Acupuncture during Pregnancy – Morning Sickness, Pain, Pre-birth & Labour Induction, Breech Conditions

Pregnancy is an exciting and wonderful time for most expectant mothers. However, with the many physical and hormonal changes that occur, it can also be a time of discomfort. Many pregnant women like yourself can suffer from fatigue, nausea, backache, reflux, and other conditions that are considered a “normal” part of pregnancy. Acupuncture is a safe, gentle and effective way to address these complaints, especially since many medications can’t be used during this time.  At Balanced Life Health Care in Ferntree Gully, we can safely treat your pregnancy complaints and help prepare you for a wonderful birth.


Common pregnancy conditions that Acupuncture can treat

  • Morning sickness, nausea, and assists with hyperemesis gravidarum
  • Insomnia
  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Fluid retention
  • Constipation
  • Reflux & heartburn
  • Aches & pains
  • Sinus congestion
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Gestational diabetes (assists)
  • High blood pressure (pre-eclampsia) (assists)
  • Certain types of threatened miscarriage
  • Breech presentation
  • Delayed labor
  • Labor pain
  • Lactation problems
  • Postpartum depression
  • Breastfeeding issues including low milk production & mastitus
  • And more, just ask

Is Acupuncture Safe during Pregnancy?


Yes (1)! An Australian study conducted by Adelaide University in 2002 found that acupuncture during pregnancy had no adverse effects and was completely safe when done by a licensed acupuncturist (2) registered with AHPRA. A licensed acupuncturist like those at Balanced Life Health Care, will know that some points cannot be used in pregnancy and will adjust their treatment for you.


Acupuncture for morning sickness


Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be very effectiveness in relieving morning sickness or the potentially more dangerous hyperemesis gravidarum (severe vomiting during pregnancy). Morning sickness nausea occurs frustratingly in 50-80% and vomiting in 50% of pregnant women (3), so you are not alone. The symptoms are associated with the rise in the hormones and can severely impact the your ability to work and do basic tasks. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine has a cumulative effect and we see in clinic that women who come regularly have less severe morning sickness.


Acupuncture for pain


Pregnancy can bring a lot of pain from sciatica, backache, pubic and joint pain and even carpal tunnel syndrome, and benefits from Acupuncture treatments are sometimes immediate. For example a study of women with both back and pelvic pain showed that 60% who received Acupuncture treatment reported less intense pain. The study found no complications associated with the use of Acupuncture in pregnant women.


Pre-birth & labour induction Acupuncture


Pre-birth Acupuncture involves a series of Acupuncture sessions in the third trimester typically started from week 36. The process is aimed at building up the expectant mother’s strength for a more natural birth process. Pre-birth Acupuncture is currently being used routinely in hospitals in China and Germany with positive results.


How effective is Acupuncture for preparation for birth?


In China and Germany expectant mothers begin weekly acupuncture sessions at 36 weeks gestation and continue right through till birth. Research has suggested that pre-birth Acupuncture can decrease mean labour times from 8 hours and 2 minutes to 6 hours and 36 minutes.


“Feedback suggest that pre-birth Acupuncture offers a range of positive effects that goes beyond reducing the time spent in labour, with midwives reporting a reduced rate of medical intervention” (4) 


Breech baby treatment


Acupuncture and Chinese moxibusion has shown to be very clinically effective. Ideally Acupuncture and Chinese moxibusion would be started from week 34. However positive results can still be achieved after. A study conducted in China suggested that 81% of babies respond to Acupuncture treatments (5).


How does treatment for breech or posterior babies work?


The treatment involves the application of moxa to a particular Acupuncture point located on the small toe bilaterally. Moxa is rolled Chinese mugwort which is burnt beside the skin allowing the smoke and heat to stimulate the Acupuncture point. Moxa is applied for 20 minutes once a day for 10 days Most practitioners will teach the client or partner how to perform this at home. Most women report that during and after moxa the baby is very active. Generally speaking most babies take 4-5 days to turn using this method.


  1. Jimin Park, Et Al; The safety of acupuncture during pregnancy: a systematic review; Acupunct Med. 2014 Jun; 32(3): 257–266
  2. Smith C, Et Al; Pregnancy outcome following women’s participation in a randomised controlled trial of acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy; Complement Ther Med. 2002 Jun;10(2):78-83
  4. Debra Betts; The essential guide to Acupuncture in pregnancy and childbirth, 2006; The Journal of Chinese medicine
  5. Co-operative research group on moxibusion version (1984) Clinical observation on the side effects of version by moxibusion, Abstracts from the second national symposium on acupuncture and moxibusion and acupuncture anaesthesia, All China society of Acupuncture and moxibusion