If you’re considering acupuncture to support your pregnancy, you may be wondering about its safety. Well, rest assured! When done correctly by an acupuncturists with adequate expertise pregnancy acupuncture is exceptionally safe.
Unlike common medications for pregnancy conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, prenatal depression (see antidepressants), back pain, pelvic pain, headaches, and others that may lead to permanent harm to a developing baby, acupuncture is considered very safe. In fact, a recent systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that it is one of the safest treatments in medicine, with serious side effects being rare and the most common adverse events being very mild.
And when it comes to pregnancy acupuncture specifically, the safety record is stellar.
A study of 20799 pregnant women conducted in South Korea found that pregnancy acupuncture not only prevented stillbirths, but also reduced the number of preterm deliveries. Women who had acupuncture all delivered alive babies. Sadly, there were seven stillbirths in the group that didn’t have this time-proven therapy.
In another study from South Korea have adverse events from acupuncture during pregnancy were found to be very mild and transient, with serious adverse events being very rare.
The most common adverse events
In 1000 pregnancy patients only 13 will experience a mild adverse event, such as mild pain and tiny bleeding at the needle sites. Those side effects did not last, stopped shortly after the treatment and women when about their lives as normal. Even more rarely, a tiny bruise may occur, but it is normally not painful and will go away on its own.
Pregnancy acupuncture is safe when practiced by an expert
It’s important to seek out an acupuncturist who is well-educated, trained, and experienced in providing acupuncture during pregnancy to ensure your safety and that of your baby. A study in 2009, concluded just that: “Acupuncture treatment is safe if the practitioners are well educated, trained, and experienced.”
Is acupuncture safe during the first trimester of pregnancy?
Some women are worried that acupuncture in early pregnancy may cause the miscarriage, a study in Australia not only showed it was safe during the first trimester, in fact, women who had this natural therapy had effectively halved their risk of miscarriages (5% compared to the Australian average of 11%).
To sum it up, acupuncture is safe, and during pregnancy when done correctly by an expert acupuncturist, no matter in which trimester you receive the treatment.
So, if you’re interested in pregnancy acupuncture, you need to make sure you seek an acupuncturist with specialised training and a wealth of obstetric experience.
Here are some conclusions from various acupuncture safety studies:
Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2010:
“Acupuncture is inherently safe in the hands of well trained practitioners.”
Yamashita, 2000, Japan:
“Although any adverse reactions associated with acupuncture were common even in standard practice, they were transient and mild.”
White, 2001, UK:
“All AEs were mild and no serious AE occurred.”
Jimin Park, 2013, Korea:
Acupuncture during pregnancy appears to be associated with a few AEs when correctly applied.