks may be recommended. Depending on your specific needs you may benefit from acupuncture more than once per week. Schedule a free consult to talk about your custom birth prep plan. Birth preparation acupuncture is beneficial for vaginal birth, VBAC and cesarean birth. Regular acupuncture leading up to vaginal birth has been associated with increased cervical ripening and shorter more timely deliveries (Betts, 2006). Regular acupuncture before a cesarean birth can help boost your immune system for a speedy recovery. As a doula, all birth preparation acupuncture session come with a healthy dose of built in doula love meaning lots of informational and emotional support as well as connecting you to all the great resources Portland has to offer!

Breech presentation: ~34 weeks. The ideal time to use moxibustion and acupuncture to help encourage a breech baby to flip is between 34 and 36 weeks. I recommend beginning to ask your midwife or OB about your baby’s position at any prenatal appointments beyond 30 weeks. A skilled practitioner can palpate your belly with their hands to determine baby’s position. Most babies are head down by 34 weeks but if your babe is not acupuncture and moxibustion along with breech positions like those on Spinning Babies may help. If you are beyond 36 weeks and just found out your baby is breech acupuncture and moxibustion is still worth trying.

What about postpartum???
Acupuncture is a wonderful postpartum nourishment ally. It can help with hormone regulation and associated night sweats and mood fluctuations. Acupuncture and cupping can help release sore muscles from the many hours spent nursing and holding your newborn. Six weeks of acupuncture can make a huge difference for cesarean scar recovery reducing pain and numbness as well as the visual appearance of the scar. Wondering if acupuncture can help with something specific postpartum? Your postpartum time is valuable so contact me directly to ask and I will tell you if acupuncture can help or connect you with the right resources to get the most effective care!

Check out these resources to learn more and see some of the research on acupuncture and pregnancy:

One note on acupuncture research: Acupuncture is often compared to “sham acupuncture” or needles that are placed on the point but that do not penetrate. This is not an effective comparison because even gently stimulating the acupuncture point still has benefits. Japanese style acupuncture is often performed without penetrating the skin and still is effective.

Debra Betts, acupuncturist and author, on cervical ripening.

Evidence Based Birth:
Labor Prep Information
Moxibustion for breech babies