Some people whizz through pregnancy with no worries at all, whilst others seem to suffer from a variety of ailments. Prenatal acupuncture is a therapy that many women have found to be quite helpful, as it eases many of the discomforts associated with pregnancy.
Originating in China thousands of years ago, acupuncture is used to rebalance your body’s energy along the meridians (energy pathways inside your body), restoring your body to health. Ultra fine acupuncture needles are inserted into points on your body that activate certain nerves, stimulating the release of chemicals (such as endorphins) that block pain pathways.
Some of the conditions that acupuncture has provided relief for pregnant women include lower back pain, morning sickness, depression, problems sleeping and headaches. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn, so you can decide if this type of therapy is suitable for your ailments.
Lower back pain
A large number of women experience lower back pain during pregnancy. This is often due to a change in their hormones that affect the smooth muscles, which combined with a change in posture to accommodate a growing womb, results in lower back pain. Towards the end of the pregnancy, women can also experience pelvic pain, as the smooth muscles in this area also become lax in preparation for the birth. Many women find that prenatal acupuncture helps to reduce these types of pains.
Since many women suffer from morning sickness during the early weeks of their pregnancy (some suffer for months on end!), there have been lots of different remedies tried over the years. One of the therapies that seems to be successful for some women is acupuncture, as it blocks the nerve pathways that result in a feeling of nausea. It doesn’t work for all women, but it’s definitely worth a try!
You might be surprised to learn that depression is fairly common in pregnant women. In fact, 25% of pregnant women can suffer from some form of depression. As it’s well-known that acupuncture can help to reduce depression in the general population, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that prenatal acupuncture can also help pregnant women find relief from depression. This is what was found by a study in 2010 where pregnant women who were diagnosed with depression, but who were not taking medications were given one of three treatments: acupuncture not specific to depression that acted as a control, massage, or acupuncture that was specific to depression. The latter group had the best results with the biggest recovery rates of the three groups.
As pregnancy advances, many women find that getting to sleep and staying asleep can be increasingly difficult. Since acupuncture has been shown to help people in general sleep better, it can also help during pregnancy as well.
A study in 2012 has shown that prenatal acupuncture helps to relieve the pain of tension type headaches, as well as reduce the number of pain medications taken in response to these headaches. If you suffer from headaches during your pregnancy, you might find that acupuncture provides the relief you need.
Always select a fully qualified acupuncturist with experience in providing prenatal acupuncture and check with your doctor to ensure that it’s suitable for your situation.