Gynaecology and Pregnancy
The use of acupuncture in gynaecology and obstetrics go back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Acupuncture is a drug-free and safe way to treat pregnant women as well as pre-existing gynaecological conditions including:
- Absent periods (Amenorrhagia)
- Heavy periods (Menorrhagia)
- Irregular periods
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Acupuncture is a safe and cost-effective way to support women throughout their entire pregnancy. Treatment is generally recommended once a month to:
- Increase the blood flow to the uterus
- Increase the energy levels
- Ensure the optimal health of the mother and the developing foetus at different stages of growth and differentiation
As babies are vulnerable in the womb to toxins in the mother’s blood such as lead, cadmium, mercury, aluminum and copper acupuncture can:
- Minimise the transmission of these toxins from mother to child
- Increase the health of the baby and
- Increase the baby’s resistance to disease.
Acupuncture also treats common complaints in pregnancy including:
- Morning sickness
- Cystitis &Thrush
- Backpain & Sciatica
- Pubic symphysis pain
- Water retention
Prevention of Recurrent Miscarriages
10-25% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage. The most common cause of a miscarriage is genetic abnormalities that cause the embryo to be non-viable. Most women in the UK, unfortunately, have to experience three or more miscarriages before they qualify for further medical investigations. Current evidence shows that acupuncture can help to prevent threatening miscarriages that are caused by unidentified reasons and help to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Acupuncture for Labour
The use of acupuncture in labour and delivery is a common practice in China. The birth process in Traditional Chinese Medicine is considered natural and interference should be as minimal as possible. From week 36, once a week until delivery, treatments are given to help the cervix to soften, shorten and to dilate as well as to prepare the pelvis for labour by softening the ligaments and tendons prior to birth. Research has proven that acupuncture:
- Reduces the duration of labour
- Reduces the rate of induction
- Reduces medical intervention during labour
Acupuncture and Acupressure during labour
- Acupuncture is used in all three stages of labour:
- Stage 1 – Cervix dilation to 10cm
- Stage 2 – Uterine contractions to deliver the baby
- Stage 3 – Placenta expulsion
- Acupuncture can reduce the pain and shorten stage 1 and 2 in labour
- Acupressure can also be applied by the birth partner during labour.
Breech Position and Turning the Baby
A fascinating use of Chinese Medicine in pregnancy is the role in turning a foetus that is presenting in a breech position, i.e. feet first. The treatment is non-invasive and uses the herb mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), also called moxa. Moxibustion is most effective between the 28th and 34th week of pregnancy. The procedure takes 15-20 minutes and should be repeated twice a day for a maximum of 10 days. Most babies turn within 3 days. Moxa can be applied by a partner or a friend.
Induction for Post Due Date
In case a baby is overdue from 40 weeks acupuncture treatment is given 20-30 minutes per day or every other day. Acupuncture to induce labour is completely safe and in case a baby does not want to be born through the birth canal acupuncture will not force it to do so but it can reduce the need of medical intervention and increases the likelihood of a natural birth.
The restoration of a new mother’s health is imperative for her own wellbeing and her ability to look after the newborn baby. Acupuncture can help with after-birth conditions such as:
- Insufficient or excessive lactation
- Post-operative scar healing.
- Postpartum vaginal discharge
- Postpartum depression