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Acupuncture During Pregnancy

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine has a history of over 3,000 years in helping women before, during and after pregnancy. Today, even right here in the Twin Cities, acupuncture is effectively utilized in both inpatient and outpatient settings, to address a wide range of pre and postnatal symptoms. Acupuncture can be effective not only for managing these common symptoms that arise during pregnancy, but can also help to relax the body and calm the mind. In addition to addressing specific symptoms, “pre-birth acupuncture” starting at 37 weeks can be a highly effective treatment to prepare the body for labor, shorten the duration, and minimize the need for additional interventions.


Acupuncture can help with the following symptoms during pregnancy:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Back, hip and pelvic pain
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Heartburn
  • Sinusitis

Pre-birth acupuncture

Weekly acupuncture beginning at 36 weeks, can help to prepare the body for labor and delivery and promote relaxation and restful sleep. Before labor begins, acupuncture can be especially helpful to ripen the cervix, release oxytocin, and encourage a more natural, efficient labor. While sometimes medical interventions are necessary, acupuncture can help the process to go more smoothly and efficiently.

"I just wanted to give you an update and say a huge thank you. On Tuesday night I thought I was going into labor but everything basically stopped on Tuesday night. Induction on Wednesday actually went really well and I think it was in huge part due to a month of acupuncture. My husband did really well with acupressure during labor and the whole process only took  6.5 hours - only two of which were really painful and he came out in one push. Anyway, thanks for all your help. I’m spreading the good word about acupuncture!!! I wish I had known about its benefits when I was pregnant with my first son. So, I’m actually super glad he was breech for a bit and it lead me to you! J

"The induction was much better than I thought.  I had very little pain (other than a crazy headache) until they broke my water at 6am.    

After that, things did get much stronger and I took an epidural.  But... my cervix dilated and I was able to deliver vaginally (they had been thinking it would have to be a c-section based on how she was tolerating the contractions).  I only had to push for 15 minutes and she came right out! I feel the acupuncture really helped to get my labor started naturally, and I was able to avoid having a C section that was originally planned!” 

Acupuncture for natural labor encouragement

Once a woman has reached her due date or is overdue, acupuncture for natural labor encouragement can begin. This treatment is aimed at helping the body to be in the best possible place to naturally start the labor process. This treatment is gentle and safe, and, if induction is still needed, many women find that the process goes smoother with fewer complications.

Specialized acupuncturists

Hennepin Healthcare offers acupuncture at many of their clinic locations. Although most acupuncturists can perform acupuncture on pregnant women, make an appointment with these acupuncturists with a special interest in acupuncture during pregnancy:

Jessica Brown, LAc, DiplAc, MOm at the Clinic & Specialty Center Integrative Health Clinic at 612-873-6963.

Jamie Schafer, LAc, MAOM, Dipl OM at our Golden Valley Clinic and the Clinic & Specialty Center at 612-873-6963.

Lucy Kervin, LAc at our St. Anthony Village Clinic at 612-873-6963.