Acupuncture for fertility, pregnancy and labor
Acupuncture and its herbal medicine companion are proving their vital role in achieving, maintaining, and completing pregnancy. These treatments promise to deliver greater comfort and peace of mind throughout the pre and perinatal period.
Whatever the cause of infertility, acupuncture and herbs will improve a woman’s chances of conceiving.
Acupuncture increases blood flow to the endometrium, thereby facilitating a thick lining, ideal for conception. A mother choosing to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) will increase her chances of conception by 50% when acupuncture is included as part of the fertility treatment regimen. The conclusions of a recent review of literature exploring the efficacy of traditional Chinese herbal medicine in the management of female infertility showed a twofold improvement in pregnancy rates over a four month period when compared to western medical fertility drug therapy or IVF over 12 months.
The World Health Organization (WHO) determined acupuncture to be found useful in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, and significantly reducing the duration of labor and labor pains.
During the first trimester of pregnancy the focus of the treatment provided is to reduce the likelihood of miscarriage and assist in minimizing common pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue. Acupuncture during the second trimester will focus on maintaining pregnancy by minimizing common symptoms and balancing musculoskeletal complaints. Acupuncture during the third trimester prepares the body for labor by relaxing and softening ligaments and tendons, aiding cervical dilation and nourishing the blood. This is also the time where acupuncture is used to turn breach babies. Turning is most successful when treatments begin as early as possible. The 33rd-36th week of pregnancy is the most ideal time to begin the turning process.
When the mother has carried the baby full term, a minimum of 39 weeks, acupuncture can be safely utilized as labor induction, and as a compliment or alternative to pitocin in cases where induction is recommend by the care provider. Acupuncture induction works with the body to perform natural uterine contractions and poses no risk of uterine rupture. Women most often experience labor more smoothly, and report feeling more calm and relaxed during and after acupuncture induction. Acupuncture is rapidly becoming more popular for women through pregnancy and labor due to its natural, non-drug, side-effect free pain relieving ability.
If you are pregnant, looking to become such, or have reached full term, consider including Chinese medicine and acupuncture as part of your regular treatment regimen as a safe and effective natural approach to maternity care.