Acupuncture can be a great aid and support during your pregnancy.
Right from the start with nausea (which isn’t always in the mornings!) through the possible discomforts of a sore lower back, pubic symphysis pain, and sciatica, to worry, restless sleep and low energy, acupuncture has been useful to women who want effective and safe treatments. One huge advantage acupuncture can offer is the lack of side effects that medication can not always avoid.
Rest assured I know what I’m doing. I was taught by Dr Debra Betts, author or `The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy’ and have worked at the Hutt Hospital Acupuncture Antenatal clinic both as a practitioner and as a clinical supervisor.
There are 3 particular times when acupuncture can offer you another option than the conventional.
Around 33 to 34 weeks is an ideal time to start using something called moxa to encourage your baby to move out of the breech position and into a more favourable one. Moxa is a herb that is burned over the little toe of each foot (strange sounding I know but it works!) This is something I show you how to do, then give you a smokeless moxa stick to use at home for 10 minutes on each foot for 10 days. It’s soothing and painless and it increases the likelihood of your baby turning into a better position and decreases your likelihood of needing a caesarean delivery because of a breech position.
Preparing for labour
In weeks 36-37 acupuncture pre-birth treatments can begin. These are weekly 45 minute treatments until you go into labour, so normally about 3 – 5 treatments in total. The focus of these treatments is to ensure you’re in a good space physically, mentally and emotionally for the upcoming labour.
After talking with you about how you’re going, I choose points to help with anything that may be troubling you – a lingering cold, low energy, anxiety and worry about what’s ahead, alongside points to support your body as the labour draws nearer.
Pre-birth acupuncture points are chosen to help soften and support the lumbar and pelvis, `ripen’ the cervix, build energy and calm the mind. You can choose to combine this with massage and give yourself some `me’ time before you get busy!
“Each time, Nicky met me with calm and professional confidence, and I felt heard and supported in my desire for a natural as possible birth for my baby. More importantly, Nicky allowed me a way to access my intuitive knowing and bring that into the decision-making process.” — A.T
If you are scheduled for a medical induction you can try acupuncture to stimulate your body to go into labour. This works when you are 10+ days overdue and if your baby is ready. Some women will go into labour after one treatment, most often though two to three treatments will be enough, rarely four would be needed. It is a good idea to plan to begin acupuncture 3 – 4 days before your planned medical induction to allow the treatments to take effect.
Acupressure in labour
Another effective option for pain relief during labour is acupressure. You can use acupressure to help prepare you for labour, to help establish effective contractions, pain relief in labour, for after pains and to help with breastfeeding.
This is something you, your partner and support people can learn using the information from Acupuncturist, Debra Bett’s booklet – `Acupressure for Natural Pain Relief in Labour’.