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Posted on 04-02-2013
Yes, acupuncture is safe – and effective – during pregnancy.
Acupuncture is not a substitute for Western prenatal medical care. Instead, it offers complementary care that has many benefits. And because acupuncture has very few side effects, many pregnant women now seek this alternative to drug therapy for a number of common pregnancy complaints.
The modern practice of acupuncture is based on historical diagnostic theories, with roots for treatment in pregnancy that go back for over 2,000 years. But its use today relies on modern, evidence-based medicine and standards of safety. For example, acupuncture by licensed practitioners has strict standards for needle sterility and safety.
Studies have shown acupuncture to be effective for stress, morning sickness, hip and low back pain, breech position, mild to moderate depression, labor induction, and shortening the length of labor.
Acupuncture may also help with fertility. Studies show that acupuncture can increase the chances that assisted reproductive technologies (ART) will result in a live birth by 10 to 15 percent or more, for example.
Finding a qualified acupuncturist
The most comprehensively trained professionals in acupuncture are practitioners who have devoted years of graduate level education to its study and are licensed in their states as acupuncturists.
Many acupuncturists advertise their specialties, and it's always appropriate to ask about your potential practitioner's education and experience in treating pregnancy. Make sure you're comfortable with the provider's level of expertise.
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