Acupuncture During Pregnancy (And Beyond)

Often to a woman’s surprise, this time can be as emotionally and physically difficult as the preconception phase. We are fully committed to helping you give birth to a healthy baby and want to be with you every exciting step of the way.

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Pregnancy – The 1st trimester

Pregnancy AcupunctureAcupuncture has been used for centuries during pregnancy. Where western medicine doesn’t have a lot they can do to prevent miscarriage, Chinese medicine often does.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can often help during the first trimester with common issues such as: helping prevent miscarriage and alleviating morning sickness.

We often see patients weekly through the first trimester. Because we are a fertility practice, it has often been a difficult road for many of our patients to get pregnant and they like the help and comfort that acupuncture brings.

Click here to read an excerpt of Stephanie Gianarelli’s book about Chinese medicine and the 1st trimester.


Pregnancy – The 2nd trimester

Women typically receive treatment once a month during the second trimester, although some patients want to come more frequently.

Any of the following symptoms that arise in the second trimester are often treated with TCM:

  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Hypertension
  • Back pain
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety/Stress
  • Call with any other symptoms that arise and talk to one of our practitioners


Pregnancy – The 3rd trimesterAcupuncture During Pregnancy

Pregnant women return to the office for acupuncture around week 33-34 for several reasons:


Breech Positioning
TCM is often very effective at preparing the body to turn a baby with a breech presentation.  Success rates are higher if the fetus is less than 35 weeks. See the Research Page to read the studies.


Labor Prep and Pre-birth Acupuncture

When it’s time to have the baby, acupuncture helps to:

  • Reduce stress hormones. Stress can cause oxytocin levels to drop and labor contractions to slow down.
  • Help to dilate and ripen the cervix.
  • Help prepare the body for labor to start naturally.

With all of our best intentions, we have found that although we can sometimes help the body hasten delivery, babies often come when they are ready.

Reduction in labor duration
Research now shows that women who receive acupuncture for 4-6 weeks before giving birth have a significantly shorter and less painful labor than those that do not. This information is based on a control study recently done at the University of Vienna in Austria. The study suggests that women who received weekly acupuncture treatments (verses a group that did not) experienced a decrease in duration of the first stage of labor. It also shows that the women without the acupuncture treatments received significantly more oxytocin during the first and second stages of labor.

For more information see our research section.

“I send all of my OB patients for labor prep to Acupuncture Northwest & Associates,” Tacoma OB/GYN.

Thanks so much for the effort to induce my labor back in August….. I think that the work you did helped soften up my cervix to really make things go smoothly and quickly. – T.D.-

“I call Matt the baby whisperer. My body went into labor shortly after seeing him.”

Post-Partum – The 4th trimester

The Postpartum Program – This is a crucial time for the new mother to recover and heal and nothing does it better than Chinese medicine. Chinese culture (and therefore its medicine) is adamant about helping the new mother to regain full strength after childbirth. Here at Acupuncture Northwest & Associates, we have a program to help women do just that.

As a new mother, your baby has been born but there are still many changes taking place in your system that can affect every part of your life. Perhaps you had a difficult or traumatic delivery or problems come up during the postnatal period that seem to linger. While a routine exam is done by your doctor at six weeks, this may be brief and may not address your all of your physical health or emotional. Full recovery can take 3-6 months.

Post-natal conditions we often work with in our Postpartum Program :Postpartum Acupuncture
  • Postpartum depression
  • Breastfeeding problems
  • Urinary problems
  • Energy loss
  • Depression and anxiety
  • After pains – perineal soreness
  • Weakened immunity
  • Caesarean section recovery

You can read about Chinese medicine and postpartum studies here.