7 Reasons to Consider Acupuncture During the First Trimester of Pregnancy

February 22, 2023
Jennifer Treadwell M.Ac., Dipl.Ac., L.Ac., FABORM

Many patients ask if acupuncture is safe or necessary during pregnancy and the answer is: yes! Just make sure that you see an acupuncturist that is trained in pregnancy acupuncture.

Here at ilumina Healing Sanctuary, we specialize in pregnancy acupuncture. We treat women during preconception, pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond.

Here are 7 reasons you should consider acupuncture in the first trimester of pregnancy

1. Anxiety & Depression
Anxiety and depression can catch women by surprise. Many patients have struggled for months even years to get pregnant and one would think that a positive pregnancy test would be a time of joy, relief, and excitement. Early pregnancy is often a period filled with fear and anxiety. The fear of miscarriage or pregnancy loss often drives anxiety. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be very helpful to alleviate anxiety, worry, overthinking and sleepless nights. We at ilumina Healing Sanctuary create a space where patients truly feel comfortable expressing emotional struggles throughout their fertility and pregnancy journey.

2. Breast Tenderness
Breast Tenderness is commonly one of the first signs of pregnancy. It’s probably the number one complaint in very early pregnancy before the onset of morning sickness and fatigue. Acupuncture can help give you some relief so you can continue with your daily activities without discomfort.

3. Miscarriage Prevention
Chinese medicine and acupuncture have been applied for centuries to help prevent miscarriage or pregnancy loss in the first trimester. The fear or threat of miscarriage often drives anxiety and depression. Acupuncture can be so helpful at this stage of the journey as we help calm the mind and support pregnancy.

4. Alleviate Morning Sickness
Many women suffer from nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy. Despite the name “Morning sickness” symptoms can arise during any part of the day or can linger all day and all night. Symptoms tend to be more obvious in the morning after waking up or anytime the stomach is empty. Morning sickness symptoms include nausea, vomiting, food aversions, poor appetite, epigastric distension, craving sour foods, craving bland foods, acid re-flux, and depression to name a few.
Acupuncture is a great way to help take the edge off nausea or resolve it completely in some patients. Treatments will also help boost energy and get you out of any depressive slumps caused by morning sickness. In an acupuncture session at ilumina Healing Sanctuary, we will work to determine what kind of disharmony pattern you have by asking a series of questions about your nausea, food aversions, food cravings, emotional state, vomiting/re-flux symptoms, feelings of hot or cold, headaches, dizziness, etc.

5. Spotting
Spotting during pregnancy is common, yet can cause alarm in newly pregnant women or women with a history of miscarriage. It’s estimated 20% of women have spotting or bleeding during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Light spotting in early pregnancy is often caused by embryo implantation or by harmless cervical polyps. Spotting from the cervix can occur after sexual intercourse, a gynecological exam, vaginal infections, or heavy physical activity. Spotting is considered to be a few drops of blood at a time and is usually pink or brown. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be very helpful if spotting continues. Acupuncture is tailored to fit symptoms and imbalances and will nourish you and the baby for a healthy pregnancy.
Call your doctor as soon as possible if you experience heavy bleeding similar to a menstrual period, bleeding accompanied by cramping or bleeding in the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

6. Reducing Fatigue
Fatigue is another common complaint in early pregnancy. Your body is working extremely hard on fetal development, placenta development, and hormonal changes. Fatigue typically lasts through the first trimester, with some relief and renewed energy starting at about week 13 as you enter the second trimester.
Acupuncture can help with more energy and alertness during the day. Like morning sickness, there can be different reasons or imbalances causing first-trimester fatigue. We will address those imbalances in your acupuncture session and advise you to listen to your body and slow down as well.

7. Placenta Development
Placenta Development is an extremely important part of early pregnancy although not talked about nearly enough. A healthy, developed, and well-positioned placenta will help nourish the fetus throughout the pregnancy and reduce complications in late pregnancy. Acupuncture can assist with blood flow, development, and proper positioning of the placenta in the uterus.
At ilumina or highly trained and experiences practitioners recommend seeing patients weekly through the first trimester. Our patients like the weekly check-ins, q&a, nutritional advice, and the comfort that acupuncture and our space bring.