So Meghan is having acupuncture during pregnancy makes news. If you are an acupuncturist this can be a double sided sword in marketing because I guarantee that tomorrow a doctor will say ‘what a load of rubbish’ . So, as we treat a lot of pregnant women we thought we’d get in quick and explain ‘boosting blood to the uterus’ and why acupuncture may be good for pregnancy.
Acupuncture has become a popular practice for women expecting and in countries such as England, Germany, Scandinavia and New Zealand. In these countries it’s not unusual to find midwives providing the service. While we all go by personal referrals in this day of modern western research, 2000 years of anecdotal evidence gets thrown out and so I can officially say there is moderate evidence to support the use of acupuncture for back pain, pelvic pain, labour pain and insomnia but insufficient evidence for the use of labour induction, morning sickness and carpel tunnel. Personal experience means nothing in evidence.
So, what about Meghan and her ‘blood boosting to the uterus’
Well, acupuncture in effect is a neurological process. We put small needles into areas of the body that trigger a neurological response. These points are areas are now being recognised as distal points to major nerves. For example – a point near the ankle that gets used a lot close to birth is a distal branch of the sciatic nerve which innervates at the spine between L4-S3. For those in the know, this means when triggered it releases neuropeptides right there! Pain relief, anti spasm and yep, boosting blood around the area. Many acupuncturists use layman terms to chat to the patients. Really, unless you are a doctor or have an interest in medicine do you want me to discuss nerve innervation and dorsal segments ?
There are a lot of other points we use in pregnancy, labour, fertility. All of them are around stimulating the nerves. Some of this boosts blood supply, sometimes the points are stimulates to clear pain and sometimes we’re instructing ‘down baby down…’
So, West meets East, Princess or Pauper…layman terms or modern research. Want more research? Please see some of the links below: