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How Can Acupuncture Help For Pregnancy?

By Charles Hopkins Published 01/2/2008 | Alternative Medicine
Acupuncture has been used in China for centuries to treat infertility, and pregnancy. It was just recently accepted in the United States as a tool for couples who want to conceive and who suffer symptoms, such as morning sickness and back pain, or other complications during pregnancy. Pregnancy is both an exciting and stressful experience for a couple, especially for females who will go through dramatic physical and emotional changes throughout the entire pregnancy. Acupuncture helps to better prepare a woman's body for the changes so she can experience her pregnancy in a more enjoyable way.

Acupuncture, combined with with herbs, can be used to treat any type of fertility disorder for both males and females. For male infertility acupuncture is usually used to increase the sperm count by treating the energy of kidneys. For female infertility acupuncture can be used to treat a wide range of disorders that cause infertility, including pelvic inflammatory disease, which inflicts the pelvic organs, and endometriosis. However, acupuncture may not cure the diseases but it would improve the ovarian and follicular function and increase blood flow to the endometrium, the membrane lining the uterus, which helps to facilitate a thick, rich lining for the fetus to use as nourishment.

Generally speaking, a successful conception occurs three to six months after acupuncture treatment, depending on individuals' body constitution. Even if a woman is treated with an insemination or in vitro fertilization (IVF), she can still benefit from acupuncture treatment. A recent study by Harvard Medical School shows that acupuncture treatment increases the success rate of artificial insemination. Patients are recommended acupuncture treatment three to four month before an insemination or IVF. This period of treatment seems to have a therapeutic effect.

Once a woman gets pregnant, her body starts a series of changes. Approximately half of pregnant women will experience nausea and vomiting during first three months. Stress and emotional tension can make the situation even worse. Breast tenderness and engorgement are very common, along with the color change around the nipples and areola. Secretion from the breasts usually occurs at the second trimester. The blood sugar level and blood pressure may elevate at the end of this period, causing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. The last trimester of pregnancy could have more physical discomfort and emotional stress. Sciatic pain and leg spasm are very common symptoms during this period of pregnancy. Acupuncture treatment is often used to provide a safe and effective way for the relief of all symptoms mentioned above. In case of breech, moxibustion (heating acupoints with mugwort) on the feet is proved to be very effective.

Acupuncture treatment is relatively safe during pregnancy. It should be a common practice that certain acupoints should be avoided and no strong stimulation should be performed. Finding an experienced acupuncturist who specializes in pregnancy care is very important.

In summary, acupuncture is a safe and effective tool for getting conception and managing various pregnancy symptoms. It provides treatment with few side effects both to the mother and the fetus.