You might already be aware that fertility acupuncture can help boost your chances of becoming pregnant. What many people are less aware of, though, is how acupuncture and related procedures can help to support a healthy pregnancy. It even provides options for coping with labor difficulties, including breech babies. Always speak to your personal physician before you begin any alternative pregnancy treatments. With your doctor’s permission, here’s how we can assist you through all stages of pregnancy.
Regular acupuncture sessions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can help to reduce the risks of early miscarriage. It helps to regulate the thyroid and ovarian functioning, the endometrial lining, and other systems that are crucial to a healthy pregnancy, while simultaneously reducing stress and promoting optimum wellness.
Acupuncture can also help to reduce such common pregnancy complaints as joint pain, morning sickness, headaches, and even pregnancy-related depression. Clinical research studies repeatedly show that women who undergo regular acupuncture treatments throughout pregnancy use less pain medication and report less discomfort than those who do not.
Acupuncture can even serve as an alternative to induced labor in many cases. Labor is typically induced when the mother is significantly past her due date, or when the baby is at least 39 weeks and either mother or baby shows signs of distress. Labor is normally induced using Pitocin, which induces strong, rhythmic contractions.
Although Pitocin is used routinely in many cases, it does increase the risk of needing an epidural (due to increased pain), or even a C-section. Acupuncture can induce labor more naturally, by encouraging the body’s natural rhythms. It is successful in more than 70% of cases, without the need for Pitocin.
Pregnancy acupressure typically uses the same trigger points as pregnancy acupuncture. Instead of needles, firm pressure is applied with the hands, elbows, and fingers. This is a great option for those who fear needles, but be aware that because very deep pressure is required, acupressure can be more painful than acupuncture. It is also far more likely to cause harmless surface bruising.
When a baby is in the breech, or feet-first, position, there are a couple of options. Many doctors simply deliver the baby by C-section, while other doctors and most midwives attempt a complicated manual turning procedure that does not always work. Acupuncture-moxibustion provides an alternative.
This ancient practice uses an herb known as moxa or mugwort. Traditionally, it is rolled into cigar shaped sticks. Two sticks are lit and held very close to specific acupuncture points. However, this method creates a lot of odorous smoke, so it is not preferred by most modern acupuncture clinics.
Instead, most clinics today use a charcoal version of moxa. This is just as effective, but does not produce smoke. The charcoal is held over the acupuncture points instead, encouraging the baby to turn naturally.
Like manual turning, acupuncture-moxibustion is not successful for every breech baby. However, many Western doctors are now encouraging their patients to try the procedure due to its simplicity and relatively high success rate. If your baby is in the breech position toward the end of your pregnancy, ask your doctor and your acupuncturist whether acupuncture-moxibustion is a good choice for you and your baby.
Located in Pacific Palisades, with satellite clinics in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, Thumos Health Center offers patients exceptional personalized care. If you are ready to take the first steps toward a more integrative approach to your health care, we invite you to phone 310-428-1215 to schedule an appointment at any of our Los Angeles locations. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.