Acupuncture Helps Digestive Problems in Pregnancy

Today I ran into a former patient who had suffered hyperemesis, vomiting during her entire pregnancy.  She lives far away but came in because she was desperate for relief.  She thanked me and introduced her new son.  It was a reminder of how much help acupuncture can be during pregnancy.

by Lief Parsons
by Lief Parsons

Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy providing that certain traditional points are avoided (unless there is a very good reason like stopping a miscarriage.)  Since Chinese medicine was so well documented over the years, it was possible to categorize points that would help or hurt a pregnancy and these points are well known by licensed acupuncturists.

Here is a good article from CBS news:

Acupuncture helps pregnancy symptom

Updated on 09 June 2009

Source PA News

Acupuncture can help relieve the symptoms of indigestion in pregnancy, new research suggests.

A small study involving 36 women found “significant improvements” among those treated with acupuncture.

Digestive disorders are one of the most frequent complaints in pregnancy, with 45% to 80% of women reporting things like heartburn, pain or discomfort, regurgitation, belching and bloating. Such symptoms tend to get worse as a pregnancy progresses, said researchers from Sao Paulo University in Brazil.

Their study, published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, included women aged 15 to 39 who were 15 to 30 weeks into their pregnancy. All were suffering from symptoms of indigestion and none had had acupuncture in the previous year.

None of the women had an underlying condition that could have caused the symptoms and none had a history of similar problems before they fell pregnant.

The researchers used heartburn as a measure of indigestion and asked women to rank the severity and frequency of their symptoms from one to 10, with 10 being the greatest imaginable. Their ability to eat and sleep due to their discomfort was also measured.

The women were split into two groups – with one group receiving acupuncture and the other receiving conventional treatment, including counselling on dietary changes and indigestion remedies.

The acupuncture group underwent treatment once a week, or twice a week if necessary, over an eight-week period. The women had a minimum of eight and a maximum of 12 sessions each. On average, 12 needles were used and were left in the body for about 25 minutes per session.

The study found that average heartburn intensity fell by at least a half in 15 out of 20 (75%) women receiving acupuncture compared with seven out of 16 (44%) women not receiving it.

The authors added: “After treatment 15/20 (75%) of the members of the study group reported an improvement of at least 50% in respect to eating compared to only 5/16 (31%) of the control group. In respect to sleeping, 14/20 in the study group and 4/16 in the control group also reported improvements of 50%. In our cohort, acupuncture proved to exert a great influence in minimising the heartburn in pregnancy during treatment.” They called for the research to be replicated in a larger study group.

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