Pregnancy, Childbirth, & Postpartum Care on Salt Spring Island

Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

For over 3000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has provided specialized treatment for women during preconception, pregnancy and postpartum recovery. Today this care is becoming increasingly popular and is used by acupuncturists all over the world. Pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum recovery are viewed in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a window of opportunity to enhance the wellbeing of both mother and baby. Conversely, if adequate care is not taken, any resulting problems may continue long after birth. Value is therefore placed on promoting preventative care to strengthen the mother and baby throughout her pregnancy as well as during the postpartum period.


There are many changes physically and emotionally throughout a pregnancy, leading up to and during birth as well as in the postpartum period. A number of health concerns during pregnancy are considered ‘par for the course’ because they are not easily alleviated with western medicine. As many conventional pharmaceuticals cannot be used during pregnancy, this is a time when complementary therapies are especially helpful. Acupuncture and Naturopathic medicine are ideally suited to treat the following conditions:

  • Miscarriage prevention
  • Nausea / morning sickness
  • Back pain / pelvic pain / sciatica
  • Headaches
  • Leg cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Stress / anxiety / fear
  • Heartburn
  • Pre-Eclampsia (hypertension)
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Anemia
  • Bladder infections
  • Elevated liver enzymes
  • HELLP Syndrome
  • Hypo / Hyper Amnios
  • Edema
  • Carpel tunnel
  • Breech and Posterior presentation
  • Preterm labour


Acupuncture can help relax and prepare your pelvis, cervix and whole body for childbirth often resulting in easier labour and delivery. Labour preparation & cervical ripening consists of one acupuncture treatment per week until labour begins, ideally starting in the 36th week of pregnancy. Acupuncture may also reduce requirements for medical induction and cesarean section if your baby is overdue.


Chinese Medicine has techniques to help promote prompt recovery after delivery. These include “mother warming” acu-moxibustion treatments, advice on diet, and the use of specific strengthening and blood building herbal formulas. Other conditions that can be helped by acupuncture include;

  • Insufficient or blocked lactation (mastitis)
  • Wound healing & scar tissue repair (c-section)
  • Postpartum depression
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Retained placenta
  • Postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding)

Treatment Recommendations

In general, we recommend a woman receive acupuncture once per week throughout her first trimester (12 weeks) to improve blood flow and nutrition to the developing embryo, to reduce stress, fear & worry, to help prevent miscarriage, and to manage nausea / morning sickness.

If symptoms are more severe or if this is a high risk pregnancy the frequency of treatment should continue at least once weekly until the 20th week of pregnancy, or after a positive ultrasound.

Then, treatments can continue as needed during the second and third trimesters (i.e. help turn breech/posterior presentation – optimal if done during weeks 33-36, heartburn, pregnancy related edema or carpal tunnel, back or hip pain, etc.), and again once per week for cervical ripening and labour preparation from week 36-40.

Supplements, lifestyle and nutritional guidance may also be recommended.