Acupuncture in pregnancy

Acupuncture can support women with a number of pregnancy related issues offering a safe alternative to medication and assisting the recovery from normal pregnancy related symptoms that would otherwise be left unchecked.  My small group training with one of the worlds foremost experts in the use of Acupuncture in Pregnancy, Debra Betts, a lecturer and researcher on the subject of Acupuncture and it's use in pregnancy, and my own continued passion for women's health and pregnancy, has given me the confidence to step into a supportive role for women looking to use Acupuncture and the principles of Chinese Diet Therapy to support their journey in healthy pregnancy, child birth and recovery.

Some expecting mothers use acupuncture before, throughout, and after pregnancy and others will come in for acupuncture to address specific complaints and discomforts that can arise throughout pregnancy. The treatment length varies depending on the condition you are trying to ameliorate as well as your medical history. For some concerns, such as pain treatment length may be short but for most concerns acupuncture statistically provdies the best results with application of consistent and regular treatment (especially regulatory treatments).  In this regard CJR Acupuncture's Community Acupuncture Clinic as well as affordable treatment packages will allow women to come in regularly to get the support and success they desire in treatment. 


Current medical research explains the benefits of Acupuncture in pregnancy through the mechanisms of:

  • promoting optimal hormonal balance for conception and pregnancy

  • improving blood flow, including nutrients and oxygen delivery to the eggs, uterus, and developing embryo

  • regulating the immune system to reduce implantation failure and early pregnancy loss

  • reducing emotional stress

  • reducing nausea / the effects of morning sickness

  • ripening the cervix to prepare the body for labour


In pregnancy acupuncture can be used to treat:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Miscarriage

  • Threatened miscarriage

  • Early pregnancy supportive care

  • Constipation and hemorrhoids

  • Varicose veins and vulval varicosities

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, pelvic and hip pain

  • Fatigue and exhaustion

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Itching in pregnancy

  • Hypertension disorders including Pregnancy-induced hypertension

  • Gestational diabeties

  • Breech and posterior positioned babies

  • Preparation for a medical Induction

  • Prebirth acupuncture to prepare the body for an efficient labour ( + cervical ripening, pelvic painreducing labour pain)

  • Acupressure taught to support people to use for pain relief during labour

  • Postpartum recovery

  • Lower back pain, constipation and haemorrhoids

  • Infertility / Support Conception ( See Infertility page here)

  • Re-occuring UTI's

  • Pain (musclo-skeletal, neurological, mental-emotional)

Drug-Free Pain Relief

Acupuncture provides an excellent option for effective drug free pain relief from many common complaints such as: headaches, lower back pain, rib pain, pelvic pain, nausea/morning sickness, sciatic pain, and pain in all other areas of the body, whether it be neurologically based, physical or mental-emotional.  Acupuncture can be used to address injuries that occur during pregnancy as well as address digestive complaints including constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, gas/bloating and more.


If there is a history of miscarriage Acupuncture can be applied to prevent uterine contractions, alleviate spotting or bleeding, alleviate anxiety and stress, and help provide a lifting and holding force to provide uterine tone to decrease the chances of miscarriage. Supporting the overall health and constitution of the mother-to-be also can be addressed with Acupuncture treatment geared towards fertility.

Pre-Birth / Labour Preparation:

Pre-birth and labour preparation involves a series of 3-4 treatments weekly from 36-37 weeks to prepare for labour. Acupuncture points are used according to TCM pattern diagnosis and medical history throughout pregnancy.  The points selected are used to assist in cervical ripening, positioning the baby in the best presentation for labour, reducing emotional stress, and improving energy levels. Further reading about Pre-birth acupuncture can be found here.

Breech Babies:

Breech presentations are corrected ideally between 34-36 weeks using acupuncture and moxibustion therapy. This treatment focuses on educating women on the safe practice and application of moxabustion (the burning of a prepared Chinese herb - Ai Ye or Mugwort) at home as well as providing acupuncture treatment based on TCM diagnosis and medical history throughout pregnancy.  Further reading about research into moxa therapy for breech presentation in pregnancy can be found here.


Labour Induction:

Acupuncture can be applied in post-due date situations to encourage the downward movement on energy and blood flow to promote labour contractions and cervical ripening. Due to best medical practices I do not entertain pre-due date inductions with Acupuncture unless under the medical order of a registered Midwife or OBGYN (Medical Doctor). Current research suggests that the greatest success with childbirth comes with the natural rhythym and timing your body and baby provide as many minute changes occur even in very late stages of pregnancy to ensure optimal success at birth.


In the post-partum period it is extremely important to support the body as pregnancy is a laborious and exhausting to the body. After birth Acupuncture can address: fatigue, postpartum vaginal discharge, postpartum depression, mastitis, and insufficient or excessive lactation. If the baby arrives via caesarian section, acupuncture can also help with the post operative healing and reduction of scar tissue.  Acupuncture can also assist in recovering and strengthening the pelvic floor and maintaining the fascia after birth.


Diet, Lifestyle, Holistic Support:

Acupuncture provides the perfect drug free therapy to address pain, sinus congestion, common colds, edema, low energy and a whole host of minor grievances that come up throughout pregnancy. Although the main goals of acupuncture are to provide ease of labour and delivery, to reduce emotional stress and anxiety, and to ease pain and discomfort, the lens of Chinese medicine can also help optimize your diet / nutrition as well as provide a great support system through a network of trained medical professionals. At CJR Acupuncture we always work closely with your Doula/Midwife/OB to ensure the best care.



Further reading:

Further information on the use of acupuncture, acupressure and moxibustion in pregnancy can be found in Debra Bett's text  The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth, which is also available in clinic at CJR Acupuncture to read.  Thank you to Debra and the many D.TCM's who assisted in my training and to which I heavily reference in treatment.