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PREGNANCY AND ACUPUNCTURE

PREGNANCY AND ACUPUNCTURE

Pregnancy, and its outcome, childbirth, is a wonderful life-giving adventure but it is not without its ups and downs. While pregnancy is not a disease, the mother's body nevertheless undergoes a series of physiological, anatomical, metabolic and psychological changes that combine to create a very specific state of being requiring constant adaptation. 

ACUPUNCTURE DURING PREGNANCY
Being primarily a preventive form of medicine, acupuncture can play a very effective role in complementary pregnancy follow-up. It can help relieve several common problems and undesirable symptoms while avoiding the use of medications and their possible teratogenic effects. Moreover, acupuncture sessions allow the pregnant woman to take time to rest, lie down, and relax — all things that have a beneficial effect on her health.

DURING PREGNANCY, ACUPUNCTURE CAN HELP TREAT OR ALLEVIATE:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • reflux and heartburn
  • anxiety and stress
  • nose bleeds
  • constipation
  • circulation problems, swelling and heaviness in the legs
  • back, sciatic, abdominal and pelvic pain
  • preterm labour
  • breech presentation with better results around 34th week

FREQUENCY OF TREATMENTS
A woman with a normal pregnancy should try to see her acupuncturist at least once a month until the end of the eighth month and two to three times during the ninth monthBy taking her "Traditional Chinese Medicine pulses" examining her tongue, and asking detailed questions, an acupuncturist will be able to detect various problems and imbalances related to pregnancy. If theses imbalances are detected early on, they can be treated with more ease thus preventing possible future complications. In all cases, an acupuncture follow-up is adapted to the patient, there is no pre-set model.

PREPARATION OF LABOR
The acupuncture sessions in the last months of pregnancy are intended to sooth anxiety, relieve fatigue, and prepare the perineum and cervix for birth.  The goal is to ensure that the pregnant woman reaches term in good physical and psychological condition. The acupuncturist can be present during the birth and as needed thenafter.

During the preparation for childbirth, acupuncture can:
• induce labour when due or medically indicated
• promote relaxation of the perineum
• stimulate uterine contractions

During childbirth, acupuncture can:
relieve posterior, anterior and lateral pain
shorten labour
• promote the descent of the fetus
• treat slow labour progression
• promote relaxation of the perineum
decrease the need to use of medication
help reduce the need for a caesarean section and its related pain
• shorten the delivery period 
• treat retained placent

ACUPUNCTURE IN HOSPITAL SETTINGS
Acupuncture during hospital deliveries is common in Europe and is becoming more widespread in Québec, with very interesting results. In fact, the combination of complementary medicines makes it possible to handle emergency cases while still treating childbirth as a natural process.
Pain relief during childbirth: Acupuncture performed during labour helps to relieve the pain and make the mother more present during the delivery. In addition to promoting relaxation, the treatments will help the entire birthing process move along, with no negative consequences on either the mother or the baby. 
Acupuncture and other pain control modalities: Note that acupuncture is compatible with epidural anesthesia; in fact, the two can sometimes be complementary. Moreover, acupuncture shortens labour by an average of 4-6 hours in women giving birth for the first time.

To learn more...
Contact an acupuncturist member of the Association of Acupuncturists of Québec (AAQ).


PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH AND ACUPUNCTURE
©Association des acupuncteurs du Québec - legal notes

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