Prenatal & Postpartum Acupuncture

Acupuncture for Pregnancy & Labor

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provide a safe and natural way for you to alleviate some of the unwanted side effects of pregnancy, prepare for labor, relieve pain during labor, ease birth and promote recovery after birthing your baby.

Acupuncture is especially helpful for:

  • Miscarriage and Threatened Miscarriage
  • Early pregnancy supportive care
  • Nausea and Vomiting (Morning Sickness)​
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, pelvic and hip pain
  • Fatigue and Exhaustion
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Varicose veins and vulval varicosities
  • Constipation and Hemorrhoids
  • Itching in pregnancy
  • Hypertension disorders including Pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Breech and posterior positioned babies​
  • Prebirth acupuncture to prepare the body for an efficient labor​
  • Preparation for a medical induction
  • ​Acupressure taught to support people to use for pain relief during labor
  • ​Postpartum recovery

Breech and posterior positioned babies:
Women are ideally treated between 33 – 36 weeks gestation. This is often a one-time treatment with women being shown how to continue treatment at home with a moxa stick (an herb that has been shaped into a cigar-like stick). The moxa stick is lit and held over specific places on the body to stimulate the acupuncture points.

Pre Birth treatment: 
This involves a series of 4-5 treatments weekly from 36 or 37 weeks to prepare for labor. Points are used according to a woman’s constitution and pregnancy history. This may include points used to assist in ripening the cervix, positioning the baby in the best presentation for labor, and to promote optimal energy and stamina for women. 

Preparation for a medical induction:
There are a variety of reasons why a woman is advised to have her labor induced. The goal of this treatment is to support cervical ripening and shorten the time interval between the woman’s expected due date and the actual time of delivery.

Treatments vary and may begin every other day after a woman’s estimated due date. If a medical induction is planned, it can be beneficial to begin treatments at least 2-3 days before the induction followed by self-administered acupressure. In some instances, a woman may receive acupuncture daily prior to a planned medical induction.

Pregnancy and Labor Resources:

Midwives:

Bend Birth Center

Mandala Midwives

Doulas:

Dakota Dawson – With You Birthing

Sarah Rafail – Loving Hands Doula Services

CNM (Certified Nurse Midwives):

St. Charles Health System

East Cascade Women’s Group

Prenatal Yoga:

Tula Movement Arts

Namaspa Yoga & Massage

Research:
The safety of using acupuncture during pregnancy
Nausea & vomiting in early pregnancy
Nausea & vomiting
Depression in pregnancy
Pelvic pain in pregnancy
Cost-effectiveness of Acupuncture for breech presentation
Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation
Cervical Ripening
Impact of acupressure on onset of labor & labor duration
Acupuncture or Acupressure for induction of labor
Reducing labor pain

Acupuncture for Postnatal Recovery

The postnatal period refers to the 6 weeks directly following childbirth.

Support For:

  • Breast-feeding problems
    • Insufficient lactation
    • Mastitis
  • Persistent uterine bleeding
  • Afterpains
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Body pain
    • Low back pain
    • Neck pain
  • Postnatal or Postpartum Depression

Resources:

Diet & Postnatal Recovery Handout

Motherwarming

“Mother warming” is a unique treatment given around the first week or two post-birth. It can be utilized to energize women and aid in their recovery.
This is a moxa technique used to tonify post-birth. Most commonly a  moxa stick will be used to warm the woman’s abdomen for 5-10 minutes or until the woman feels pleasantly warm. The moxa stick may also be used to warm the low back for 5-10 minutes. Many women have found it helpful to build breast milk supply and aid in the healing of cesarean section scars.
Ideally acupuncture treatment is also given once a week beginning two weeks postpartum for a total of three weeks to promote stamina and an efficient recovery. Acupuncture can also be useful at this time to balance emotions, aid perineal healing and help with any breastfeeding problems.

Resources:
Maya Abdominal Massage (Arvigo)
Holistic Pelvic Care
Wild Feminine, Wild Creative, Mothering From Your Center – Tami Lynn Kent books
The First 40 Days – Heng Ou book
The Fourth Trimester – Kimberly Ann Johnson