What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient method of balancing the body’s energies to promote good health. It involves using very fine needles that pierce the body at acupoints – specific pressure points that promote and correct the flow of energy.
Acupuncture benefits in pregnancy
Acupuncture is used to relieve a number of pregnancy discomforts such as problems with digestion, including morning sickness, nausea and constipation. It can also help you feel more comfortable by easing backache, varicose veins and haemorrhoids. If you’re feeling wobbling as your centre of gravity begins to change, acupuncture can also be used to help you feel more stable and balanced.
It is also particularly useful for mums-to-be as it can be used for pre-existing conditions such as stress or migraines that you can no longer take medications for.
Acupuncture benefits during labour
Acupuncture can be used during labour as pain relief. This is a particular bonus if you’re planning a completely natural birth. It can also be used to deliver the placenta naturally so you don’t need an injection.
Acupuncture is also used to turn breach babies and if you’ve gone past your due date and you’re twiddling your thumbs, itmay help get things going. After 41 weeks, before you go into hospital for an induction, you can have treatment to encourage your waters to break and contractions to start.
If you enjoy the experience, you may wish to continue to treat aches and pains or relax with acupuncture after after you’ve given birth.
Acupuncture tips and safety
Your practitioner will decide how to treat you by looking ar your general health, complexion, body shape and will listen to the way you answer questions about you lifestyle.
Always tell your acupuncture practitioner that you are pregnant as some points should not be stimulated in pregnancy.
Acupuncture shouldn’t hurt but you may notice when the needles are inserted and feel a slight sensation of tingling or numbness.
If you don’t fancy needles, you can have a similar treatment – acupressure – which stimulates the pressure points with pressure instead of needles. Modern treatments can also involve lasers or ultrasounds.