5 Benefits of Acupuncture During Pregnancy (Research-Backed)

If you’re trying to look for alternative methods to relieve your pregnancy woes, you might want to give acupuncture a try

A young woman undergoing acupuncture therapy
Photo by Antoni Shkraba

The feeling of growing a new life inside of you can be joyful and exciting. But behind the anticipation is morning sickness, back aches, and other discomforts. So, if you’re trying to look for alternative methods to relieve your pregnancy woes, you might want to give acupuncture a try. Although, inserting needles into your skin may not be the first method that comes into your mind when you are expecting a baby, acupuncture is known to be effective in alleviating various pregnancy symptoms.

If you still find the thought of needles intimidating, reading about the benefits of acupuncture below may alleviate your apprehensions. But, before listing the benefits, lets find out if acupuncture is safe during pregnancy.

Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy?

The short answer is yes, acupuncture is generally safe for all pregnancies. But it’s always best to talk to your doctor before booking your appointment with an acupuncturist.

Also, go to a licensed acupuncture to ensure you get proper treatment. Your acupuncturist will avoid specific acupoints that induce labor or can harm the baby. So, complications and severe reactions are rare. At most, you’ll feel bruising and tenderness in the areas where the needles were inserted, which will go away after a few days.

But if you feel any adverse effects after your session, seek medical attention immediately.

Now let’s look at the benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy.

Acupuncture Benefits for Pregnancy

1. Helps reduce morning sickness

Morning sickness is common during pregnancy, and its cause still remains a mystery even until now. However, it’s believed that physical and metabolic changes, such as increased hormones and lowered blood pressure, trigger them.

Since morning sickness can be exasperating, you can reduce their frequency through acupuncture. A study shows that pregnant women who received traditional acupuncture for four weeks experienced less nausea and dry retching compared to women who received sham or no acupuncture at all.

Although there were no differences in the effects of vomiting, acupuncture is still worth checking into for your morning sickness.

2. Relieves pelvic and lower back pain

One of acupuncture’s significant benefits is the ability to relieve pain, so it’s no wonder that it can also be effective in alleviating pelvic and lower back pain during pregnancy.

The ligaments in your body soften and stretch to prepare you for labor, which can cause tension in your pelvis and lower back. Although this is a common occurrence during early pregnancy, dealing with the pain can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture significantly reduces pain and improves the function of your lower back and pelvis. It also reveals that acupuncture had no adverse effects on newborn babies, making the treatment safer compared to taking analgesics during pregnancy.

3. Improves sleep

A growing belly, pressure on your diaphragm, and increased frequency of urination are just a few reasons that keep you at night. Sleep is critical for everyone and it’s even more important during pregnancy as you deserve a whole night’s rest during your term. Acupuncture to help you sleep better.

A study found that acupuncture increases melatonin production in your body to reduce insomnia. Researchers also found that acupuncture can be a low-risk and low-cost alternative to taking sleeping medication since it doesn’t have any debilitating side effects and is more affordable in the long run.

4. Helps manage antepartum depression symptoms

Antepartum depression can be caused by the stress and anxiety of pregnancy. When it’s paired with increased hormones, this mood disorder can be challenging to shake.

If you want to seek an alternative treatment to manage your antepartum depression, acupuncture can be effective in managing its symptoms.

A randomized controlled trial found that receiving acupuncture over time can reduce depression, stress, and distress during pregnancy.

Although it’s recommended to consult your doctor first about the treatment for your depression, the positive result of the research makes acupuncture worth exploring as a safer substitute if you don’t want to take antidepressants during pregnancy.

Related » Pregnancy: What exactly should I expect?

5. Alleviates labor pains

Before you can hold your bundle of joy in your arms, you must go through the grueling hours of labor. So, if your due date is coming up, you can reduce labor pain with acupuncture.

Acupuncture stimulates your nervous system and triggers the production of endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain-killing hormones. It also changes the transmission of pain signals to your brain to trick it into alleviating labor pain. Lastly, acupuncture can also improve the blood flow to your womb and influence contractions. Thus, it reduces the intensity of labor pain and shortens your labor.

Summing Up

If you are now convinced about the benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy, look for a reputed center for a treatment. Make sure that the center has properly trained and accredited acupuncture therapists with the necessary skills and knowledge to help you through your journey of pregnancy.

A word for those trying to conceive

If you are trying to get pregnant, acupuncture can help to improve your chances. Look for an acupuncture center near you that offers a fertility program.

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