Acupuncture for Pregnancy
The use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine during pregnancy has a long history dating back centuries. Chinese medicine evolved through a history of empirical research, with techniques, methods and formulas being passed down through teaching lineages. Modern research has affirmed acupuncture is a safe modality during pregnancy when performed by experienced and registered practitioners, and may provide some relief for discomforts that can arise1, 2 . The Acupuncture Evidence Project has done a comprehensive review of the literature and has identified that there is moderate evidence to support acupuncture as an effective treatment for: pelvic and back pain in pregnancy, acute back pain, constipation, labour pain, chronic pelvic pain
syndrome. Other conditions that are frequently seen in clinic and have a long history of treatment with acupuncture, but at this stage lack high quality supportive evidence include morning sickness, varicose veins and vulval varicosities, haemorrhoids, itch, post natal depression and urinary
For more information about your particular concerns, or to make an enquiry about acupuncture during pregnancy, please contact us via email or call 02 6687 1331.
Acupuncture for birth preparation, cervical ripening and induction of labour
Acupuncture is increasingly used as to assist in birth preparation. Treatment is given weekly from 36 weeks of pregnancy until the birth to prepare the mother’s body and mind. This is a gentle treatment designed to promote relaxation, and may also assist the process of cervical ripening. While there have been some promising observational studies and older double blind controlled studies showing indicating outcomes of shorter labour duration and reduced use of pharmacological pain relief when pre birth acupuncture was used, the most recent Cochrane analysis found that the quality of evidence varied and “Acupuncture showed some benefit in improving cervical maturity, however, more well designed trials are needed”4 . Encouraging cervical ripening may be useful to assist some women to avoid a medical induction.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Breech & other mal-presentation
In Chinese hospitals the technique of combining acupuncture with moxibustion to the little toe has been used to treat breech & posterior presentations for decades, however the research to date, although promising, is not yet sufficient for this method to be incorporated into clinical practice guidelines for obstetricians in Australia, although the New Zealand clinical practice guidelines do recommend it. Please Contact us to discuss whether this technique might be useful for you.
Acupuncture and Acupressure For Pain Relief in Labour
Elissa conducts frequent training in a group and private setting, for midwives and couples to use acupressure as an option for pain relief during labour. A 2011 Cochrane review found there was some evidence that the use of acupressure during labour may reduce the use of pharmacological pain relief and increased feelings of satisfaction with pain management, though (like most Cochrane reviews) more research is required.5 If you would like to arrange for private training for your birth support team, or would like to enquire about upcoming workshops for acupressure in labour, please contact us by email or call 02 6687 1331.
1 Liddle, S. Pennick, V. 2015. Interventions for preventing and treating low‐back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001139.pub4/
2Park, J. Youngjoo, S., White, A.,and Lee, H. 2014. The safety of acupuncture during pregnancy: a systematic review.
3 McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised Edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd; 2017.
4 Smith CA, Armour M, Dahlen HG. Acupuncture or acupressure for induction of labour. 16 October 2017. http://www.cochrane.org/CD002962/PREG_acupuncture-or-acupressure-induction-labour
5Labour. 6 July 2011. https://www.cochrane.org/CD009232/PREG_acupunture-or-acupressure-forrelieving-pain-in-labour