Acupuncture For Pregnancy

First of all, if you are pregnant, congratulations. You have made it past the “thin pink line”, which is an enormous step. Remember too that pregnancy is a normal physiological state, however, that said it is common for women to have more issues when pregnant than when they were not, due to the hormonal changes, increase in blood, as well as physical and mechanical changes. It can be a worrying time, with limited options available from Western Medicine and a reluctance for Western Medicine to “treat” pregnant women unless their symptoms are very severe. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer. Acupuncture offers a safe, effective and drug-free approach that works with your body and mind.

There is no greater privilege than treating a pregnancy mum-to-be with Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine as the baby is also the patient and also benefits. Anecdotally, patients who have regular treatment throughout their pregnancy compared to a previous pregnancy where they haven’t received Acupuncture, report fewer pregnancy symptoms, positive birth experiences, fewer interventions, calmer babies and better breastfeeding.

Why One Acupuncture

Alison had regular Acupuncture throughout all but one of her pregnancies and knows that it really supported her through serious medical complications. She sees her positive experience repeated now in her own clinic and with the mums and their babies she has helped throughout their pregnancies.

Alison’s commitment to working with pregnant women led her to train as a Doula with Michel Odent, one of the world’s leading experts [http://www.midwiferytoday.com/bio/default.asp?name=odent]. She has attended many births as both a Doula and Acupuncturist and counts these as some of the most incredible experiences. Time constraints means she regrettably no longer offers this service, but she still offers her knowledge and experience to her patients, especially for those undertaking Pre-Birth Preparation. [link to section below]

As part of her commitment to increase awareness and improve clinical practice, Alison created and is Chair of ACT Berkshire, a regional network of Traditional Acupuncture professionals with special interest and post-graduate training in Fertility & Pregnancy. [http://www.actberks.org.uk/alison-savory.html]. Representing ACT, Alison and her colleagues have provided professional training to midwives at a local hospital on Acupuncture in Pregnancy. ACT seeks to foster closer ties with Health Professionals in this area.

What you receive

  • one-to-one care with a calm space to relax and review your complete medical and personal history, so together we can identify likely causes and how best to help you
  • A full Chinese-Medicine based diagnosis -of your total health and also how it relates to your pregnancy
  • Unique treatment plan, tailored at every treatment to how you are
  • Diet and lifestyle advice based on your diagnosis
  • Free access to the clinics lending library of pregnancy-related books
  • Self-support: advice on energy exercises, self-massage, acupressure
  • Optional cross-referral to trusted other therapists, if appropriate
  • Optional cross-referral to trusted other therapists, if appropriate
  • Pregnant patients receive top priority for clinic appointments with an out-of-hours service available if needed
  • Pre-birth Preparation includes private tuition for both partners (optional) of birth positions, (from 35 weeks to term)
  • Birth-fit Programmeas part of weekly birth-preparation treatments (from 35+ weeks), private tuition for both partners (optional) of acupressure points for pre-and labour, birth positions, advice on a positive birth experience. More details here.

How we Treat

Alison takes a complete health history, makes observations and creates your individual East Asian Medicine-based diagnosis which is the foundation of your treatment at One Acupuncture®. She integrates any information you have from a Western perspective, including understanding your Western “label” if any, results of Western blood and other tests. She advises you to bring your NHS maternity notes to every appointment.
Treatment makes best use of all the East Asian Medicine toolsare her disposal [link to what we do section] to help balance your body and mind. This includes not only Traditional Acupuncture, but also Tui Na (Chinese Massage) and heating herbs (moxa) as well as other techniques. In pregnancy, distal (e.g. points on the arms and legs) are used in later pregnancy.

Is it Safe?

This is always an important question, never more so when you are carrying a child. In general terms, Acupuncture has been proven to be safe, with lower and less severe side-effects than conventional medicine. Specifically for pregnancy, approximately 72,000 Acupuncture patients were investigated in two separate studies in 2001 and 2003 and the results were published in the British Medical Journal. There were only a handful of minor and transient side effects recorded. In a meta-analysis published in 2015 by Clarkson, 17 clinical studies were investigated and this confirmed that any side-effects were largely minor and comparable to non-acupuncture treatments.
Traditional Acupuncturists are trained to avoid using certain points during pregnancy as these are considered to be strong, moving points that are also used to encourage onset of labour. Western medics and health professionals who practice a limited form of medical acupuncture do not generally share this view. Alison advises caution and always recommends having Acupuncture while pregnant with a qualified Acupuncturist, fully trained in Traditional Acupuncture, a member of the British Acupuncture Council as adheres to their Professional Standards and who has significant post-graduate training and experience in treating pregnant women.
The NHS states ” It’s generally safe to have acupuncture when you’re pregnant. However, let your acupuncture practitioner know if you’re pregnant because certain acupuncture points can’t be used safely during pregnancy” (NHS Choices, 2017)

What we Treat

The simplest answer to this is we treat you -body and mind. However, it give you some perspective, the most common conditions women present at the clinic with related to pregnancy include;
Threatened and/or recurrent miscarriage
 
Morning Sickness incl. Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Depression & Anxiety
Insomnia
Piles & Constipation
Migraine & Headache
Postnatal Depression (PND)
Sinusitis
Acid Reflux
Musculoskeletal Pain (incl. Back/sciatica, Pelvic pain, Joint pain)
Musculoskeletal Pain (incl. Back/sciatica, Pelvic pain, Joint pain)
Premature Labour
Breech Presentation
Prebirth Preparation
Onset of Labour
Postnatal Support including "Mother roasting", lactation support.
Birth-Fit Programme
Alison highly recommends Pre-birth Acupuncture to all pregnant women, including those planning an elective C-section, for whatever reason. There is good clinical evidence that this supports a positive birth with improved outcomes (details below) and in Alison’s professional and personal experience, mothers-to-be who have pre-birth acupuncture can have shorter, more productive labours and less intervention. Anecdotally in the clinic she also observes that feeding after birth (natural or assisted) can be smoother and many patients who have had a second or third baby with pre-birth acupuncture confirm this as well as a more-contented baby, compared to previous births.

At One Acupuncture® the Birth Fit Programme recommends weekly treatments from 35+ weeks. There is no extra charge for this service. Patients and their partners receive a private coaching session on important acupressure points to use in pre-and during labour as well as support and insights into creating an optimal environment for a positive birth, all rooted in Alison’s training with Debra Betts [see link at bottom section], a leading maternity acupuncturist and her training and experience as a birth doula/acupuncturist.

Regular treatments in the weeks leading up to the birth can be given to harmonise energy and to focus on the process of labour. For example, it is thought that acupuncture can help to support the ligaments and sinews as they stretch to widen the pelvis, helping to soften and ripen the cervix, which helps the baby descend into the pelvis in the optimal position, as well as boosting your energy reserves. This is an important time for treatment.

important time for treatment.

InNew Zealand in 2004 a studywasdone, led by Debra Betts, looking at 169 women who received pre-birth acupuncture given by midwives. Compared to local population rates there was an overall:

• 35% reduction in the number of inductions

• 31% reduction in the epidural rate

• Compared with midwifery only care a 32% reduction in emergency caesarean delivery

• 9% increase in normal vaginal births

It was also noted by the midwives involved in the study that they observed a trend in the women who received pre-birth treatment to respond particularly well to acupuncture induction, further reducing the need for medical induction.

Depending on the mothers condition a 40 week treatment may be recommended and encouragement of onset of labour can be undertaken with acupuncture from week 41+, bearing in mind that 40-42 weeks is a normal window for natural onset of labour.

Onset of Labour

Postnatal Support including “Mother roasting”, lactation support.

Continued Professional Development (CPD) in Pregnancy Care

A summary of the professional postgraduate courses Alison has attended relating specifically to Pregnancy Care. You can find a complete list of courses taken, here.

Course Title (lecturer)
Acupuncture in Pregnancy (Dr Debra Betts)
Pregnancy Care for Specific Conditions (Dr Debra Betts)
Confidence in Maternity Acupuncture (D Betts)
Step Further in Obstetric Acupuncture (Sarah Budd)
Fertility & Obstetric Clinical Skills (ACT Berkshire)
Treating Pregnant Women (Rebecca Avern)
Obstetrics (Jani White)
Obstetrics (Jani White)
Doula Training (Michel Odent)

Factsheets prepared by the British Acupuncture Council on:

Pregnancy / Postnatal (6 weeks) 

General factsheets (not specifically pregnancy-related) on:

Nausea & Vomiting  / Insomnia (not Pregnancy-related specifically)

Interesting Articles & Press 

Debra Betts, PhD: Dr Betts is highly regarded as a leading international expert on pregnancy acupuncture, having trained and led a midwifery acupuncture team in New Zealand as well as publishing one of the seminal texts in this area. Alison has trained extensively with her. She generously provides a wealth of useful information including an app, DVD and guidance on Acupressure in Labourand Alison shares this with patients in her PreBirth Preparation sessions. Click here

Charities & Professional Bodies

NCT: National Childbirth Trust. Alison was active in her local NCT for a decade, including being Co-Branch Co-ordinator.
Tommys: Fund research into pregnancy problems and provide pregnancy information
Pregnancy Sickness Support:
Miscarriage Association:
Pelvic Pain UK:
PANDAS: Pre and PostNatal Depression Advice and Support
TAMBA: Twins & Multiple Births Association.
ARC: Antenatal Results and Choices
Positive Birth Movement:
Kicks Count:
Baby Buddy: Free app.

PREGNANCY Testimonials

“I’m amazed at the effect acupuncture had on my morning sickness. I was on anti- sickness tablets from the doctor and struggling with sickness as well as poor digestion. After just one session, it was like night and day, I felt better already. I came off medication and all my symptoms improved. After just 2 sessions I’m so much better. Alison was so lovely and professional I felt completely comfortable. Just wanted to say thank you, what you’ve done for me is amazing”. (ZB) ZB

Pregnancy Nausea & Vomiting

“I was overdue with my first baby and had to be induced, which combined with a large baby resulted in more intervention than I would have liked and a difficult recovery from the birth. With my recent second pregnancy I was again overdue and booked for induction. Following a recommendation I spoke with Alison less than a week before the scheduled induction and she was both reassuring and very helpful, making time for two appointments. I was not sure what to expect but Alison built up the treatment through the two sessions and I could really feel a difference, after the second she told me things were very likely to happen soon. I went into labour the following morning and was able to give birth to my daughter naturally, without the intervention required for my first baby. I would fully recommend Alison to anyone in the same situation, but if I have another I’ll be going back to her a lot earlier in the pregnancy!” Mrs T

“The acupressure pins worked well to help ease pain in early stages [of labour] especially so many thanks again for those – we had a gentle walk round before going to hospital with me doing lots of pushing on the hand pins!”. (NW) NW

Labour

“Thank you so much again for all of your help with my pelvic pain, I’ve been singing your praises at all of my pregnancy classes!” Mrs M

Pelvic Pain

“Alison treated me throughout my pregnancy, focusing on my energy levels and nausea at first and then working towards the birth of my baby. For the first 12 weeks, she certainly helped to support me as I suffered with exhaustion. With a busy full-time job, it was debilitating but her treatments got me through. It was a lovely time for me to relax and focus on myself and my baby. As the birth neared, Alison focused on pre-birth treatment and preparing me for labour. She taught me points for my partner to use on me and gave me lots of advice to support the natural birth that I wanted. My birth itself was fantastic– 5 hours from start to finish and with only a tiny bit of gas and air. My first stage was very fast and I was fully dilated on arrival at hospital; I am certain that the pre-birth treatments had an impact on this”. (ED) After the birth, I recovered very quickly and my body responded exceptionally well to breast-feeding. Again, I am certain that acupuncture supported this. My baby is now 3 months old and I will definitely be returning to Alison for post- natal care and general health and well-being”. ED

“Alison treated me with weekly acupuncture throughout my pregnancy as I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. She was a huge support to me not only with my physical symptoms but also with the stress and emotions I was experiencing”. Mrs E

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

“I went to see Alison at her clinic through recommendation. Before visiting Alison, I spoke to her on the phone for an initial consultation, this was so I was aware of she was going to do & to understand the whole concept. Any doubts had at this stage were diminished as Alison explained everything fully and felt confident enough to visit her. I was 33 weeks pregnant when I first visited Alison. my first visit, straight away she made me feel at ease, and advised of all the treatment she was going to do thoroughly… I found Alison to be very professional as well informative in regards to her line of work I went away from my first appointment feeling very relaxed, refreshed & had an amazing nights sleep for the first time in my pregnancy. I saw Alison on a weekly basis for the next 5-6 weeks for pre-birth acupuncture before going into labour at 39+3 weeks. I thoroughly recommended Alison & acupuncture as a complimentary treatment whilst on my ante-natal NCT course, and would also recommend it to anyone who is looking for treatment…

With the prebirth acupuncture as well as early stage labour treatment from Alison, I honestly believe that I had an amazing short labour (27 minutes for established labour), I know that when me & my husband try for baby number 2. the first person I will be calling is Alison. Thank you Alison for helping me through the late stages of my pregnancy, for being amazing at what do & for really making a difference… A very happy proud mummy…” HC

“Acupuncture has helped me a lot during my pregnancy as I experienced recurrent migraines. Seeing Alison regularly helped me treating symptoms and spacing out the frequency of my migraines. I also think acupuncture is a wonderful tool for general wellbeing”. Mrs R

Pregnancy migraine