Acupuncture, as a small trauma, nondrug treatment, for many diseases of pregnant women, maybe a priority. So, is it safe to use it in pregnant women?
As an important traditional Chinese treatment option, acupuncture has always been concerned about its safety, especially for pregnant women. Even in ancient times, there were taboos for pregnant women to use acupuncture. For example, some acupoints (such as Hegu) were forbidden to use acupuncture, because acupuncture on this acupoint may cause fetal damage.
In fact, many treatments are not suitable for pregnant women because of the potential risks to the fetus, but some are considered safe during this period. It seems safe for pregnant women to use acupuncture, but some needle positions cannot be used.
In addition, pregnant women should choose qualified and reputable acupuncturists for acupuncture treatment because some countries do not require a license for this procedure. Contractions of the uterus and abdominal muscles are the basis of delivery, and premature delivery is dangerous for both the mother and the baby, so measures should be taken to avoid causing premature contractions.
If the acupuncturist inserts the needle into the back waist skin or goes too deep under the skin, there is a risk of muscle contraction in women. Some acupuncturists recommend that pregnant women who are less than three months pregnant completely avoid acupuncture.
In the later stage of pregnancy, acupuncturists usually place the needle shallower than usual and choose to place the needle farther away from the abdomen and back waist. In addition to acupuncture and moxibustion, it may be combined with massage to obtain an ideal therapeutic effect.
A recent meta-analysis also gives an answer to this question. This meta-analysis retrieves MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register, cumulative index to breeding and allied health literature (CINAHL), allied and comprehensive medicine database (Amed), and five Korean databases. Adverse reactions were classified by cause.
A total of 105 studies were included in the study, 25 of which (27 pieces of literature) reported detailed adverse events. Most of the adverse events were mild/moderate, mainly focused on acupuncture pain. There were a few serious adverse events or deaths. The overall incidence of adverse events was 1.9%, and the adverse events related to acupuncture events were assessed to be 1.3%.
This study suggests that acupuncture is safe in pregnant women, with few serious adverse reactions. Although acupuncture is generally considered safe for pregnant women, the latest relevant information should be paid attention to, as there is likely to be the latest evidence against this treatment.
In addition to the immediate risk of premature birth, there are other risks associated with acupuncture during pregnancy. These risks include needle site infection, metal allergy to needles, or temporary local pain. In some cases, it can even aggravate the disease.
Specific drugs, such as blood thinners, may cause abnormal bleeding at the injection point; this may also occur in hemophilia patients. If the acupuncturist advises pregnant women to take herbs in addition to acupuncture, it should be considered whether the herbs are safe.