Acupuncture is often thought of as a treatment for pain and is used to manage conditions such as tension headaches or chronic pain. It also can help with issues in pregnancy including back pain, neck pain &/or pelvic pain with other added benefits. 

But first, let’s clarify what specifically prenatal acupuncture is. Due to the increased stresses and shifting mechanics of pregnancy, it is difficult to rehabilitate back and pelvic discomfort, prenatal acupuncture is a service that relieves these symptoms.

To gain the maximum benefits of prenatal acupuncture, we recommend that women have 1  to 2 30 minute acupuncture sessions per week, and should begin to see benefits after 3 sessions.

How often should you have acupuncture during pregnancy?

 

There will be a conversation between you and your physiotherapist to determine the amount of therapy that is ideal for you. This will be determined by a number of factors, including your medical history and symptoms.

 An acupuncturist can then offer the optimal treatment strategy for you based on this information. The normal sessions recommended are mentioned below, however, this is only a suggestion, and we maintain the freedom to alter the number of sessions to match your needs. 

Acupuncture can be used 1-2 times per week and normally for up to 12 sessions. For most women after 3 sessions we will be able to see the potential of acupuncture and, as we run it alongside your home program, it can be used as part of the whole picture for your pregnancy care. 

Treatments last for approximately 30 minutes. 

At what stage of pregnancy can you have acupuncture?

 

We avoid starting prenatal acupuncture during the first trimester. Conversely, as most women require at least 3 or more sessions there is also a point at which you may be very close to your due date that we feel the window to see the impact of acupuncture during pregnancy has been missed. 

That being said, prenatal acupuncture can have an immediate effect on more than just back pain, which may benefit you in the last weeks of your pregnancy. This is something you would discuss with your clinician directly. 

Is it safe to have acupuncture during pregnancy?

 

A typical question we get is whether having a prenatal acupuncture session is safe. Prenatal acupuncture, in fact, has a place in the treatment of pelvic pain during pregnancy. However, this does necessitate a comprehensive physiotherapy examination for every woman to guarantee we are assisting you in selecting the best treatment. 

Due to the debate surrounding the safety of acupuncture during pregnancy, we avoid certain points and may discontinue treatment if your pregnancy health condition changes.

It’s natural to be wary of any therapy or procedure during pregnancy, which is why at WomenKind Health, we focus on the what and why – “what are we trying to achieve in this treatment? Are there other versions or options that could achieve the same outcome with fewer risks?”. 

This is all part of the normal process of physiotherapy treatment selection and requires your input so we can collaborate and select the best treatment for you.

Benefits of prenatal acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used in pregnancy predominantly in the back and pelvic pain but also for additional conditions including carpal tunnel, neck pain, and stress.

Back and pelvic pain 

This is a common condition during pregnancy affecting around 20% of women, having a significant impact on your physical and social wellbeing.  Pregnancy-related back pain can be due to mechanical changes including the shift in the distribution of weight in your body as the baby grows, and also underlying issues relating to your posture from pre-existing imbalances.

Acupuncture helps your body change the way the pain signals are experienced in your body by influencing the pain centers in your brain thus reducing the severity of pain.  When put alongside other physiotherapy treatments like a tailored exercise program or manual therapy,  you can impact your symptoms more significantly.

Wellbeing 

Additional benefits are frequently attached to acupuncture advice, but they are essentially some of the foundations of health and wellbeing. Reduced anxiety, better sleep quality, and enhanced mobility (the capacity to move freely) are some of the benefits.

As many pregnant women will attest, getting these foundations into their day is the difference between a flourishing experience and a slog of a pregnancy. As a physiotherapist, our acupuncture approach will be focused on the mechanics and nerve patterns you are telling us about your pain. These additional effects are not the primary focus of our treatment but are a very welcomed potential benefit. 

The premise is that although we focus on the pain/dysfunction of your symptoms in our therapy, the effect of the needles stimulates the systems in your body that help to repair and restore your body (the parasympathetic system). When these systems are well-balanced, your body moves out of a stressed state. These extra benefits can be quite beneficial to your general well-being.

Prenatal acupuncture in Sheffield

Acupuncture is a valuable addition to our service at WomanKInd Health. We love being able to give you the breadth of options in your pregnancy management and integrate it into your care package. It can be used alongside other treatments such as:

  • Physiotherapy 
  • Pilates
  • Pregnancy massage 

Contact us to find out more and ask any questions you may have about prenatal acupuncture or any of our other treatments.

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