Acupuncture During Pregnancy
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Acupuncture During Pregnancy

There has been a rapid influx on the demand for Acupuncture and Moxibustion during pregnancy. It treats a wide range of common pregnancy related conditions such as nausea/ vomiting, headache, carpel tunnel syndrome, sciatica, anxiety, depression, constipation and haemorrhoids.


Acupuncture is used often towards the end of pregnancy to help support cervical ripening and progress of labour.


For Breech pregnancy, treatment with Moxibustion is becoming more popular, as women prefer to use natural methods of maintaining a healthy pregnancy and in preparation for natural labour.


Moxibustion has been shown to increase fetal activity at around seven minutes after the start of the procedure until just after the treatment ends (Budd, 2000; Maciocia, 1998).


In addition to this there is an increase in placental oestrogens and prostaglandin levels, which causes an increase in uterine contractility and therefore moxa (moxibustion) is also used to aid the labour process (Maciocia, 1998).


Presently in Ireland, the use of Acupuncture and Moxibustion during pregnancy within Maternity clinics and the hospital setting, has yet to develop.


Acupuncture in Obstetrics is widely used within our neighbouring health facilities such as the NHS/UK. It is used also in hospitals and maternity clinics in Europe, America and worldwide.


Catherine is currently part of a Obstetrics in Acupuncture research mentorship programme.

What should I expect?


Generally very few Acupuncture needles are required when treating during pregnancy.


As the effect of Acupuncture is significant and can be quite powerful, the client is monitored at all times. The abdominal region is avoided after week 12, and caution is used when needling back points.


There are some Acupuncture points that are contraindicated throughout pregnancy. It is important that you feel confident and comfortable during your experience of Acupuncture during pregnancy. We encourage transparency and believe in educating our clients, so we welcome your questions and any concerns you may have.


Lifestyle advice, suitable exercises and information regarding Acupressure points is given where appropriate, and this can be especially useful as due date approaches!


Though Acupuncture can provide relief from many discomforts during pregnancy, it is important to always consult with your GP and/ or consultant if at any stage you feel unwell during your pregnancy.

What is Moxibustion treatment for Breech Pregnancy?


Moxibustion is a warming technique, stimulating an acupuncture point on the little toe. The Moxa stick is a tightly wrapped/ compressed herb called Mugwort, it is cigar shaped. It is then lit with a candle to develop an ember which is then held over the acupuncture point. There are many recognised studies on the efficacy of Moxibustion in treating breech pregnancy, showing a success rate of 75- 80%.


During your first visit for correction of breech pregnancy, you will be guided carefully through the steps of this technique and you will be given some information and some Moxa sticks to take home with you.


This is such an easy technique and as it requires partner, family member or friend to help apply it at home, it is usually a lovely time for relaxing, catching up and planning the exciting times ahead!

How long does an Acupuncture treatment last?


Generally speaking during pregnancy Acupuncture needles are usually retained for approximately 20 minutes in total. The appointment itself may take longer than 20 mins, as the practitioner examines any possible issues, explains the use of Acupressure points, and discusses lifestyle advice.


Towards the end stage of pregnancy needles are often retained for longer than 20 minutes, depending on the clients reason for Acupuncture treatment.

How many treatments are recommended?

There are studies to suggest that Acupuncture given regularly during the pre- birth stage of pregnancy (36 weeks onwards), helps to reduce labour time and support the ripening and natural maturation of the cervix in preparation for delivery. Research in Obstetrical Acupuncture is ongoing in the clinical setting in many established maternity hospitals around the world.