Acupuncture is an ancient Eastern remedy that has developed a tremendous following in the Western world. Repeated scientific research has shown that acupuncture can play an important role in alleviating pain and treating a wide range of illnesses. In addition, acupuncture is often used to help boost the success of IVF and to support a healthy pregnancy. Here is what you should know about pregnancy and acupuncture.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the process of inserting thin, sterile needles into the skin at specific, targeted points. According to Eastern thought, this helps to unblock the flow of Qi, the life force that exists in all living things. Western science notes that acupuncture affects the central nervous system and creates microtraumas that promote the body’s natural healing responses. Regardless, the goal is to encourage the body to find its own equilibrium and optimal state of health.
Benefits of Acupuncture During Pregnancy
Pain and illness can put stress on your growing baby, so continuing to treat ongoing conditions is often the best course of action. Acupuncture also has a dramatic ability to promote deep relaxation and reduce the effects of environmental stress on the mother’s body. In addition, pregnant women should, of course, minimize their use of medications to the lowest reasonable level, and acupuncture can sometimes be substituted for pain relievers. Talk to both your doctor and your acupuncturist about whether to begin or continue acupuncture during your pregnancy.
In addition, research shows that certain types of acupuncture can actually promote a healthy pregnancy. Acupuncture can reduce the risk for early miscarriage by regulating the thyroid, endometrial lining, ovarian function, and other vital parts of the female reproductive system. It can also help to treat morning sickness and pregnancy-related joint pain. Acupuncture can help to induce labor and, through a procedure known as acupuncture-moxibustion, can even cause breech babies to turn. Of course, you should undergo pregnancy-related acupuncture only with the approval of your physician.
Risks of Acupuncture During Pregnancy
There are certain acupuncture points like food, herbs, and medicine that should never be used during pregnancy, as they could induce premature labor. It is absolutely essential for you to notify your acupuncturist as soon as you know you are pregnant. He or she will develop a treatment plan that incorporates all of your health concerns while ensuring that your baby is protected from the risks of premature labor.
The use of herbal remedies, including those targeted toward pregnancy-related conditions, is an essential part of Eastern medicine. However, some women and their physicians prefer not to use any ingested remedies during pregnancy due to the possible effects on the baby. This is a highly personal decision that can only be made by you, in conjunction with your Western doctor and your acupuncturist.
Putting It All Together
In most cases, acupuncture is considered safe for use in pregnant women, provided that you notify your acupuncturist as soon as you know you are pregnant and the acupuncturist you working with is experienced in treating pregnancy-related conditions. the specific labor-inducing points are not used. Acupuncture needles penetrate only the skin, and do not appear to have any effect on the developing baby. In addition, a large body of scientific research shows that acupuncture can have a dramatic positive effect on pregnancy, helping to ensure that the mother’s body is in optimal health and ready to nurture the baby throughout the entire pregnancy.
However, every woman is different, and every pregnancy is different. Only you can make the decisions about which treatments you want. Acupuncturists and Western physicians regularly work together to create holistic treatment plans that incorporate the best that the East and the West have to offer. If you are interested in acupuncture during your pregnancy, it is highly recommended to choose both an acupuncturist and a physician who are open to working together to make decisions regarding your health and that of 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.