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Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for a Healthy Pregnancy

The goal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to restore balance in the body. This is can be achieved by promoting blood and energy (Qi) flow and balancing all the organs and systems in the body.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used for hundreds of years to boost fertility, prevent miscarriage and promote a healthy pregnancy. Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy and is used to treat a wide range of problems such as morning sickness, insomnia, anemia, fatigue, sinusitis, edema and sciatica. Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific areas of the body, to promote health. It is not painful.

Acupuncture for fertility

In TCM the Kidneys, Liver, Heart and Uterus form the core of reproductive activity. These organs are important for boosting fertility in men and women and for the growth and development of the fetus during pregnancy. Factors such as stress, environmental toxins, old age and poor health can affect the function of these organs and compromise fertility. Sometimes a course of Chinese herbs is advised to detox the body before trying to conceive. Chinese medicine is used to regulate the menstrual cycle, improve the quality of eggs or sperm, promote ovulation, fertile cervical mucus, thicken the endometrial lining and prevent miscarriage. Whether you are trying to get pregnant naturally or with IVF, acupuncture can help you increase your chances of getting pregnant. Recent research shows that acupuncture can increase the IVF pregnancy rates by up to 40% when acupuncture is used shortly before and after the transfer of embryos.

Pregnancy – is not an illness.

A balanced diet, plenty of rest and gentle exercise are important during pregnancy but even when women follow these good measures problems such as dizziness, morning sickness, tiredness and headaches may occur. These problems are common in pregnancy as a mother's body adapts to the changes required for the growth and development of her baby. According to TCM some organs are under more stress than other organs. The digestive organ is under a greater demand to produce and supply blood to secure a mother's pregnancy. The kidney must deliver its essence for the proper growth and development of her baby and the liver needs to transform toxins , stabilize the uterus and keep stress to a minimum. Acupuncture treatment involves regulating and boosting the appropriate organs and channels to relieve stress, pain and discomfort.

Acupuncture in pregnancy – a drug free approach.

Prescription drugs are not recommended during pregnancy because they can cross the placenta and affect the development of the baby. Acupuncture during pregnancy is an ideal form of treatment because it provides women drug free relief for a multitude of problems at any stage of pregnancy. Acupuncture in pregnancy not only improves a women's quality of life but prevents problems such as high blood pressure, depression and sciatica from becoming more serious, which would necessitate medical treatment.

Acupuncture is used to treat these pregnancy related problems:

Pregnancy list

 Acupuncture for stress in pregnancy

Past studies have shown that if a mother experiences too much maternal stress her baby is more likely to be born underweight or premature. Recent research shows that women who experience high levels of stress during pregnancy have a greater chance of having a hyperactive child and there is growing evidence that hyperactivity can affect children long after birth. A baby's first connection to the world is through his mother. If a mother feels cheerful and contented these feelings pass through the placenta to nourish and protect her baby. Acupuncture can induce a feeling of well being. It counteracts the effect of stress hormones on the body. Acupuncture improves blood flow and promotes the distribution of oxygen and nutrients through the uterine arteries, which is necessary for the proper development of the unborn baby.

Acupuncture to prepare for labour – a quicker labour and speedy recovery

Many women want their babies to be delivered as quickly and naturally as possible. The benefits of a quicker labour are numerous. It reduces the incidence of maternal exhaustion and fetal distress, which can lead to medical intervention and facilitates a quicker recovery. Studies show that women who have regular pre-birth acupuncture are more likely to have a quicker and easier labour. From 34 weeks acupuncture can be used every week to prepare the uterus, soften the cervix, reduce stress and build strength before labour begins.

Acupuncture to turn a breech baby

Moxibustion is a gentle method to help turn a breech baby. It involves burning a herbal stick directly over an acupuncture point on the foot to stimulate fetal activity. Moxibustion is a safe treatment and is ideally used between 34 and 36 weeks pregnancy.

Acupuncture to induce labour

If labour has not begun by your due date acupuncture can provides a safe and gentle way to initiate the onset of spontaneous labour. Acupuncture helps reduces fluid retention and loosen tight pelvic muscles and joints, which can hinder the onset of labour. Specific points are used to help your baby descend further into the birth canal. When a baby's head presses on the cervix it can initiate a series of reactions, which involves the release of oxytocin and the onset of labour.

Acupuncture after pregnancy - postnatal care

Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding place a significant demand on a mother; mentally, emotionally and physically. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine even a relatively uncomplicated labour occurs with a significant loss of blood and (Qi) energy. It is believed that a new mother must restore blood and energy quickly otherwise she is more susceptible to problems such as depression, insufficient milk supply and infection. Traditional Chinese Medicine includes the use of herbal medicines, dietary advice and acupuncture to promote a speedy recovery and reestablish balance in the body. Chinese Medicine is a natural, safe and effective way to treat postnatal symptoms and restore harmony to the body.

Acupuncture can treat the following postnatal problems

postnatal problems

The Confinement period

Nowadays mothers are being discharged early from hospital and there is a tendency to resume a "normal" lifestyle soon after childbirth. A Chinese custom of "confinement" is a traditional practice of postpartum care for mothers after the birth of their new baby. In the olden days new mothers had to stay in bed, keep their windows closed, eat certain foods and soups and not bathe or wash their hair for 30 days. The confinement period was essentially a primitive form of quarantine to prevent postpartum complications. There is no doubt that "doing the month" can speed up recovery and ensure the uterus is viable for another pregnancy, but nowadays we don't have to be so primitive. We have hot water, filtered clean drinking water, hair driers, soaps, disinfectants and antibiotics. However it is advisable that new mothers take care for at least 30 days after childbirth. They must eat well, rest more and sleep as much as possible during this time. There are traditional confinement soups, which are easy to prepare. They are meat, chicken or pork based and a rich source of carotenes, collagen, antioxidants and vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. Confinement soups are excellent for promoting breast milk and facilitating a speedy recovery after childbirth.

Mother warming

Mother warming is a very relaxing treatment which can be started around 3 to 5 days after childbirth. This is a moxibustion technique and involves warming special points on the lower abdomen and back to speed up healing, relieve soreness and help tone the uterus.

If you interested in acupuncture or herbal medicine treatments please call 25237121 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make an appointment with IMI's Registered TCM Practitioner Gianna Buonocore. If you are unable to visit clinic, you can arrange for a telephone consultation and have your prescribed remedies collected by a family member or friend.

If you are looking for midwives and nurses that support you through pregnancy, birth and beyond, we recommend Annerley.