The sharp end of medical practice: the use of acupuncture in obstetrics and gynaecology
Ayman A.A. Ewies, K.S.J. Olah
First published: 22 December 2003
Acupuncture is becoming more readily available in the UK. In some hospitals the service is offered alongside traditional hospital practice, treating pregnant and postnatal women, who receive treatment from as early as six weeks of gestation until six weeks postnatally. Acupuncture is, in theory, ideal for childbirth. Being ‘drug‐free’ and therefore having no harmful teratogenic effects, women may feel happier about receiving this type of treatment in their pregnancy. For many years obstetricians and midwives have felt frustrated at not being able to offer women effective treatment for the minor ailments of pregnancy, which for some women may be far from minor. Acupuncture has been used to treat morning sickness, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, migraine, backache, sciatica, breast soreness, discomfort due to sinus conditions, oedema, varicose veins, vulval varicosities, haemorrhoids, indigestion, heartburn, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, hyperemesis gravidarum, anaemia and hypertension. Acupuncture can also be used to aid in the correction of malpresentation, induction of labour and pain relief in labour. Acupuncture can also be used postnatally to treat perineal pain, breast engorgement, mastitis, postnatal depression and insufficient lactation.