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Acupuncture and pregnancy

Written by Julia Bartrop
Nov 10, 2021   •   
Acupuncture and pregnancy

Women have been using acupuncture for thousands of years to assist with nausea, vomiting, reflux and morning sickness during early pregnancy.

There is so much that acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine may help with during your pregnancy journey. We also use it to assist with miscarriage prevention, optimising your health and wellbeing, lowering stress levels, aiding anxiety and increasing energy.

As well as all the above, acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can also help you to have an expedient (quicker) labour and birth!

It is safe to use acupuncture throughout your pregnancy and it’s highly sought out because it’s effective, you don’t have to take anything and it assists to rebalance the energy of the body.

We also teach acupressure points so that you can go home and apply this knowledge to help you in between appointments and also manage the nausea/vomiting easily yourself. Acupressure is applied for about 3-5 minutes and will aid with the severity of nausea and vomiting.

How does it work?

During the first 13 weeks, we like to see you weekly, especially if you have a history of miscarriage, bleeding, cramps and fibroids. During these early days, we use acupuncture to assist with many common complaints such as anxiety, reflux, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and fatigue. We use acupuncture to aid with reducing stress, optimizing your health and wellbeing and applying miscarriage prevention measures.

During your second trimester, appointments tend to be about every 4-6 weeks if the pregnancy is going well. If you develop pain, pelvic instability, sleep issues, or you find that you are feeling emotional, we may need to see you a bit more frequently. However, if you are feeling amazing and nothing is wrong, every 4-6 weeks is generally recommended.

It is also important that you exercise during pregnancy to help you maintain your fitness for birth, but also to assist to keep you strong and moving. Walking, prenatal yoga, Qi – gong, Tai Chi, swimming and specialist fitness classes for pregnant women are all excellent forms of exercise. I highly recommend Anita Guerra at Fit For 2 for pregnancy and post-natal classes.

Birth Preparation

30-34 weeks is a great time to check in with your acupuncturist. From 30 weeks, we begin working with you for your birth preparation. It is now recommended that we see you about every 2 weeks and every week from 35 weeks.

During this time, we focus on improving your stamina (increasing energy, building up energy and blood) in preparaiton for your birth. We also support you emotionally and help with reducing stress and improving digestion. We explain birth positions, optimal foetal positioning and much more to guide you through those weeks prior to your birth.

Studies have shown that women who have visited an acupuncturist from 35 weeks onwards have had shorter labours and recovered quickly post-nattaly.

Breech Presentation

Acupuncture and moxabustion have a high success rate in enabling a baby to move from a breech position to an anterior position. This treatment is best performed and most successful when performed between 32-37 weeks pregnant as baby has still got enough room to move. We can also assist with moxabustion 4-5 days prior to an ECV.

Studies have shown that moxibustion performed daily 4-5 days prior to an ECV have a higher success rate.

Breech presentation may occur due to the safety of the baby, i.e. this is the safest position for them, due to an anatomical cause due to the position of the pelvis, shape of the pelvis or tight ligaments or tendons of the pelvis area and uterus.

Daily exercises from spinning babies, the Webster method (this needs to be performed by a qualified practitioner), moxabustion and acupuncture can all be used in combination to assist with changing the baby’s presentation.

Labour Induction

Acupuncture has great success in aiding the body to go into labour naturally. While induction is typically used, I like to call it birth preparation as we also use points that will assist with energizing the body and ripening the cervix.

Natural Pain Relief

Acupuncture and acupressure are a great way to aid with pain relief during labour. I teach all my clients the acupressure for pain relief during labour from 36 weeks and get them to practice it and least 4 times a week at home.

This helps with preparing the body for labour, ripening the cervix and repositioning a mispositioned baby (baby may be breech, posterior or oblique).


Once you have given birth, there are certain acupressure points that can be used to aid with bringing in the mother’s milk and decreasing post-labour pains.

Acupuncture and Post-natal Care

It is suggested that you come in for a check-up with your practitioner from 6 weeks and we can assist with many issues during the post-natal period such as milk supply issues, mastitis, emotional issues, nourishing your body and aiding with postnatal healing and supporting you in your new role as a mum – and providing some much-needed rest!

Dr Julia Bartrop is a Qualified Chinese Medicine Practitioner with a Bachelor of Applied Health Science Chinese Medicine / Human Biology and Bachelor of Science – Medical Science based in Melbourne, Victoria. She has a special interest in women’s health and loves assisting with fertility, preconception, pregnancy and post-natal care. If you would like to get in touch, you can call (07) 3999 8535, email her or visit her website. Tele-health consults are also available.

Julia partners with Anita of Fit For 2 in South Morang, Victoria. To find out more about Anita and get in touch, click here.

Julia and Anita have worked together to develop the Easy Birthing Online program and workshop and the 4th Trimester online program and workshop. These will be available as an online course and a 1-day workshop. Julia also teaches acupressure for natural pain relief to couples, one on one. This goes for 90 min and $150. Included is a large 23-page handout and cheat sheet which you can take to the hospital.

Contact them using the links above to find out more.

Written by Julia Bartrop
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