Acupuncture and Pregnancy

Early Stages of Pregnancy

During the first few weeks of pregnancy acupuncture can be very beneficial - it has a known immuno-regulatory effect which may reduce any risk of rejection and increases blood flow to nourish the micro-circulation of the uterus and the developing placenta.  

Weekly treatments at this stage can also reduce any anxiety or stress and provide support to the mother.  In addition, it can offer some relief from the symptoms that typically beset the first trimester:

  • Morning sickness

  • Fatigue

  • Sore lower back

  • Cramping or spotting


Second and Third Trimester

Hand on Bump

From week 13 onward the baby starts growing larger and stronger as it's organs develop and he or she will start moving around.  Symptoms from the first trimester, such as nausea or headache often start to subside.  In Chinese medicine this is the phase where the mother is full of qi (energy/oxygen) and blood and is usually a time to be enjoyed.  However, any discomforts that do arise can often benefit from minor dietary changes, massage or acupuncture: 

  • Headaches

  • Heartburn and constipation

  • Varicose veins

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Sore hips and back/sciatic pain

  • Pubic symphysis pain

Natural Labour Induction

The use of acupuncture in pregnancy and to induce labour has a long history in China.  Typically, (with approval from your medical doctor), acupuncture treatments as a general preparation for birth can be started from 37 weeks.  If close to the 40 week due date then this may be switched to a full labour induction treatment.

Acupuncture for labour induction is a relaxing treatment and clinical trials have shown that it can:  

  • Stimulate the body's circulation

  • Ease physical and mental tension

  • Reduce the duration of delivery

  • Strengthen uterine contractions

  • Decrease the amount of oxytocin given during delivery

  • Extend the length of uterine contractions and shorten the intermittent periods of contraction

The number of treatments required to induce labour with acupuncture varies depending on the individual but take, on average, 2-3 sessions. The full effect of a treatment generally takes effect from four to twenty four hours after an acupuncture treatment.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the time immediately following birth is crucial for both the mother and baby.  Nourishment and replenishment are imperative to offset any fatigue or trauma incurred during the birthing process, and acupuncture can be very effective for postpartum conditions such as:

  • Urine retention

  • Pelvic pain

  • Anxiety

  • Insufficient lactation

Mother and Baby

All of the above information is subject to clients having a designated healthcare professional and seeking proper medical advice for any persistent signs or symptoms during all trimesters.