“Are you struggling to conceive? Or are you looking to promote the health of your baby and prevent miscarriage? Maybe you are looking to induce labour and decrease pain? Acupuncture can help with all of these things. Keep reading to discover how acupuncture can benefit your current or future pregnancy.
Acupuncture has been practiced for centuries, and many people are now discovering how safe and effective it is in helping to increase fertility, provide support throughout pregnancy, and prepare the body for childbirth.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is safe because it gently stimulates the body’s own natural healing abilities rather than causing a drastic change or by intervening through pharmaceuticals or surgeries.
How Does It Work?
Acupuncture can help fertility because it increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries and helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. Acupuncture is also known to have a calming effect and reduces stress, which in turn reduces cortisol levels in the body. High levels of cortisol can have a negative effect on hormonal levels, therefore playing a role in the ability to conceive.
This means that acupuncture is also a great support for natural fertility, intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). For men, acupuncture has been shown to increase sperm count and motility.
During pregnancy, acupuncture treatments can help prevent miscarriages, especially in the first trimester because it regulates blood flow to the uterus which then helps nourish and feed the embryo. Acupuncture can also help to alleviate symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, heartburn, muscle aches and pains, swelling (and more) throughout all stages of pregnancy. As previously stated, acupuncture reduces stress and anxiety which will help to maintain a healthy pregnancy, as mom’s health has a direct connection to the baby’s health.
Leading up to birth, acupuncture can help to soften and dilate the cervix. It is effective in decreasing the pain associated with labour and it can also be beneficial by stimulating the release of hormones to promote contractions. Once again during labour and leading up to birth, acupuncture reduces stress which benefits both the body and the mind.
What To Expect During an Appointment:
As with any condition being treated by acupuncture, your practitioner starts with a past and present health history, then evaluates the tongue and pulse, from which they develop a treatment plan. Treatment may include needles and other modalities such as cupping or gua sha etc. Acupuncture points, modalities and treatment plans are created based on the individual’s needs.
Both men and women can receive fertility treatments with a more in-depth discussion on reproductive health, diet, lifestyle, testing from a doctor or fertility clinic, and fertility objective (i.e. natural, IUI, IVF). Diet and lifestyle recommendations may also be provided.
For optimum results, it’s recommended to begin acupuncture for fertility at least 2 to 3 months before trying to conceive. With that being said, receiving acupuncture treatments at any stage can still be beneficial.
Treatments are based on the individual’s needs (i.e. relieve symptoms, prevent miscarriage etc.) and stage of pregnancy with diet and lifestyle recommendations if needed. A patient can start receiving acupuncture treatments before conception or anytime during pregnancy and continue until labour.
Cervical Ripening and Labour Preparation:
Treatment to help prepare for labour is recommended to begin at 36 weeks of pregnancy until childbirth, however, it is possible to begin later. Specific points are used for this treatment. Typically treatments are recommended 1 to 2 times per week for best results.
This treatment is not recommended for high-risk pregnancies, however, acupuncture for pregnancy support is safe and can be beneficial throughout.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to help your body prepare for pregnancy, labour and childbirth. Book an appointment with our Registered Acupuncturist Jen to get started!