Acupuncture for pregnancy

So one of the cool things about this pregnancy is that my mother-in-law was my midwife. I don’t know how she is with her other patients (very good from what I hear) but I definitely felt like I had extra special care compared with my pregnancy with Emila. This is how I came to try acupuncture for the first time while I was pregnant.

Having a pregnancy and a baby in Germany is different in general to one in the States. I had an ultrasound with almost every check up here where I only had two in the States. Toward the ends weeks I would have to lay with a monitor on my belly for a half hour to check the baby’s heart rate and contractions. Back home, they would listen for 30 seconds with a stethoscope and be finished.


Getting acupuncture done

Anyway, when my mother-in-law told me she had a friend who does acupuncture and asked if I’d be up for a few sessions to help the labor process go smoother I was all for it. After my last experience, anything that offered a smidgen of relief would be welcome.

So at 37 weeks, her friend, an acupuncture licensed midwife came to the house to stick needles in my legs. She put them around my knees, along my legs, ankles and my pinky toes. It didn’t hurt that much but had a strange sensation whenever I moved even a little. After 20 minutes she pulled them out, packed up and that was it!

That night and the next day I definitely had a feeling that something was different and had more contractions then before. With Emila, I hadn’t noticed any contractions until the night before she was born. With Olivia, they were happening most nights for the last month or so and sporadically before that. But with the acupuncture, I could definitely feel them stronger.

This process was repeated for the next two weeks with similar results each time. She told me that it’s not supposed to start labor any earlier but that once it starts the process should go quicker.

Did it work?

Two nights after the third session, Olivia decided it was time to arrive. I can’t say if the whole process was quicker since the whole environment was completely different to the last time but I will say that she came a day before my due date instead of 7 days late like before.  The whole process with Emila (1) started on Sunday at midnight and she was born at 2:41 pm. Olivia (2) also started Sunday at midnight when my water broke and she was born at 4:41pm. But this time we didn’t have to do a C-section which was my goal all along.

olivia first night

Overall, I’d say it was a good experience and one that if I’m so fortunate to have it offered, I would definitely try again.

acupuncture chart

So here are a few facts about acupuncture and pregnancy for those who, like me, didn’t know they can go hand in hand.

  • What is acupuncture? It is an ancient Chinese practice of placing needles in the body at certain points. This helps to correct imbalances and promote health.
  • Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy? Yes. If done by a licenses acupuncturist, the process is considered safe as they can avoid certain points that might shouldn’t be activated until a certain point.
  • How can acupuncture help during pregnancy?
    • If you suffer from morning sickness, back pain, ligament pain, premature cervical ripening, preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension), fatigue, heartburn, constipation, psychological problems and gestational diabetes acupuncture could help you. Let your acupuncturist know so they can target those areas that cause you trouble.
    • When your due date gets closer acupuncture can help with a breech baby to reposition them.
    • Acupuncture can even help after delivery with fatigue, depression and general healing.
  • When should you get acupuncture? Acupuncture is said to improve fertility for those looking to get pregnant. Once pregnant, it’s said to help with many uncomfortable and even dangerous side effects that pregnancy brings. In the last weeks of pregnancy, acupuncture can help prepare the body for labor and delivery. Some acupuncture can even be used in the delivery room to relieve pain and strengthen weak contractions. Finally, symptoms that present after delivery including depression and fatigue can be relieved with acupuncture.