Whether you’re getting poked with a needle or pressed by a finger, these methods have been shown to relieve nausea and other pregnancy symptoms — and labor pain to boot.
With all the poking and prodding that comes along with pregnancy, getting stuck with needles voluntarily probably seems like the last thing you’d want to do. But when it comes to banishing some pregnancy woes, many moms-to-be sing the praises of acupuncture. In fact, both scientific research too says acupuncture can help ease many of the common aches and discomforts of pregnancy.
WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is a healing art that originated in China thousands of years ago. Traditional Chinese medicine views the body as two opposing forces, yin and yang. When an imbalance occurs between the two, it blocks what Chinese medicine refers to as qi (pronounced CHEE), or the flow of vital energy along internal pathways (known as meridians) in our bodies. During acupuncture, a practitioner inserts hair-thin needles through the skin at points along the meridians to correct imbalances and restore health.
So does it work? Researchers have found that acupuncture points correspond to deep-seated nerves, so that when the needles or twirled or electrically stimulated (known as electropuncture), the nerves are activated. This, in turn, triggers the release of several brain chemicals, including endorphins, which block pain signals and help to relieve a number of pregnancy symptoms.
BENEFITS OF ACUPUNCTURE DURING PREGNANCY
Many people credit acupuncture for easing a wide range of pregnancy symptoms including heartburn, swelling in the legs, constipation, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica and more.
Here are some of the pregnancy symptoms acupuncture can relieve that science has studied:
- Morning sickness. Some studies have shown that traditional acupuncture that targets the wrist can reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness.
- Lower back and pelvic pain. Research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reports acupuncture could reduce pain in the lower back along with pelvic pain. Pregnant women in their late second and third trimesters received acupuncture on points on the ear; sham acupuncture (so-called “fake” acupuncture, done at nonspecific points); or no treatment at all. At the one-week follow-up, about 80 percent of women in the acupuncture group had a clinically significant reduction in pain, compared to 56 percent in the sham acupuncture group and only 36 percent for the group who received no treatment.
Source: WHAT TO EXPECT
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