Possible benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a physiological state, but even when a woman has an uncomplicated pregnancy she may suffer with back and pelvic pain, nausea, indigestion or emotional problems such as anxiety and depression.
When the foetus is in the breech position, labour can be complicated. Labour consists of a series of rhythmic, involuntary, progressive contractions of the uterus that cause effacement (thinning and shortening) and dilation of the uterine cervix. In a first pregnancy, labour usually lasts 12 to 18 hours on average; subsequent labors are often shorter, averaging 6 to 8 hours. During labour, most women need some form of analgesia, and some may require local anaesthesia during stitching if they tear during the birth. Normal labour usually begins within 2 weeks (before or after) the estimated delivery date
An overview of systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials across the whole area of pregnancy found evidence that acupuncture may assist with the management of some complaints, though more studies are needed (Smith 2009).
There is evidence in favour of acupuncture for depression (Manber 2010), emotional problems in general (da Silva 2007) and dyspepsia (reflux) (da Silva 2009).
Acupuncture is relatively safe with no records of serious adverse events in the pregnancy-related systematic reviews (Cho 2010; Lim 2009; Vas 2009; Ee 2008).
A systematic review of acupuncture for labour induction suggested that it could be beneficial, although the randomised trials had mixed results (Lim 2009)
There is also some evidence that acupuncture can alleviate back and pelvic pains during pregnancy and also aid re-positioning of babies prior to birth.
For more help and advice regarding your pregnancy and the role acupuncture could play, please call Rebecca Bond, acupuncturist at Broadwater Osteopaths, Worthing on 01903 820206