Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years on people of all ages, including pregnant women. We frequently recommend acupuncture as a safe prenatal treatment modality. Acupuncture has multiple benefits for pregnant women, including more physical ease, healthier sleep habits, stress reduction, and – in some cases – improved fertility rates. Acupuncture for pregnancy is also supported by ACOG as well as the American Pregnancy Association.
Licensed acupuncturists are educated and trained to provide the most benefit and least risk to pregnant women. The key to receiving safe acupuncture while pregnant is obtaining clearance from your OB or general physician. Then do your homework to select a qualified, experienced acupuncturist near you.
Benefits of Acupuncture During Pregnancy
Some of the most documented benefits of acupuncture before and during pregnancy include the following:
• Treat underlying infertility factors. Acupuncture is often used to help women treat existing infertility factors like endometriosis and PCOS. By managing those conditions, women may not need fertility treatment at all and are more likely to experience faster fertility treatment success.
• Support fertility. Recent studies show a correlation between the use of fertility acupuncture and improved success rates for fertility treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and IVF.
• Reduce morning sickness.That’s right! Many women report acupuncture reduces or eliminates their bouts of morning sickness. Acupuncture is one of many natural approaches to keeping morning sickness at bay.
• Relieve general pregnancy discomforts. Successful pain management is one of the reasons acupuncture became so popular here in the west. That includes reducing the inflammation and discomfort commonly associated with pregnancy, such as an aching lower back and legs, sore knee and hip joints, heartburn, digestive issues, constipation, and swelling in the extremities.
• Improve sleep quality. The combination of pregnancy hormones, a compressed bladder, and your rapidly changing body (Visit our Pregnancy Monthly posts to learn more about your body’s changes during each week of pregnancy) may cause insomnia or interrupted sleep. Acupuncture helps by promoting relaxation and more sound sleep.
Most acupuncture centers make it a point to create peaceful and soothing interior atmospheres. So, in addition to taking advantage of acupuncture benefits during pregnancy, patients thoroughly enjoy the hour+ of peace and tranquility.
What to Look For in a Prenatal Acupuncturist
Here are tips on how to find a safe pregnancy acupuncturist:
1. Ask your OB/GYN or midwife for referrals.
Odds are your OB or midwife has a list of acupuncturists vetted by previous patients, so that may be an excellent place to start. Don’t forget to ask the nurses and office staff. Sometimes our patients share information that doesn’t make it to the physician.
2. Make sure they’re currently licensed.
You can verify if an acupuncturist has an active license on the Washington State Department of Health Provider Credential Search. Most practitioners have their license numbers clearly displayed on their business cards or websites. If not, they’re happy to provide that information for you. Peruse their websites and look for messages that resonate with you. In most cases, acupuncture centers intentionally create content to attract their ideal clientele. So, if the license is valid, you like what you read, and they come highly recommended, then you’ve most likely found a good match.
3. Look for clinicians who specialize in prenatal or fertility acupuncture.
Acupuncture is popular, so there are a large number of acupuncturists to choose from. While all licensed acupuncturists are educated and trained to support a pregnant client, some gravitate toward that niche. Therefore, we recommend searching for an acupuncturist specializing in prenatal or fertility acupuncture. In many cases, they’ve pursued advanced training and continued education in those realms, which means you benefit from specialized care and the latest research.
An OB/GYN That Takes a Big Picture Approach to Pregnancy
The OB’s, midwives, and nurses at Overlake OB/GYN understand that the happiest and healthiest mothers and babies are those who receive big-picture approaches to care. We support lifestyle choices, including acupuncture, that keeps you comfortable. Contact us to schedule your first prenatal appointment or obtain referrals to the area’s most reputable pregnancy acupuncturists.