Pregnancy Acupuncture Treatments

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Having a baby is not only a physical process but also an immensely emotional and spiritual journey. We notice that women will often seek acupuncture for relief from stress/anxiety and also from physical pregnancy-related aches/pains/complaints as they are reluctant to take medication yet are driven to ‘keep up’ with the many demands on them in their busy lives.

 Pregnancy acupuncture treatment also provides you the valuable opportunity to chill-out, time to get in tune with your body & your baby.

We support your choices. This is your pregnancy and we barrack for you and your team during this extraordinary time regardless of whether your intention is to have an elective C-Section, vaginal, a lotus birth, or a VBAC. Our service is additional to and we work in conjunction with the care you are receiving from your Obstetrician / Shared Care GP / Midwife / prescribed medication. We receive referrals from Ob’s, Midwives & Shared Care GP’s.

Please feel free to give us a call should you have any queries!

Toward end of term, some pregnant women like to receive treatment at this end of their pregnancy to address issues such as:

  • Addressing any back or pelvic pain/instability (references below) – this may influence how comfortably your baby can move into an optimal birth position. Acupuncture can help relax tension, muscles and tendons in these areas.
  • Calming anxiety (references below) and stress – 30 minutes of lying in a darkened room, propped and surrounded by fluffy pillows, listening to beautiful & quiet background music, acupuncture needles strategically located to induce deep relaxation… this is a potent cocktail for freeing up oxytocin flow!
  • We want you to feel rested, energised and refreshed in readiness for your big day and the marathon ahead. You need to have energy in reserve. Acupuncture may assist sleep quality thus increasing your endurance (references below).
  • This is an opportunity to address any aches or pains that stop you feeling fit and focused in readiness for this marathon you are about to embark upon. For example; we might address your carpal tunnel syndrome pain, headaches, indigestion etc (see references below).

* Please remember to bring your hospital card with you to these sessions.


Acupressure for labor

There are indications that acupressure may reduce the duration of labor especially during the first stage. We are very happy to teach you/your partner upon request, acupressure techniques to assist leading up to and during your birth.


Some Pregnancy Related Conditions Which Respond Well To Acupuncture

In this world of modern research, anecdotal evidence (based on someone’s personal experience) is viewed by science minded individuals as inferior to scientific evidence (proof based on findings from systematic observation & measurement), the two seen as distinctly different from each other. Below is a preliminary list of pregnancy related conditions which are considered to have been scientifically proven to respond well to acupuncture treatment.

Practitioners at House of Fertility & Healing employ treatment protocols utilising evidence based treatments with respect and congruency with the traditional wisdom that we were each trained in.

The conditions listed below are from the body of current research evidence using human subjects and based on National Health and Medical Research Council Level 1 evidence (systematic reviews), also a small number of good quality Level 2 studies (these are randomised controlled trials). All these studies regarding pregnancy and some pregnancy related health conditions are less than 5 years old.

  • Acute pain
  • Anxiety
  • Back or pelvic pain during pregnancy
  • Chronic pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain
  • Functional Dyspepsia (commonly called Indigestion)
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Headache (tension-type and chronic)
  • Migraine prophylaxis
  • Neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder pain

With the profusion of new high quality research being conducted and released around the world we will add to this list.

* (Please also see Acupuncture Treatments )


Please bring your hospital card with you to your Acupuncture appointments.
This enables us to keep up to date with your recent western medical checks.



Acute Pain

Cohen, M. M., Smit, De Villiers, Adrianopoulos, Nick, Ben-Meir, Ben, Taylor, David McD, Parker, Shefton J, Xue, Charlie C, Cameron, Peter A (2017). Acupuncture for analgesia in the emergency department: a multicentre, randomised, equivalence and non-inferiority trial. Medical Journal of Australia, 206(11), 494-499. doi:10.5694/mja16.00771

Grissa, M. H., Baccouche, H., Boubaker, H., Beltaief, K., Bzeouich, N., Fredj, N., . . . Nouira, S. (2016). Acupuncture vs intravenous morphine in the management of acute pain in the ED. Am J Emerg Med, 34(11), 2112-2116. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2016.07.028

Schug, S. A., Palmer, G. M., Scott, D. A., Halliwell, R., & Trinca, J. (2016). Acute pain management: scientific evidence, fourth edition, 2015. Med J Aust, 204(8), 315-317.


Au, D. W., Tsang, H. W., Ling, P. P., Leung, C. H., Ip, P. K., & Cheung, W. M. (2015). Effects of acupressure on anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med, 33(5), 353-359. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2014-010720

Amorim, D., Amado, J., Brito, I., Fiuza, S. M., Amorim, N., Costeira, C., & Machado, J. (2018). Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 31, 31-37. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.008

Bazzan, A. J., Zabrecky, G., Monti, D. A., & Newberg, A. B. (2014). Current evidence regarding the management of mood and anxiety disorders using complementary and alternative medicine. Expert Rev Neurother, 14(4), 411-423. doi:10.1586/14737175.2014.892420

Fleckenstein, J., Kruger, P., & Ittner, K. P. (2018). Effects of single-point acupuncture (HT7) in the prevention of test anxiety: Results of a RCT. PLoS One, 13(8), e0202659. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202659

Goyata, S. L., Avelino, C. C., Santos, S. V., Souza Junior, D. I., Gurgel, M. D., & Terra, F. S. (2016). Effects from acupuncture in treating anxiety: integrative review. Rev Bras Enferm, 69(3), 602-609. doi:10.1590/0034-7167.2016690325i

Kwon, C. Y., & Lee, B. (2018). Acupuncture or Acupressure on Yintang (EX-HN 3) for Anxiety: A Preliminary Review. Med Acupunct, 30(2), 73-79. doi:10.1089/acu.2017.1268

Smith, C. A., de Lacey, S., Chapman, M., Ratcliffe, J., Norman, R. J., Johnson, N. P., & Fahey, P. (2018). The effects of acupuncture on the secondary outcomes of anxiety, and quality of life for women undergoing IVF: a randomised controlled trial. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. doi:10.1111/aogs.13528

Smith, C. A., Shewamene, Z., Galbally, M., Schmied, V., & Dahlen, H. (2018). The effect of complementary medicines and therapies on maternal anxiety and depression in pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord, 245, 428-439. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2018.11.054

Back or Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

Close, C., Sinclair, M., Liddle, S. D., Madden, E., McCullough, J. E., & Hughes, C. (2014). A systematic review investigating the effectiveness of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for the management of low back and/or pelvic pain (LBPP) in pregnancy. J Adv Nurs, 70(8), 1702-1716. doi:10.1111/jan.12360

Martins, E. S., Tavares, T., Lessa, P. R. A., Aquino, P. S., Castro, R., & Pinheiro, A. K. B. (2018). Acupuncture treatment: multidimensional assessment of low back pain in pregnant women. Rev Esc Enferm USP, 52, e03323. doi:10.1590/s1980-220×2017040303323

Soliday, E., & Betts, D. (2018). Treating Pain in Pregnancy with Acupuncture: Observational Study Results from a Free Clinic in New Zealand. J Acupunct Meridian Stud, 11(1), 25-30. doi:10.1016/j.jams.2017.11.005

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain

Hadianfard, M., Bazrafshan, E., Momeninejad, H., & Jahani, N. (2015). Efficacies of Acupuncture and Anti-inflammatory Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. J Acupunct Meridian Stud, 8(5), 229-235. doi:10.1016/j.jams.2014.11.005

Chronic Pain

Chiu, H. Y., Hsieh, Y. J., & Tsai, P. S. (2017). Systematic review and meta-analysis of acupuncture to reduce cancer-related pain. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl), 26(2). doi:10.1111/ecc.12457

MacPherson, H., Vertosick, E. A., Foster, N. E., Lewith, G., Linde, K., Sherman, K. J., . . . Vickers, A. J. (2016). The persistence of the effects of acupuncture after a course of treatment: A meta-analysis of patients with chronic pain. Pain. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000747

MacPherson, H., Vertosick, E., Lewith, G., Linde, K., Sherman, K. J., Witt, C. M., & Vickers, A. J. (2014). Influence of control group on effect size in trials of acupuncture for chronic pain: a secondary analysis of an individual patient data meta-analysis. PLoS One, 9(4), e93739. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093739

MacPherson, H., Vickers, A., Bland, M., Torgerson, D., Corbett, M., Spackman, E., . . . Watt, I. (2017). Programme Grants for Applied Research Acupuncture for chronic pain and depression in primary care: a programme of research. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library

Scottish Incollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). Management of Chronic Pain (SIGN publication no. 136). Scottish Incollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN); 2013.

Vickers, A. J., Vertosick, E. A., Lewith, G., MacPherson, H., Foster, N. E., Sherman, K. J., . Linde, K. (2017). Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. J Pain. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2017.11.005

Functional Dyspepsia (commonly called Indigestion)

Kim KN, Chung SY, Cho SH. Efficacy of acupuncture treatment for functional dyspepsia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Dec;23(6):759-66.

Lan L, Zeng F, Liu GJ, Ying L, Wu X, Liu M, et al. Acupuncture for functional dyspepsia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014(10):Cd008487.


Chiu, H. Y., Hsieh, Y. J., & Tsai, P. S. (2016). Acupuncture to Reduce Sleep Disturbances in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol, 127(3), 507-515. doi:10.1097/aog.0000000000001268

Choi, T. Y., Kim, J. I., Lim, H. J., & Lee, M. S. (2016). Acupuncture for Managing Cancer-Related Insomnia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials. Integr Cancer Ther. doi:10.1177/1534735416664172

Dong, B., Chen, Z., Yin, X., Li, D., Ma, J., Yin, P., … Xu, S. (2017). The Efficacy of Acupuncture for Treating Depression-Related Insomnia Compared with a Control Group: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. BioMed Research International, 2017, 9614810.

Lan, Y., Wu, X., Tan, H. J., Wu, N., Xing, J. J., Wu, F. S., . . . Liang, F. R. (2015). Auricular acupuncture with seed or pellet attachments for primary insomnia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med, 15, 103. doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0606-7

Lee, S. H., & Lim, S. M. (2016). Acupuncture for insomnia after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med, 16, 228. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1220-z

Shergis, J. L., Ni, X., Jackson, M. L., Zhang, A. L., Guo, X., Li, Y., . . . Xue, C. C. (2016). A systematic review of acupuncture for sleep quality in people with insomnia. Complement Ther Med, 26, 11-20. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2016.02.007

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Lu, Z. Z., Yin, X.J., Teng, W.J., Chen, Y.H., Sun. J., Zhao, J.M., Wang, A.Q.Bao C.H. & Shi, Y. (2015). Comparative effect of EA and moxibustion on the expression of SP and VIP in patients with IBS. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 35(4), 402-410.

 MacPherson, H., Tilbrook, H., Agbedjro, D., Buckley, H., Hewitt, C., & Frost, C. (2016). Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome: 2-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial. Acupunct Med. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2015-010854

Low Back Pain

Chou R, Deyo R, Friedly J, Skelly A, Hashimoto R, Weimer M, et al. AHRQ Comparative Effectiveness Reviews. Noninvasive Treatments for Low Back Pain. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2016.

 Qaseem, A., Wilt, T. J., McLean, R. M., & Forciea, M. A. (2017). Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med, 166(7), 514-530. doi:10.7326/m16-2367

Wellington J. Noninvasive and alternative management of chronic low back pain (efficacy and outcomes). Neuromodulation. 2014 Oct;17 Suppl 2:24-30.

Lam M, Galvin R, Curry P. Effectiveness of acupuncture for nonspecific chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013 Nov 15;38(24):2124-38.

Taylor, P., Pezzullo, L., Grant, S. J., & Bensoussan, A. (2014). Cost-effectiveness of Acupuncture for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain. Pain Pract, 14(7), 599-606. doi:10.1111/papr.12116

Liu L, Skinner M, McDonough S, Mabire L, Baxter GD. Acupuncture for low back pain: an overview of systematic reviews. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:328196.

Headache (Tension-Type and Chronic)

 Coeytaux RR, Befus D. Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment or Prevention of Migraine, Tension-Type Headache, or Chronic Headache Disorders. Headache. 2016 Jul;56(7):1238-40.

Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Shin BC, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:Cd007587

Migraine Prophylaxis

 Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Vertosick EA, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016(6):Cd001218

Yang Y, Que Q, Ye X, Zheng G. Verum versus sham manual acupuncture for migraine: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Acupunct Med. 2016 Apr;34(2):76-83.

Neck Pain

 MacPherson, H., Tilbrook, H., Richmond, S., Woodman, J., Ballard, K., Atkin, K., . . . Watt, I. (2015). Alexander Technique Lessons or Acupuncture Sessions for Persons With Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med, 163(9), 653-662. doi:10.7326/m15-0667

Trinh K, Graham N, Irnich D, Cameron ID, Forget M. Acupuncture for neck disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016(5):Cd004870.


 Ji, M., Wang, X., Chen, M., Shen, Y., Zhang, X., & Yang, J. (2015). The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2015, 192808. doi:10.1155/2015/192808

Lewis, R. A., Williams, N. H., Sutton, A. J., Burton, K., Din, N. U., Matar, H. E., . . . Wilkinson, C. (2015). Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network meta-analyses. Spine J, 15(6), 1461-1477. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2013.08.049

Qin, Z., Liu, X., Wu, J., Zhai, Y., & Liu, Z. (2015). Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Treating Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2015, 425108. doi:10.1155/2015/425108

Shoulder Pain

Lee, S. H., & Lim, S. M. (2016). Acupuncture for Poststroke Shoulder Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2016, 3549878. doi:10.1155/2016/3549878

Wang, K. F., Zhang, L. J., Lu, F., Lu, Y. H., & Yang, C. H. (2016). Can Ashi points stimulation have specific effects on shoulder pain? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Chin J Integr Med, 22(6), 467-472. doi:10.1007/s11655-015-2107-4



Adams J, Lui C-W, Sibbritt D, Broom A, Wardle J, Homer C, et al. Women’s Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine During Pregnancy: A Critical Review of the Literature. Birth, 2009;36 (3): 237-45

Adams J, Sibbritt D, Lui C-W. The Use Complementary and Alternative Medicine during Pregnancy: A Longitudinal Study of Australian Women. Birth. 2011

Carlsson CPO, Axemo P, Bodin A, Carstensen H, Ehrenroth B, Madegard-Lind, et al. Manual Acupuncture Reduces Hyperemesis Gravidarum: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized, Single-Blind, Crossover Study. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2000 10//;20 (4):273-9

Coyle ME, Smith CA, Peat B. Cephalic version by moxibustion for breech presentation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 (2):CD003928

Gribel GP, Coca-Velarde LG, Moreira de Sá RA, Electroacupuncture for cervical ripening prior to labor induction: a randomized clinical trial. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2011 Jun;283(6):1233-8

JBG S, MU N, JA C, Jr. KL. Acupuncture for low back pain in pregnancy – a prospective, quasi-randomised, controlled study. Acupuncture in Medicine (ACUPUNCTURE MED),. 2004 2 2004 Jun;22(2):60-7

JBG dS, MU N, JA C, Jr. KL. Acupuncture for insomnia in pregnancy –a prospective, quasi-randomised, controlled study. Acupuncture in Medicine. 2005 Jun 2005;23(2): 47-51

Kvorning N, Holmberg C, Grennert L, Aberg A, Akeson J. Acupuncture relieves pelvic and low-back pain in late pregnancy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2004;8(3)::246-50

Lund I, Lundeberg T, Lonnberg L, Svensson E. Decrease of pregnancy women’s pelvic p[ain after acupuncture: a randomised controlled single-blind study. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(1):112-9

Manber R, Schnyer RN, Allen AJ, Rush AJ, Blasey CM. Acupuncture: a promising treatment for depression during pregnancy. Journal of affective disorders. 2004 Nov 15;83(1):89-95

Manber R, Schnyer RN, Lyell D, Chambers AS, Caughey AB, Druzin M, et al. Acupuncture for depression during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Mar;115(3):511-20

Pennick VE, Young G. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007 (2): CD001139. PubMed PMID: 17443503

Skouteris H, Wertheim EH, Rallis S, Paxton SJ, Kelly L, Milgrom J. Use of complementary and alternative medicines by a sample of Australian women during pregnancy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2008; 48(4): 384-90

Smith CA, Cochrane S. Does Acupuncture have a place as an Adjunct Treatment During Pregnancy? A Review of Randomized Controlled Trials and Systematic Reviews. Birth. 2009;36 (3):246-53

Smith CA, Collins CT, Crowther CA, Levett KM. Acupuncture or acupressure for pain management in labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 (7):CD009232

Smith C., Crowther C, Beilby J. Acupuncture To Treat Nausea and Vomiting in Early Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Birth. 2002;29(1):1-9

Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. Pregnancy outcome following women’s participation in a randomised controlled trial of acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2002 6//;10(2):78-83

Wedenberg KAJ, Moen B, Norling A. A prospective randomized study comparing acupuncture with physiotherapy for low-back and pelvic pain in pregnancy. Acta Obstet Gyne-col Scand. 2000;79(5):331-5

By the way, here is an evidence-based, unbiased discussion of the risks and benefits of both VBAC and repeat cesarean that is written in a straightforward, helpful way please see Power to Push – VBAC Info Booklet.