Acupuncture and Pregnancy

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The nine months (or so – it’s actually 40 weeks as anyone who has been pregnant has counted!) of pregnancy are often marked by overwhelming joy and excitement about the new addition to your family. But, this time can also be one of increased anxiety, stress and physical discomfort (think nausea, swollen ankles, backaches and heartburn).

Increasingly, expectant mothers (and even their spouses) are coming  for acupuncture to help ease some of the symptoms and physical stresses of pregnancy – and they are not alone. The use of acupuncture is increasing across the country.

The What to Expect website (yes, of What to Expect When You’re Expecting fame) has a great article about acupuncture and pregnancy, where it talks about how pregnant women have been turning to acupuncture for thousands of years for relief of the physical tolls of pregnancy on their bodies. The article goes on to discuss how acupuncture has been shown to help relieve everything from morning sickness, migraines, fatigue, heartburn, back pain and stress for pregnant women. It’s also been shown to help treat depression both during and after pregnancy.

Another online resource, WebMD, talks about how “recent studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in relieving low back pain during pregnancy” in its pregnancy section.

Of course, if you are not yet pregnant, but are trying to conceive, acupuncture has also been shown to help with fertility. A recent USAToday article discussed a review by researchers at the University of Maryland of studies of nearly 1,400 women that showed that acupuncture may improve the odds of conceiving if done right before or after embryos were placed in the womb as part of the in vitro fertilization (or IVF) process.

At the end of the day, pregnancy is an amazing time – for a woman, her family and her body. Still, the physical effects are not small or inconsequential ones. Working with a licensed acupuncture practitioner to develop a customized, safe program to help relieve these physical effects early in a pregnancy can help with overall well-being and comfort. If you are pregnant, consider it (and…congratulations!).

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