Pre-natal acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular. The demand is constantly increasing. This acupuncture is offered at an advanced stage of pregnancy. It is performed by experienced midwives and gynecologists.
But when is acupuncture useful in preparation for childbirth? What are the effects, and especially the advantages and disadvantages of this form of acupuncture? What are the costs? Answers to these questions and much more information can be found in this article.
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Pre-natal Acupuncture – What Is It?
This treatment method, which originates from traditional Chinese medicine, has long since found its way into the Western world. Acupuncture for pregnancy achieves its effect by placing acupuncture needles at specific points on the body.
These acupuncture points are located on the so-called meridians. The needles are inserted to different depths, some have a calming and analgesic effect, others stimulate blood circulation.
The treatment can achieve the following effects:
- Relief of pain.
- Regulation of the state of tension of muscles or muscle groups.
- Strengthening of the immune system.
- Strengthening of the psycho-neuro-endocrine system.
- Eliminates swelling and promotes blood circulation.
- Regulates the autonomic nervous system.
- Balances mental excitement.
The stimulus of the needles stimulates the formation of pain-relieving and mood-regulating messenger substances in the brain, such as serotonins, endorphins or enkephalins.
Is The Effect Of Acupuncture Controversial?
The effectiveness, which has long been disputed, has now been proven by a number of studies. This was because the effect could not be measured.
Three large studies conducted by Techniker Krankenkasse, DAK together with other substitute health insurers, and GERAC have now produced a different assessment. The World Health Organization also states that acupuncture can be used especially for pain disorders, but also to treat paralysis.
Pre-natal Acupuncture – When Does It Make Sense?
Acupuncture in pregnancy is offered from the 32nd SSW. The indications are manifold. Thus, the treatment can be used not only as a birth-preparatory acupuncture, but also for acute pregnancy complaints, e.g. headaches, back pain, sciatica complaints, sleep disorders, morning sickness, heartburn.
When preparing for childbirth, the application is said to make the cervix mature better. It also improves labor and makes the birth process easier and shorter for you. The points that reduce mental tension before and during birth are needed.
Furthermore, the acupuncture points are stimulated, which reduce the pain during the birth. Also, this will reduce the overall duration of the birth.
Contraindications And Side Effects Of Acupuncture During Pregnancy
There are no absolute contraindications to acupuncture during pregnancy. The practitioners and midwives must weigh the benefits against the risks, as with any treatment.
Acupuncture treatment should not be performed or should only be performed under the constant supervision of medical professionals in the following medical conditions:
Coagulation Disorders Of A Severe Nature
This includes a number of conditions, such as:
- Von Willebrand syndrome.
- Fibrinogen deficiency.
- Hemophilia A and B.
- Factor XIII deficiency.
The most common is hemophilia, also known as hemophilia. In this case, the blood coagulates more slowly than in healthy people. As a result, wounds close more slowly.
If coagulation disorders are present, the type of stimuli to be triggered by treatment is decisive. If treatment is administered subcutaneously or intracutaneously only, treatment can be carried out. After treatment, measures should be taken to prevent hematoma.
Diseases Of Severe Psychiatric Forms
Dangers for patients with severe psychiatric illnesses are primarily that self-harm may occur during treatment. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that patients are well-positioned and that no injuries occur during changes in positioning.
The presence of a contact person is helpful here.
Illnesses Of An Unclear Nature That Urgently Need To Be Clarified Immediately
Unclear clinical pictures always pose a risk that diseases will be carried over and not treated in time. Relative contraindications can also be overlooked, which can harm patients. Therefore, these unclear disease states should be clarified before starting acupuncture.
Can Labor Be Induced By Antenatal Acupuncture?
If the due date has already passed and labor pains have not yet presented themselves, induction of labor is advisable if there is a risk of harm to the mother and/or child.
Towards the end of a pregnancy, so-called descending contractions usually occur. Descending contractions, from when do they occur? Descending contractions occur in the last third of pregnancy to bring the baby into the right position.
You feel the contractions by a slight pulling in your lower back or even in your abdomen. However, this pulling does not occur regularly, but rather irregularly. The lower contractions move the baby more into the lower abdomen.
You can breathe better, but you have to urinate more often because the baby is now more in the bladder region.
Triggering Labor Through Pre-birth Acupuncture?
Acupuncture for pregnancy requires special experience and knowledge. Certain acupuncture points should not be used during pregnancy. In particular, the local points in the uterine area and Bl 67 and Di 4 should not be needled in a sedating manner.
Preparation For Labor
Labor can be induced specifically by administering preparations containing hormones. The cervix can be dilated by inserting a balloon. This can also force the opening of the amniotic sac.
This can be used to induce labor. Acupuncture to induce labor is also offered to pregnant women.
The number of studies on whether the treatment can also induce labor is manageable. Three studies from 2008, 2009, and 2012 take a position on this question. After evaluating the studies, it is rather unlikely that labor can be induced with the help of acupuncture.
Side Effects – When Should You Be Careful With Antenatal Acupuncture?
Acupuncture treatment may be associated with certain side effects. However, these occur extremely rarely, as various studies have shown
For example, the following side effects may occur:
- Pain when placing and lying down the needles.
- Occurrence of bleeding after removing the needles.
- Occurrence of bruises after the treatment.
- Worsening of the treated symptoms.
- Nausea and vomiting during and after treatment.
- Circulatory problems, dizziness, malaise during and after treatment.
- Injuries to nerves due to the placement of the needles.
- Inflammation at the injection site.
Some of the side effects can be prevented by lying the patient down, e.g. circulatory problems, dizziness, vomiting and nausea.
How Long Does An Acupuncture Session Last?
Pre-natal acupuncture can begin between the 32nd and 36th week of pregnancy. Sessions usually last 20-30 minutes and occur once a week. During these sessions, patients lie on a couch or sit comfortably.
Who Performs The Treatment?
Doctors who wish to perform antenatal acupuncture on patients during pregnancy must have the additional professional title of “acupuncturist”. This is awarded to them by the respective state medical association.
The prerequisite for this is that they have participated in a further training course of at least 200 hours. Naturopaths and midwives can also attend further training and subsequently perform acupuncture during pregnancy.
What Are The Costs?
The costs for acupuncture treatments during pregnancy are not covered by most health insurance companies. The services are usually only covered by health insurance companies for chronic pain conditions.
The cost per session is between 20 euros and 80 euros. If an individual treatment plan is drawn up, costs may also be incurred for this. If you are considering acupuncture during your pregnancy, you should ask for comparative offers.
Pre-natal acupuncture can be a gentle method for you to alleviate discomfort during pregnancy, facilitate the birth process and increase your mental well-being. Only specially trained doctors, naturopaths and midwives are allowed to perform acupuncture treatment.