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Acupuncture During Pregnancy-Benefits, Do's & Don'ts

Acupuncture during pregnancy can be especially good to relieve morning sickness, as well as help you manage a range of other pregnancy symptoms you’d rather not put up with. It is generally considered to be safe, and some women who go for acupuncture during pregnancy, will go back to the acupuncturist after giving birth. However like any other treatment that you are considering, make sure you check with your gynaecologist before going for acupuncture during pregnancy. Some acupuncturists specialise in working with pregnant women, so the ideal situation would be to get a recommendation from your doctor.

1. The possible benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy:

  1. Relief of morning sickness, even when it comes at its most severe form – hyperemesis gravidarum
  2. Migraine and other headache relief
  3. Reduced pelvic pain
  4. Reduced varicose veins
  5. Relieves constipation
  6. Can help anxiety
  7. Can balance either high or low blood pressure
  8. Can relieve tender breasts
  9. Can help reduce fatigue
  10. Can relieve constipation
  11. Can help with back ache
  12. May stop spotting or bleeding during the early months of your pregnancy
  13. Can relieve heartburn
  14. Can help to shrink haemorrhoids
  15. May help with depression during pregnancy and also afterwards
  16. One acupuncture treatment per month can help reduce stress

2. Acupuncture can help to induce labour

Acupuncture can also be successful in helping to induce labour, however it should only be used in overdue pregnancies. The acupuncturist must have the consent of your obstetric team. Often it may take a couple of days for it to work, but sometimes it can have a really quick effect. Acupuncture can help reduce pain during labour, and if the labour is especially long it can also be used to increase the mother’s energy.
acupuncture to induce labour

3. Breach babies can be turned at a rate of 80%

For many centuries moxibustion, which is an adjunct to acupuncture, has been used to turn breech babies. Previous research has shown that the success rate of this method of returning breech babies is around 80%.

If you’ve never seen moxibustion pregnancy breech presentation before, it can seem a little bit unusual. What seems to be a cigar stick is placed to smoulder away above a particular acupuncture point, in this case the relevant pointers on the little toe. This cigar stick is made up of her which is called moxa.

4. How does acupuncture work?

Chinese medicine, which includes a range of practices such as acupuncture, moxibustion, acupressure and the use of herbs, believes that our health problems are caused by blockages or imbalances.

Although acupuncture is something that we’ve only become more open to over the last decade or two in the Western world, its practice in the East has a history of more than 2500 years. Chinese medical practitioners and acupuncturists operate based on the belief that we have meridians, which are basically a series of internal pathways, in our bodies. What you and I may considered to be normal energy is viewed by them as vital energy. The name for this vital energy is chi, which is also spelt qi. It’s pronounced as Chee. Chi Runs through these internal pathways, and when its flow is smooth and regular we experience good health. However for a whole host of reasons chi can become blocked.

When an acupuncturist pokes a patient with a needle, it’s not some kind of random poking. Each of us have over 1000 acupuncture points in our bodies, that are placed along these pathways called meridians. So a qualified acupuncturist knows exactly what combination of acupuncture points to needle you with, in order to have the desired effect.

5. Is acupuncture painful?

There are times when an acupuncture needle enters the body, and you’d hardly know it had gone in. Mostly it’s not painful, although the odd point may have some reaction, especially when it’s connected with the blockage. This doesn’t happen for everyone, but if it does happen it’s generally not too painful and very short lived.

6. Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?

Generally acupuncture is considered to be safe during pregnancy, but as mentioned at the beginning of this article, make sure that your medical team approves of high you’re going, and ideally get a recommendation.

There are a small selection of acupuncture points which any qualified acupuncturist knows should be avoided during pregnancy:

The points L14, SP6 and points on the sacrum can cause contractions.

On the lower abdomen there is a point where the acupuncturist needs to be careful of not needing to deep.

The same applies to a point on the lower back, deep meeting must be avoided.




Midwife sonographer facilitated

Consultant Led, Centre of Medical Excellence 


All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.


This website was formerly Merrion Fetal Health. The clinic has undergone a rebrand and is now known as Merrion Ultrasound.