Philip Niño Tan-Gatue
Acupuncture in Pregnancy
A common question that I get when lecturing or making media appearances is whether or not acupuncture is safe in pregnancy. In general, acupuncture is safe during pregnancy so long as the practitioner knows what points can be used in pregnancy and what points are to be avoided. There are certain points that can be used to induce labor and ease dystocia. Common sense indicates then, that the use of such points during inappropriate times in pregnancy can lead to premature labor or abortion. For this reason, I will not post the points for inducing labor here.
Other things to consider include the age of gestation, or how far along the pregnancy mom is going. Anatomic considerations are taken to heart in these cases. Obviously, during the later stages of pregnancy when mom’s belly is bigger, it is not advised to needle the abdomen due to the risk of hitting the uterus.
In general though, acupuncture in the hands of an expert is a safe way to relieve symptoms such as hyperemesis gravidarum or morning sickness, or common aches like headache or low back pain. The good thing about it is that acupuncture is non-pharmacologic and thus we have nothing to fear about drugs affecting baby.