There are lots of things you may struggle with during pregnancy, so you may be wondering whether acupuncture can help. Are there risks associated with it? What are the potential benefits?
As you probably know, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine aimed at clearing the body’s pathways (meridians) of energy (qi), so that the person can experience better health. Many people swear by its effectiveness, although many Americans can’t get over the idea of having a bunch of needles stuck into your body as a way of making you feel better. So, is it worth trying it out during pregnancy?
Some folks say that acupuncture can help with morning sickness, fatigue, breech positioning of the babe, and can shorten labor time. Unfortunately, the folks who say this are usually acupuncturists, and their livelihoods depend on people buying in. Some people do seem to have found some relief from their negative pregnancy symptoms with acupuncture, although this may be a placebo effect. Since there aren’t any clear-cut studies about the effectiveness of acupuncture, all we are left with is anecdotal evidence. That being said, it is drug-free, and if you are really struggling, it might be worth a try. It seems that the main goal of acupuncture is to help a person relax, so helping the body relax may in turn help with those other symptoms.
It also looks like it may not have any negative side-effects, so if it doesn’t work out to help your symptoms, it may not hurt to try! The main damage will be to your wallet. Treatments can be quite pricey, especially if the acupuncturist recommends ongoing treatment. Some health insurance plans cover alternative therapies like acupuncture, but most don’t, so you will likely be paying entirely out of pocket.
If you are unsure, talk to your GP or your OB/GYN to see what they have to say, or if they have an acupuncturist they can refer you to. Modern acupuncture claims to work best in tandem with modern western medicine, so both approaches should be complementary to one another. You could try both modern western methods as well as the ancient eastern methods and see which works best for you, or if both work together!
Pregnancy is tough on a woman’s body, so it’s never a bad idea to try to find therapies that will help your body feel strong and healthy, and help to maintain a positive mental state. Taking time out of your regular life to lie down and be cared for (whether by an acupuncturist, massage therapist, chiropractor, or other practitioner) will almost always help you to relax and feel rejuvenated. Your best bet is to find one that works for your disposition, your body, and your wallet.