According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an estimated 3.1 million Americans used acupuncture to treat a number of illnesses and conditions, from nausea and back pain to cancer, in 2007. If you're pregnant and suffering from morning sickness, swollen feet or trouble sleeping, you might be willing to try just about anything to find a little relief. Here are a few common questions many pregnant women considering acupuncture have, including whether it is safe for their growing baby:
Is Acupuncture Safe For My Baby?
Acupuncture is very safe for you and your baby, as long as the practitioner knows you are pregnant and is licensed and well-trained. Acupuncture works by inserting small, thin needles into strategic spots on your skin. These spots correspond with specific nerves that become stimulated when prodded with the needle.
However, there are a few acupuncture points that are considered "forbidden" because the stimulation of that specific nerve, and the chemical release in the brain that also occurs, is believed to be dangerous for the pregnant woman and her baby. This is why it is crucial that if you are seeking treatment for your pregnancy-related symptoms you must tell the practitioner right away that you are expecting.
With the practitioner's help, you can create a plan that can help you safely find some much-needed relief from the aches, pains and other uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy.
What Can Acupuncture Do For Me?
If you're suffering from any of the myriad of symptoms that plague most pregnant women, chances are you are willing to have a few dozen tiny needles jammed into your skin. Luckily, acupuncture is relatively painless, and if you're squeamish around needles, it's worth facing your fears to find relief from your pregnancy symptoms.
Here are a few of the most common pregnancy-related woes that send women to their acupuncture practitioner:
Depression – The combination of raging hormones and the weight of this dramatic life changing event can lead many pregnant women to suffer from depression. According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, acupuncture was a highly-effective in treating depression in pregnant women.
Morning Sickness – If you're one of the millions of pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, you'll be thrilled to learn that acupuncture can be used to treat your symptoms.
Insomnia – Many pregnant women suffer from insomnia throughout their pregnancy, but particularly in the second trimester. Rather than resorting to over-the-counter sleeping pills, ask your practitioner how acupuncture can help you get a good night's sleep.
From sciatica and heart burn, to back pain, constipation, swollen ankles, anxiety and pelvic pain, there is a long list of symptoms that can be treated with acupuncture.
However, be aware that acupuncture shouldn't be used as a substitute for your regular obstetrician. Instead, ask your OB/GYN to recommend a practitioner who can help you enjoy a less uncomfortable pregnancy.
Acupuncture After The Baby Is Born
Once your baby is born, you'll be amazed at how quickly your pregnancy symptoms will disappear. However, while you're enjoying the bliss of motherhood, you may be suffering with other postpartum emotional and physical symptoms.
Here are just a few of the postpartum concerns that can be treated or managed with acupuncture:
- Insufficient milk flow
- Postpartum depression
Speak with your doctor or acupuncturist about how you can find some much-needed relief from your postpartum symptoms.
Pregnancy is a beautiful experience that is unfortunately plagued with a number of horrendous symptoms. With the help of a qualified acupuncture practitioner, you can find relief from your sore back, nausea or whatever else is making your pregnancy more miserable and less magical. Click here for more information on acupuncture options in your area.