Your Pregnancy - Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of therapy where very fine needles are inserted into specific points on the body and left for 20 to 30 minutes. It is used as a complementary therapy alongside conventional medicine.

Acupuncture can be beneficial during pregnancy for:

  • Birth preparation
  • Serious musculoskeletal pain, e.g. back pain, sciatic nerve pain and pelvic pain
  • Turning babies from breech to head down presentation
  • Severe vomiting (hyperemesis)

Birth preparation

Acupuncture is a natural and gentle treatment which may help prepare for labour.

It can encourage the body to naturally release the hormones that soften and ripen the cervix (prostaglandins) and the hormone that triggers contractions (oxytocin). It can help to bring the baby into the best possible position for birth, helps to relax muscles and tendons, calms the mind and strengthens the blood and energy levels in order to prepare for labour and birth.

Evidence shows that acupuncture can reduce the chance of going overdue and makes it less likely that birth will need to be induced.

Musculoskeletal conditions

Acupuncture can be used to treat musculoskeletal problems. The insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body is proven to reduce pain by stimulating the brain and spinal cord to produce endorphins (natural pain relieving chemicals), melatonin (which promotes sleep) and serotonin (to promote wellbeing).

Turning babies from breech to head down presentation

A technique called moxibustion may be effective for turning babies from breech to head down presentation, in addition to acupuncture. Herbal moxa sticks are lit and held over acupuncture points. The heat of the moxibustion helps to increase fetal movement, which might help turn your baby. You will be advised how to perform moxibustion at home.

Severe vomiting (hyperemesis)

Severe vomiting (hyperemesis) can be experienced during pregnancy, usually during the first 12 weeks. Acupuncture can help to relieve the discomfort of hyperemesis.

Treatments

Acupuncture for birth preparation is available to women with high-risk pregnancies from week 38/39 and to all other women from their due date.

Treatment consists of weekly acupuncture sessions and may continue until the start of labour. We experience high demand for the sessions and advise you to book your appointments at least four weeks in advance.

Acupuncture for musculoskeletal conditions, babies in breech position and hyperemesis can be booked through your midwife or doctor.

Acupuncture is generally very safe. There are no known side effects apart from minor bleeding or bruising. However, on rare occasions, patients may feel lightheaded.

We experience high demand for sessions and advise you to book your appointments at least four weeks in advance.

Acupuncture team

The maternity acupuncture service is run in conjunction with the Asante Academy of Chinese Medicine.

  • Dr Amali Lokugamage, consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology
  • Nathalie Kaufmann, acupuncture team leader

Location

Maternity Day Unit, Level 5, Kenwood Wing, The Whittington Hospital, Magdala Avenue, London N19 5NF

Contact

To book an appointment please call 07824 864455 and leave a message on our voicemail. We will contact you within 24 hours to offer you an appointment.