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Acupuncture Healthy Pregnancy Baby Mother


Acupuncture for a Healthy Baby and Mother
by Regan J. Archibald, MS, LAc.,CSSAc

Acupuncture offers great benefits to both the baby and the mother in the birth process. In speaking to mothers concerned about safe therapies available for the various discomforts of pregnancy, I often mention the relaxing benefits of regular acupuncture treatments. Though it is not common for a person to relate needles to relaxation and well-being that is exactly what acupuncture can do!

Many expectant mothers are working long, hard hours in high stress jobs, often allowing only a couple of days of preparation before the baby is born. This puts a great deal of stress on the mother and the developing child. The child is especially at risk because he is developing physiological and energetic systems. This causes him to become susceptible to 'maternal toxins' that are the by-product of stress. These toxins often result in a childhood tendency for skin rashes, frequent colds and high fevers. Regular balancing treatments with acupuncture can enhance the health of the mother and baby and often alleviates many of the unwanted side-effects of pregnancy.

During pregnancy the mother and child need constant nourishment and a proper "Qi" flow for the fetal development. When the Qi becomes blocked in one area of the body, pain and sickness can easily develop. One of the safest therapies available for an expectant mother is acupuncture. According to the World Health Organization, "acupuncture has been found useful for relieving labor pain, nausea, vomiting, and significantly reducing the duration of labor. There is also strong evidence that acupuncture can help with a breached birth." (

A pregnant woman is especially susceptible to blockages and stagnation because of the drastic hormonal and structural changes that are taking place in her body. One report shows that "50-80% of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy". A recent study conducted by the Women's and Children's Hospital has shown that acupuncture is extremely effective in treating morning sickness in early pregnancy. Study coordinator, Dr. Caroline Smith, took a sample of 593 women who were less than 14 weeks pregnant and experiencing nausea and vomiting. Each expectant mother received 20 minute acupuncture sessions weekly for four weeks. Dr. Smith concluded, "as little as one acupuncture treatment can significantly change the way these women feel". After two weeks of treatment, nausea and dry retching had decreased and overall well-being had improved.

Acupuncture can be an effective alternative to pitocin for labor induction because it allows the uterus to contract in a rhythmic manner rather than the tetanic contractions often caused by this drug. The use of pitocin also increases the risk of nausea, vomiting and postpartum hemorrhaging in the mother and puts the child in harms way. I have used acupuncture to induce several women and in nearly every case labor starts within 5-24 hours. In Chinese medical theory, labor delay is often caused by Qi stagnation in the uterus. Acupuncture is especially useful in promoting a smooth flow of Qi. One of the benefits is that there are no harmful side-effects, the mother will be more relaxed and the labor will progress in its natural cycle.

Couples will have the most success by finding a licensed acupuncturist in their first trimester. This allows for the best possible care during the pregnancy for the mother and developing child. Treatments are aimed at harmonizing internal organ systems and relieving discomfort. Herbal and nutritional advice will also be given to insure a healthy pregnancy. These weekly or bi-weekly treatments are a good time to take care of any current complications such as low back pain, headaches or morning sickness.

Birth is an amazing and sacred event. One of the most powerful experiences of my life was participating in the birth of my daughter Zoe. We had wonderful support from family and friends and the professional help of a midwife and doula. Acupuncture also played a very vital role in the birth. This safe and effective modality gives mothers an option that works in their journey towards a positive, healthy birth experience.

Regan Archibald is a nationally certified acupuncturist and is one of seven acupuncturists in the world certified in Seitai Shinpo Acupuncture. He is President of the Seitai Shinpo Acupuncture Foundation and specializes in back pain, sports injuries, infertility, pregnancy care, labor induction and pediatrics. Regan practices at 2091 East 1300 South, #105 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also practices at Natural Vitality in Highland, Utah and can be reached at (801) 582-2011 or at acuregan at hotmail dot com.

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All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor

Acupuncture for Pregnancy, a Healthy Mother and Baby