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Acupuncture for Pregnancy

Acupuncture offers women a drug-free alternative to managing their health and well-being during pregnancy. Acupuncture can promote the proper flow of blood during pregnancy, and it can help quell pregnancy pain or discomfort such as pelvic pain, lower back pain, and morning sickness.

Acupuncture can ease the labour process and prevent the need for further medical intervention. It can also stimulate and regulate the body's hormones, like oxytocin and other endorphins.

And while acupuncture is a safe, natural, and reliable form of healthcare, a healthy pregnancy also depends on adequate rest, a suitable diet, and emotional well-being. That's why we also offer individualized treatments that promote overall pregnancy health while encouraging women to maintain a regular relationship with their midwives or OB/GYNs.

Common Conditions

Acupuncture during pregnancy provides women with a drug- and side-effect-free way to help them feel their best. And the results are often felt the same day as treatment.

During pregnancy, acupuncture has been shown to effectively treat the following conditions:

• Morning sickness (nausea and vomiting)
• Heartburn
• Fatigue
• Anxiety and depression
• Sinusitis
• Pregnancy-induced hypertension
• Insomnia
• Edema (fluid retention)
• Miscarriage (threatened and recurrent)
• Sleep disturbances
• Constipation
• Hemorrhoids

Pregnancy Pain

One of the oldest applications of acupuncture is to effectively control and ease pain. Acupuncture improves circulation, thus reducing swelling and inflammation of the area of discomfort. In pregnancy, pain is sometimes attributed to the hormonal softening of ligaments and joints - which increases the likelihood of the pelvis to move - to make room for the growing baby. Backache, pubic bone pain, and sciatica are common complaints among pregnant women.

Acupuncture is safe, gentle, and effective for treating:

• Carpal tunnel
• Back pain
• Pubic pain
• Headaches
• Sciatica
• Other ailments

Labour Workshops

We also offer labour workshops, where participants learn to use acupressure to assist in pain reduction during the birthing process.

Pre-Birth Treatments

Pre-birth acupuncture treatments prepare women for the most efficient labour possible. They're offered as a series of treatments in the final weeks of pregnancy. Pre-birth acupuncture treatments - from 36 weeks on - are proven to reduce the duration of labour in first-time pregnancies. (The mean labour duration for women seeking acupuncture is two hours shorter than for women not receiving acupuncture.)

The acupuncture treatments start at 36 weeks and are given once a week until labour commences. Clinical experience shows that this consistently increased the chance of women experiencing a natural labour (Debra Betts, Dip Ac, BHSc [Acupuncture]).

The Breech Position

The breech position refers to the position of a baby in the womb. It means the baby is lying upside down, with its head up and its bum resting at the pelvis. A breech birth is complicated and painful for both the mother and baby. Instead of taking the oft-frustrating wait-and-see approach (sometimes suggested in more traditional, Western medical practices), with acupuncture, you can be proactive. Acupuncture, along with moxibustion - a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using the herb moxa to warm an acupuncture point and stimulate circulation - can help turn a breech baby.

The most successful time to commence a treatment is at 32-35 weeks. You may receive one treatment every day for 10 days. We will show you how to perform moxibustion, so you and your partner can do it yourselves at home.

This treatment is designed to help turn the baby pre-labour. The most successful time to commence breech presentation treatment is at 3235 weeks. One treatment every day for 10 days .

Acupuncture for Induction of Labour

For women past their due dates or those with a planned medical induction, acupuncture has been shown to support cervical ripening at term and shorten the interval between the expected due date and actual delivery time.

Post-treatment, we teach self-administered acupressure to further enhance the results of the acupuncture and enable you to be proactive in the induction process.

For women with planned medical inductions, induction acupuncture treatments should start two to three days before the planned medical induction.

For women past their due dates - even if labour does not commence spontaneously after receiving induction acupuncture - research shows you will still have a more efficient labour compared to women who do not receive acupuncture treatments (Betts).

Note: It is not advised to be induced - or have acupuncture treatments to encourage induction - unless you are past your due date and have a scheduled medical induction.

Pre-Natal Massage

Massage is a non-invasive, drug-free alterative for women to better manage the nagging conditions of pregnancy. Massage can help to improve the total health and wellbeing of the pregnant women and their baby during pregnancy.

Massage provides women with relief from sinus congestion, breast soreness, leg cramps, edema/swelling, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, sciatica, varicose veins, abdominal pressure, anemia, nausea, carpal tunnel as well as thoracic outlet syndrome, and numbness/paralysis. We offer massage throughout the entire gestational period, but customize treatment plans and schedule to suit individual needs.

Massage for Induction

For woman past their due dates or those with a planned medical induction massage can increase the hormones that enable the body to naturally begin the laboring process. Combining both relaxation massages, acupressure, and shiatsu techniques, massage for induction can significantly shorten the time between the due date and delivery time. After the treatment, clients are given instruction on how to self administer acupressure points to further stimulate the induction process and shorten labor times once labor has begun.

Please click here for some pregnancy health tips.

For more information on pregnancy health, please visit the Whole Family Health website at www.wholefamilyhealth.ca.
pregnant woman sitting up in bed