Acupuncture & Pregnancy
Having a baby is not only a physical process but also an immensely emotional and spiritual journey.
We notice that women will often seek acupuncture for relief from stress/anxiety and also from physical pregnancy-related aches/pains/nausea & vomiting as they are reluctant to take medication yet are driven to ‘keep up’ with the many demands on them in their busy lives.
Pregnancy acupuncture treatment also provides you the valuable opportunity to chill-out, time to get in tune with your body & your baby.
Please feel free to give us a call should you have any queries!
Acupuncture is provided to some women by a midwife in countries such as England, Germany, Scandinavia and New Zealand with the awareness that needling in the perinatal period may enhance the provision of high quality, safe, midwifery care because it provides women with choice and also an option of a natural intervention that may assist some of the common discomforts of pregnancy.
Toward End Of Term
Some pregnant women like to receive treatment at this end of their pregnancy to address issues such as:
- Aches & pains.
- Calming anxiety (references below) and stress – 30 minutes of lying in a darkened room, propped and surrounded by fluffy pillows, listening to beautiful & quiet background music, acupuncture needles strategically located to induce deep relaxation… this is a potent cocktail!
* Please remember to bring your hospital card with you to these sessions.
We Are On Your Team
We support your choices. This is your pregnancy and we are on your team during this extraordinary time regardless of whether your intention is to have an elective C-Section, vaginal, a lotus birth, or a VBAC. Our service is additional to and we work in conjunction with the care you are receiving from your Obstetrician / Shared Care GP / Midwife / prescribed medication. We receive referrals from Ob’s, Midwives & Shared Care GP’s.
Planning a VBAC?
A gift for you, here is an evidence-based, unbiased discussion of the risks and benefits of both VBAC and repeat cesarean that is written in a straightforward, helpful way: Power to Push – VBAC Info Booklet.
Please always try to remember to bring your hospital card with you to acupuncture sessions.
Do I Need to Bring Anything to the Pregnancy Acupuncture Treatment?
Please try to remember to bring your hospital card with you to your Acupuncture appointments. This helps us to keep up to date with your recent Ob/Midwife/Shared Care GP checks.
Examples Of Some Pregnancy Related Conditions Which Have Been Shown To Respond To Acupuncture
Practitioners at House of Fertility & Healing employ treatment protocols utilising evidence based treatments with respect and congruency with the traditional wisdom that we were each trained in.
In this research focused world, anecdotal evidence (based on an individual’s personal experience) is viewed by science minded individuals as inferior to scientific evidence (proof based on findings from systematic observation & measurement). Below is a preliminary list of pregnancy related conditions which are considered to have been scientifically proven to respond well to acupuncture treatment.
The conditions listed below are from the body of current research evidence using human subjects and based on National Health and Medical Research Council Level 1 evidence (systematic reviews), also a small number of good quality Level 2 studies (these are randomised controlled trials). All these studies regarding pregnancy and some pregnancy related health conditions are less than 5 years old.
Acute pain: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving various types of acute pain, including studies where acupuncture was delivered in hospital Emergency Departments.
Anxiety: Acupuncture and acupressure have been shown to relieve anxiety in several contexts, including pre-surgical anxiety, student examination anxiety, anxiety during embryo transfer in IVF and anxiety during pregnancy.
Chronic pain: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving various types of chronic pain.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving carpal tunnel syndrome pain.
Insomnia: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in improving sleep quality and quality of life in primary insomnia, also in various types of secondary insomnia including menopausal, post-stroke, depression-related and cancer-related insomnia.
Low back pain: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving both chronic and low back pain and has been given a strong recommendation for both in the clinical practice guidelines of the American College of Physicians.
Headache (tension-type and chronic): Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving and preventing tension-type and chronic headache.
Migraine prophylaxis: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in both preventing and relieving migraine.
Neck pain: Acupuncture has been shown itself to be effective in relieving neck pain.
Sciatica: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving sciatic pain and it compares favourably (in a network meta-analysis) with many other therapies.
Shoulder pain: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving shoulder pain.
With the profusion of new high quality research being conducted and released around the world we will add to this list.
* (Please also see Acupuncture Treatments)
1) Cohen, M. M., Smit, De Villiers, Adrianopoulos, Nick, Ben-Meir, Ben, Taylor, David McD, Parker, Shefton J, Xue, Charlie C, Cameron, Peter A (2017). Acupuncture for analgesia in the emergency department: a multicentre, randomised, equivalence and non-inferiority trial. Medical Journal of Australia, 206(11), 494-499. doi:10.5694/mja16.00771.
2) Grissa, M. H., Baccouche, H., Boubaker, H., Beltaief, K., Bzeouich, N., Fredj, N., . . . Nouira, S. (2016). Acupuncture vs intravenous morphine in the management of acute pain in the ED. Am J Emerg Med, 34(11), 2112-2116. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2016.07.028.
3) Schug, S. A., Palmer, G. M., Scott, D. A., Halliwell, R., & Trinca, J. (2016). Acute pain management: scientific evidence. Fourth edition, 2015. Med J Aust, 204(8), 315-317.
1) Au, D. W., Tsang, H. W., Ling, P. P., Leung, C. H., Ip, P. K., & Cheung, W. M. (2015). Effects of acupressure on anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med, 33(5), 353-359. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2014-010720.
2) Amorim, D., Amado, J., Brito, I., Fiuza, S. M., Amorim, N., Costeira, C., & Machado, J. (2018). Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 31, 31-37. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.008.
3) Bazzan, A. J., Zabrecky, G., Monti, D. A., & Newberg, A. B. (2014). Current evidence regarding the management of mood and anxiety disorders using complementary and alternative medicine. Expert Rev Neurother, 14(4), 411-423. doi:10.1586/14737175.2014.892420.
4) Fleckenstein, J., Kruger, P., & Ittner, K. P. (2018). Effects of single-point acupuncture (HT7) in the prevention of test anxiety: Results of a RCT. PLoS One, 13(8), e0202659. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202659.
5) Goyata, S. L., Avelino, C. C., Santos, S. V., Souza Junior, D. I., Gurgel, M. D., & Terra, F. S. (2016). Effects from acupuncture in treating anxiety: integrative review. Rev Bras Enferm, 69(3), 602-609. doi:10.1590/0034-7167.2016690325i.
6) Kwon, C. Y., & Lee, B. (2018). Acupuncture or Acupressure on Yintang (EX-HN 3) for Anxiety: A Preliminary Review. Med Acupunct, 30(2), 73-79. doi:10.1089/acu.2017.1268.
7) Smith, C. A., de Lacey, S., Chapman, M., Ratcliffe, J., Norman, R. J., Johnson, N. P., & Fahey, P. (2018). The effects of acupuncture on the secondary outcomes of anxiety, and quality of life for women undergoing IVF: a randomised controlled trial. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. doi:10.1111/aogs.13528.
8) Smith, C. A., Shewamene, Z., Galbally, M., Schmied, V., & Dahlen, H. (2018). The effect of complementary medicines and therapies on maternal anxiety and depression in pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord, 245, 428-439. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2018.11.054.
Back or Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
1) Close, C., Sinclair, M., Liddle, S. D., Madden, E., McCullough, J. E., & Hughes, C. (2014). A systematic review investigating the effectiveness of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for the management of low back and/or pelvic pain (LBPP) in pregnancy. J Adv Nurs, 70(8), 1702-1716. doi:10.1111/jan.12360.
2) Martins, E. S., Tavares, T., Lessa, P. R. A., Aquino, P. S., Castro, R., & Pinheiro, A. K. B. (2018). Acupuncture treatment: multidimensional assessment of low back pain in pregnant women. Rev Esc Enferm USP, 52, e03323. doi:10.1590/s1980-220×2017040303323.
3) Soliday, E., & Betts, D. (2018). Treating Pain in Pregnancy with Acupuncture: Observational Study Results from a Free Clinic in New Zealand. J Acupunct Meridian Stud, 11(1), 25-30. doi:10.1016/j.jams.2017.11.005.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain
1) Hadianfard, M., Bazrafshan, E., Momeninejad, H., & Jahani, N. (2015). Efficacies of Acupuncture and Anti-inflammatory Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. J Acupunct Meridian Stud, 8(5), 229-235. doi:10.1016/j.jams.2014.11.005.
1) Chiu, H. Y., Hsieh, Y. J., & Tsai, P. S. (2017). Systematic review and meta-analysis of acupuncture to reduce cancer-related pain. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl), 26(2). doi:10.1111/ecc.12457.
2) MacPherson, H., Vertosick, E. A., Foster, N. E., Lewith, G., Linde, K., Sherman, K. J., . . . Vickers, A. J. (2016). The persistence of the effects of acupuncture after a course of treatment: A meta-analysis of patients with chronic pain. Pain. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000747.
3) MacPherson, H., Vertosick, E., Lewith, G., Linde, K., Sherman, K. J., Witt, C. M., & Vickers, A. J. (2014). Influence of control group on effect size in trials of acupuncture for chronic pain: a secondary analysis of an individual patient data meta-analysis. PLoS One, 9(4), e93739. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093739.
4) MacPherson, H., Vickers, A., Bland, M., Torgerson, D., Corbett, M., Spackman, E., . . . Watt, I. (2017). Programme Grants for Applied Research Acupuncture for chronic pain and depression in primary care: a programme of research. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library.
5) Scottish Incollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). Management of Chronic Pain (SIGN publication no. 136). Scottish Incollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN); 2013.
6) Vickers, A. J., Vertosick, E. A., Lewith, G., MacPherson, H., Foster, N. E., Sherman, K. J., . Linde, K. (2017). Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. J Pain. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2017.11.005.
1) Chiu, H. Y., Hsieh, Y. J., & Tsai, P. S. (2016). Acupuncture to Reduce Sleep Disturbances in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol, 127(3), 507-515. doi:10.1097/aog.0000000000001268.
2) Choi, T. Y., Kim, J. I., Lim, H. J., & Lee, M. S. (2016). Acupuncture for Managing Cancer-Related Insomnia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials. Integr Cancer Ther. doi:10.1177/1534735416664172.
3) Dong, B., Chen, Z., Yin, X., Li, D., Ma, J., Yin, P., … Xu, S. (2017). The Efficacy of Acupuncture for Treating Depression-Related Insomnia Compared with a Control Group: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. BioMed Research International, 2017, 9614810.
4) Lan, Y., Wu, X., Tan, H. J., Wu, N., Xing, J. J., Wu, F. S., . . . Liang, F. R. (2015). Auricular acupuncture with seed or pellet attachments for primary insomnia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med, 15, 103. doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0606-7.
5) Lee, S. H., & Lim, S. M. (2016). Acupuncture for insomnia after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med, 16, 228. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1220-z.
6) Shergis, J. L., Ni, X., Jackson, M. L., Zhang, A. L., Guo, X., Li, Y., . . . Xue, C. C. (2016). A systematic review of acupuncture for sleep quality in people with insomnia. Complement Ther Med, 26, 11-20. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2016.02.007.
Low Back Pain
1) Chou R, Deyo R, Friedly J, Skelly A, Hashimoto R, Weimer M, et al. AHRQ Comparative Effectiveness Reviews. Noninvasive Treatments for Low Back Pain. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2016.
2) Qaseem, A., Wilt, T. J., McLean, R. M., & Forciea, M. A. (2017). Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med, 166(7), 514-530. doi:10.7326/m16-2367.
3) Wellington J. Noninvasive and alternative management of chronic low back pain (efficacy and outcomes). Neuromodulation. 2014 Oct;17 Suppl 2:24-30.
4) Lam M, Galvin R, Curry P. Effectiveness of acupuncture for nonspecific chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013 Nov 15;38(24):2124-38.
5) Taylor, P., Pezzullo, L., Grant, S. J., & Bensoussan, A. (2014). Cost-effectiveness of Acupuncture for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain. Pain Pract, 14(7), 599-606. doi:10.1111/papr.12116.
6) Liu L, Skinner M, McDonough S, Mabire L, Baxter GD. Acupuncture for low back pain: an overview of systematic reviews. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:328196.
7) Qin Z, Wu J, Zhou J, Liu Z. Systematic Review of Acupuncture for Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016;95(11):e3095
Headache (Tension-Type and Chronic)
1) Coeytaux RR, Befus D. Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment or Prevention of Migraine, Tension-Type Headache, or Chronic Headache Disorders. Headache. 2016 Jul;56(7):1238-40.
2) Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Shin BC, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:Cd007587.
1) Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Vertosick EA, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016(6):Cd001218.
2) Yang Y, Que Q, Ye X, Zheng G. Verum versus sham manual acupuncture for migraine: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Acupunct Med. 2016 Apr;34(2):76-83.
1) MacPherson, H., Tilbrook, H., Richmond, S., Woodman, J., Ballard, K., Atkin, K., . . . Watt, I. (2015). Alexander Technique Lessons or Acupuncture Sessions for Persons With Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med, 163(9), 653-662. doi:10.7326/m15-0667.
2) Trinh K, Graham N, Irnich D, Cameron ID, Forget M. Acupuncture for neck disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016(5):Cd004870.
1) Ji, M., Wang, X., Chen, M., Shen, Y., Zhang, X., & Yang, J. (2015). The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2015, 192808. doi:10.1155/2015/192808.
2) Lewis, R. A., Williams, N. H., Sutton, A. J., Burton, K., Din, N. U., Matar, H. E., . . . Wilkinson, C. (2015). Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network meta-analyses. Spine J, 15(6), 1461-1477. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2013.08.049.
3) Qin, Z., Liu, X., Wu, J., Zhai, Y., & Liu, Z. (2015). Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Treating Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2015, 425108. doi:10.1155/2015/425108.
1) Lee, S. H., & Lim, S. M. (2016). Acupuncture for Poststroke Shoulder Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2016, 3549878. doi:10.1155/2016/3549878.
2) Wang, K. F., Zhang, L. J., Lu, F., Lu, Y. H., & Yang, C. H. (2016). Can Ashi points stimulation have specific effects on shoulder pain? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Chin J Integr Med, 22(6), 467-472. doi:10.1007/s11655-015-2107-4.
1) Linda Vixner, Lena B. Mårtensson and Erica Schytt. Acupuncture with manual and electrical stimulation for labour pain: a two month follow up of recollection of pain and birth experience. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2015) 15:180. DOI 10.1186/s12906-015-07082.
2) Lyndall J. Mollart, Jon Adam, Maralyn Foureur. Impact of acupressure on onset of labour and labour duration: A systematic review. Women and Birth. Sep 2015, Vol. 28: 199-206.