“Acupuncture is the hidden gem of pregnancy self care.”
– First time mama and Vela patient, 2016
– 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?
Prenatal acupuncture can address:
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.
“I am so thankful to have found Allie! During my recent pregnancy I saw Allie for pregnancy related pelvic pain, stress relief, and assorted pregnancy symptoms. Through acupuncture my pelvic pain was quickly relieved and completely disappeared for the remainder of my pregnancy. I looked forward to the relief I felt at every appointment and appreciated Allie's listening ear and gentle advice. Having never been one to enjoy doctor's visits, I have learned the true power of natural medicine and will absolutely continue use of acupuncture with Allie for ongoing wellness.”
“Allie became an integral support to me during my final trimester of pregnancy, both physically and emotionally. During appointments Allie was informative and always remembered key details from previous visits. I appreciated her listening ear at a time when I was so vulnerable and that she was endlessly respectful of my emotions, thoughts and opinions. She has an incredible ability to make you feel like you are her only client and that she is your number one advocate for your health and wellbeing. It is both Allie's holistic approach to wellness and her respect for me as a patient that has enabled me to find trust in the power of natural medicine.”
“During my pregnancy I sought help from Allie to treat severe pelvic pain, offer stress relief and to address additional pregnancy symptoms through acupuncture. Being someone who has never found trust in medicine and having never been treated with acupuncture, I didn't know what to expect. Allie's compassionate demeanor put me quickly at ease and her acupuncture treatment gave me fast relief from the pain and discomfort I was experiencing.”
"The support Allie gave me during my pregnancy, both physically and emotionally, is something I will always remember. She has such a talent for what she does and I just want to shout it from the rooftops whenever I hear of someone who could benefit from her help!”
“Everything Allie has done to help us during this momentous time in our lives has been invaluable. She helped make our pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum experience very special and we can’t imagine having it done it without her kindness, wisdom, depth and knowledge.”
“I first walked into Allie's office on verge of tears. I had been having an incredibly challenging pregnancy, and my latest struggle was severe nerve pain that was keeping me awake all night. I had sought help from several alternative practitioners with no change. Sleep deprived, hormonal and almost hopeless, I was edgy and not too friendly. Allie was exactly what I needed. She has a genuineness about her that immediately relaxed me. I didn't know if she could help my pain, but I trusted her. I received acupuncture from Allie for rest of pregnancy. She helped me on so many levels, physically and emotionally. She was such a soothing presence as well as incredible wealth of information and wisdom. My healthy baby girl and I are so grateful!”
"Allie was excellent while I was going through pregnancy! She had a calm demeanor, and was intuitive to my needs through the whole acupuncture process. I credit her for sparking labor, that was long overdue. I trust her with all reproductive mama-centered support, and highly recommend!"
“I saw Allie throughout my pregnancy for all the lovely things that come along with growing a human. Sacral pain, morning sickness, sinus pain, insomnia, etc. All I can say is you want her on your health team! Allie is such a warm and loving person but she's also an experienced practitioner who was able to give me the relief needed to get me through those trimesters. After completing the birth series, I had a great first birth experience that I have no doubt was attributed to the prenatal preparation treatment from Allie!”
“I've been seeing Allie for the last 2 months of my pregnancy for acupuncture. She takes the time to listen to what's going on and help alleviate some of the many third trimester discomforts I've been experiencing. I'm grateful for her care and attention.”