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Alternative Healing and TCM: Acupuncture During Pregnancy

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Sassy Mama gives you our take on acupuncture during pregnancy…

These days, more women are turning to acupuncture as an alternative to Western medicine for common to severe prenatal issues. Interested to learn more? Here are the answers to some of the most pressing questions about this age-old remedy for pregnancy.

Is acupuncture safe to use during pregnancy?

Under a licensed acupuncturist or midwife, this practice is totally safe and effective for a safe pregnancy and smooth delivery. Regardless, certain pressure points may trigger uterine contractions and are to be avoided during pregnancy, thus requires the help of a trained, experienced professional for optimal results.

What’s the science behind it?

Heralded as a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture’s roots as a prenatal treatment date back to over 2,000 years. Primarily, acupuncture and related practices are used to correct blockages and imbalances of blood circulation and qi, the TCM term for the vital flow of energy from within our bodies.

There are over 1,000 acupuncture points running along our internal energy pathways. In an acupuncture session, fine needles are inserted into these points to help balance and boost the function of these organs.

Related practices like acupressure and moxibustion are needle-less approaches used to treat the same pressure points. Acupressure applies a steady force through a firm massage on body parts like fingers, elbows, hands, knees, and feet. As a relief strip worn around your wrist, acupressure bands are also beneficial in warding off morning sickness and other pregnancy complaints.

Moxibustion, a practice performed by an acupuncturist, is executed through burning long sticks of the mugwort herb near certain acupuncture points along the body. Performed on the outside of your little toe, it has a successful reputation for turning a breech baby around, surpassing Western methods of doing such.

Can it in be used place of prenatal medical care?

Though it is not a viable substitute for Western prenatal care, a treatment every other week to once a month serves as an excellent complementary regimen. In conjunction with relaxing and keeping a healthy diet, acupuncture helps the pregnant body increase blood circulation. In communicating with your general health practitioner or Ob-gyn, it’s your responsibility to keep your acupuncturist abreast of any health issues or complications.

What ailments can acupuncture help treat during pregnancy?

Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of pregnancy and postpartum conditions such as:

Morning sickness
Fatigue
Insomnia
Constipation
Anemia
High blood pressure
Gestational diabetes
Heartburn
Haemorrhoids
Breech presentation
Depression/anxiety (both during and after pregnancy)
Lactation issues
Delayed labour

Acupuncture

When is the best time to start an acupuncture treatment plan during pregnancy?

Starting an acupuncture treatment plan as early as the first trimester sets a foundation for a sound pregnancy, especially in addressing early symptoms (morning sickness, be gone!) and miscarriage prevention.

As a pain reliever, an acupuncture session in your second trimester can offset the common pregnancy issues listed above. In the third trimester, studies reveal that women who undergo acupuncture generally have a shorter and less complicated labour.

During week 32-36 of pregnancy, acupuncture is especially useful in birth preparation. As a stress reliever, it can help to reduce the anxiety associated with labour induction. For women who plan to have a natural birth, acupuncture can be used to help reduce pain during contractions, thereby offsetting the use of pain meds. Your acupuncturist may suggest more frequent visits to help your body prepare for labour. While your acupuncturist cannot do labour induction, he/she may be able to perform acupuncture in the delivery room; get the green light from your hospital if you think you may want this.

Can I continue with acupuncture post pregnancy?

Postpartum care is crucial for new moms. According to TCM, a woman significantly loses the amount of blood and qi in her body while giving birth, beckoning the use of acupuncture treatments as early as within three days of delivery. Using moxibustion on points on the lower back and abdomen, these remedies combat soreness, aid healing, and keep the mother feeling revived as she enters motherhood.

Where to find an acupuncturist in Hong Kong:

Annerley: the midwives clinic
17/F Tak Woo House, 17-19 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2983 1558.

Integrated Medicine Institute (IMI)
13/F & 17/F Kailey Tower, 16 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2523 7121.

Health Wise Chinese Med
Suite 602-3, Prosperous Building, 48-52 Des Veoux Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2526 7908.

Vitality Center Ltd.
Suite 801 Commercial House, 35 Queen’s Road, Central,  Hong Kong, 2537 1118.

Hong Kong Atlas Chinese Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre
Flat 03, 20/F, Righteous Centre, 585 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2386 6388.

Health & Joy Traditional Chinese Medicine
Room 502, 5/F, Fu Hing Building, 9-11 Jubilee Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2111 0056.

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