Acupuncture may be used to assist with a range of pregnancy related conditions. In many countries midwives undertake specialised acupuncture training.
Acupuncture has been used widely for nausea, musculoskeletal pain, constipation, varicose veins, headaches, breech babies, induction, pre birth, acupressure for pain relief in labour, and post partum recovery.
A series of 3-4 treatments are offered weekly from week 37 to prepare for labour. Particular points are used aimed at helping to ripen the cervix, position the baby and promote optimal energy and stamina to cope with labour. A study in 1974 (Kubista and Kucera) found pre birth acupuncture to shorten labour. A 2004 Observational study (Betts and Lenox) concluded pre birth acupuncture was beneficial in assisting women to have normal vaginal births. Further study is still required.
A 1998 study (Cardini et al) found that 75.4% of babies turned in the Women having moxa at wk 35, with only 47.7% in those women not receiving any treatment (the control group). Ideally seek treatment at the optimal time to turn a breech baby, weeks 34-36. This is usually just a one-off treatment. You will be provided with instructions (very easy) and a moxa stick (a herb shaped like a cigar) to continue treatment safely at home.
In a research study by Smith et al in 2002, the authors concluded that acupuncture was a safe and effective treatment for women who experience nausea and dry retching in early pregnancy.
Repeated studies have found acupuncture to be effective in treating pelvic pain in pregnancy. The latest Cochrane Review, which is considered the "gold standard" in research evaluation, reported that acupuncture (1) Significantly reduced pelvic pain more than usual care alone (2) was more effective than physio at relieving pain and improving function (3) was more effective than exercise at reducing pain.
You and your birth partner can be instructed in how to use acupressure to during labour. If you are already having pre-birth treatments at the clinic there is no additional cost and you just bring your birth partner in at week 38. If you want to book just for this session it will cost $80 and we will need approx an hour. Some points will be marked on the body for ease of use on the day, and all points fully explained and located, with a booklet for you to take away. Its a great way to get your partner involved in the birthing process as well as getting pain relief. A Cochrane Review of 13 Research Trials reported that acupressure may help to relieve labour pain but that more quality research was required.