Becoming pregnant creates perhaps the biggest change and hormonal shift in a women’s body since puberty. It is not surprising then, that the body may struggle to remain balanced during this time.

Pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal recovery are viewed in traditional Chinese medicine as a window of opportunity to enhance a woman’s wellbeing.

Conversely if adequate care is not taken the resulting problems may continue long after the birth. Value is therefore placed on promoting preventive care to strengthen the mother and baby as well as dealing with problems as they occur during pregnancy.

Many of the common problems of pregnancy lead people to thinking that they just have to put up with it. However just because they are common, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do about it.

Acupuncture provides excellent treatment throughout pregnancy because it is safe, effective and drug free.

Morning Sickness | Musculoskeletal pain | Carpel Tunnel Syndrome | Hypertension | Breech presentation | Labour preparation | Acupuncture for post-term

Morning sickness

Morning sickness is often one of the earliest signs of pregnancy and is one of the most common complaints during the first trimester. It can also continue throughout a pregnancy.

Acupuncture is one of the more well-known treatments for morning sickness. The popular use of wrist bands, sea bands, are based on acupuncture points. These can be very beneficial adjuncts to treatment.

Acupuncture is often very effective, in most cases, in reducing both the severity and incidence of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Research has shown that women receiving traditional acupuncture (where points were chosen according to an individual diagnosis) experienced faster relief when compared to those groups receiving routine prescribed points or “sham” acupuncture.

Acupuncture is useful throughout pregnancy.

As pregnancy progresses the weight of the foetus and continuing hormonal changes can lead to uncomfortable and sometimes distressing conditions. The ‘normal’ complaints of pregnancy do not just have to be endured and acupuncture can resolve or alleviate a wide range of problems. These can range from back pain, constipation, haemorrhoids, vulval varices to heartburn, thrush and oedema.

Musculoskeletal pain

Musculoskeletal pain, back pain, rib pain, sciatica and symphysis pubis pain are common in pregnancy and can all be markedly reduced with acupuncture. Research from Sweden concluded that when compared to physiotherapy, acupuncture was the treatment of choice for symphysis pubis and sacroiliac pain.

This is what our patients had to say...

I first considered acupuncture when I was experiencing bad hip pain during pregnancy, especially at night. I felt immediate relief after my first treatment with Paul, about 80% of the pain disappeared and my sleeping dramatically improved. Ongoing appointments further reduced my pain and Paul worked with me to help combat my sciatic pain, which I have suffered with for a number of years. The treatments he gave me allowed me to rest properly and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy. My husband and I also attended his acupressure workshop in preparation for labour, which we both found helpful.


Carpal Tunnel syndrome

Carpal Tunnel syndrome is a condition where the median nerve in the wrist becomes impinged causing pain, tingling or numbness in the wrists, hands or fingers. There may be difficulty in holding or gripping objects. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by local inflammation of tendons and the surrounding area and is another, fairly common, complaint during pregnancy. 

Often succeeding if physiotherapy is not giving enough relief acupuncture is very effective in the treatment of this condition. A course of 4-6 treatments would normally see significant improvement and often the problem resolved.


Acupuncture can have an important role in assisting to reduce high blood pressure, especially if treatment is commenced early when hypertension is first noted. The effectiveness of acupuncture will be reflected in the improved blood pressure readings and blood tests used by midwives and specialists to detect possible complications. As hypertension has the potential to escalate quickly, ongoing medical monitoring remains essential throughout pregnancy.

Breech presentation

The turning of breech babies has long been well known to respond to a treatment called moxibustion. The New Zealand Evidence Based practice guidelines for care of women with Breech presentation recommends that moxibustion may be offered to women from 33 weeks gestation. This follows research from Italy that demonstrated moxibustion can have a significant effect in helping to turn breech babies.

The moxibustion is done by taking a moxa stick (a stick of compressed herbs the size of a candle) and lighting the end. This herb then smoulders and the heat radiates into the point. This is done over the point on each side for fifteen minutes each day for 10 days.

Moxibustion is a completely safe and very gentle way of attempting to turn babies. The best results are often gained from week 34/35 but can still be useful when used later in the pregnancy. Moxa treatment can also help babies that are not in the optimal position prior to birth, such as those in a posterior position.
During your treatment at Bay Acupuncture we will teach you where the points are so you can continue the process at home with the moxa sticks.

Labour Preparation

Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment to prepare you, and your partner, for an efficient labour. Three to four weeks prior to the due date acupuncture treatment is aimed at preparing the pelvis, optimising the position of the baby, ripening the cervix and relieving anxiety. Treatments are once a week until labour begins.

A New Zealand study with midwives indicated a reduction in women requiring medical intervention, including medical induction and caesarean section.

Refer to the pre-birth acupuncture page for more information.

Acupuncture for post term

Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment to encourage the natural onset of labour for post-term babies. It works in the same way as the pre-birth acupuncture to create the conditions for an efficient labour as well as invigorating and descending a woman’s energy to allow her baby to be born.

At Bay Acupuncture we can help address any underlying reasons why labour may be delayed, and help you feel more calm and in control, in preparation for labour. Aspects such as the position of the baby, the presentation of the cervix and whether the woman is emotionally and physically prepared for labour will be taken into consideration.   With treatment we can help to balance the emotions, therefore aiding oxytocin release and facilitating contractions.

Acupuncture also offers drug free alternatives for pain relief during labour. Acupressure provides similar results with the advantage that support people can use it during labour.

Check out the Acupressure courses which can be booked online.