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  • Thomas Nerbas

Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy?

Dr. Thomas Nerbas is a licensed acupuncturist educated in the inner tradition of Chinese medicine, routinely supporting women through all stages of pregnancy. During pregnancy certain acupuncture points are helpful, while certain acupuncture points are avoided. Some acupuncture points on the hands, trapezius, the lower leg, ankle, and low back are contraindicated during the majority of pregnancy. It’s important to let Thomas know if you are pregnant, or if you think you might be, so that contraindicated points are avoided.

Common Conditions Acupuncture Helps With During Pregnancy

Acupuncture can help support pregnant women through uncomfortable conditions such as: morning sickness, heartburn, fatigue, insomnia, pelvic floor pain, back pain, ligament pain, systemic swelling, premature cervical ripening, preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension), constipation, and gestational diabetes. If you are experiencing any of these or other pregnancy side effects, let Thomas know so that your treatments can be custom tailored accordingly.

When Is The Best Time To Begin Acupuncture For Pregnancy?

Acupuncture holistically assists moms maintain ideal systemic functioning through all stages of pregnancy. For those pursuing natural options to overcome fertility challenges; acupuncture on its own and in combination with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has been shown to assist women achieve healthy pregnancy.

If you are presently pregnant, its advantageous to receive acupuncture as soon as possible to help temper morning sickness and first-trimester symptoms. In a healthy pregnancy, you may only need acupuncture every 7th day as corrective care or once a month as proactive wellness care, to ensure everything is balanced and flowing smoothly. 

If you have experienced a loss of pregnancy in the past, frequent treatments as often as every second or third day may be recommended, especially during the first trimester. This frequency ensures reinforcing the sustained support required to keep your body healthy, strong, and balanced over the course of your pregnancy. Toward the end of any pregnancy, at about the 37th week, treatments may be every 7th day.

Can Acupuncture Help Prepare Women For Labor?

Acupuncture can help prepare pregnant mothers for labor and delivery. A study has confirmed that acupuncture supports shorter labor and more third trimester cervical ripening:

There was some evidence of a change in cervical maturation for women receiving acupuncture compared with the sham control (1).

Research demonstrates that acupuncture is safe and effective for reducing the time needed to deliver a baby. Researchers from the China Meitan General Hospital conclude: 

Electroacupuncture shortened both the active phase and the latent phase of the first stage of labor. As a result, the researchers conclude that acupuncture is a safe and effective method for shortening the duration of the first stage of labor (2).

Overwhelm and stress are the biggest factors that women battle during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Acupuncture can help significantly with reducing stress and anxiety in these moments. Acupuncture promotes deep relaxation by activating the body’s parasympathetic nervous system; “rest, digest and recover” functions. Reaching this state is essential to restoring as well as maintaining robust health and vitality. That's why Dr. Thomas Nerbas recommends scheduling regular proactive acupuncture as part of your personal wellness care plan.

Is Ongoing Acupuncture Recommended After Delivery?

Proactive acupuncture after delivery is really important. Fatigue, poor metabolism and depression are common symptoms after delivery. Regular acupuncture visits are great for helping moms recover and regain their strength after giving birth. Best success goes to all the moms who embark on the exciting adventure of motherhood!


1. Smith, C. A., Crowther, C. A., & Grant, S. J. (2013). Acupuncture for induction of labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 8, CD002962. 

2. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2012 May;32(5):409-12. Clinical observation of the impacts and safety of electroacupuncture at Sanyinjiao (SP 6) on labor]. Liu YL, Jin ZG. Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Meitan General Hospital, Beijing, China. Article in Chinese.

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