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Pregnant women may want to have acupuncture treatment for two reasons. Firstly, the procedure can help provide relaxation at a time when anxiety and stress can be an issue. And secondly, acupuncture can help address some of the aches and pains experienced during pregnancy.

A growing number of studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective during pregnancy but best results are usually achieved when the technique is used as part of a wider treatment plan. If you except acupuncture to miraculously cure all your pregnancy symptoms, you're likely to be disappointed.

There is also some concern as to the safety of acupuncture treatment during pregnancy. Women experience huge changes in hormonal balance, metabolism and circulation during pregnancy. It's not known if these changes could cause an adverse reaction to occur from acupuncture treatment. There is a fear that certain types of acupuncture could initiate uterine contractions.

This is why in America acupuncture is typically only used during the last month of pregnancy, primaarily to help women who are past their due date. In the UK, there is no clear guidance on the matter so it's best to seek the advice of your local doctor before having any form of acupuncture treatment during pregnancy.

In many countries around the world, acupuncture is regularly used during the birthing process. In Germany, for example, almost half of all deliveries use acupuncture anesthesia. The practice is less common in the UK, although it may be something you want to investigate further.

If you are considering acupuncture during pregnancy you must choose a well established clinic with a great deal of experience in this type of treatment. As previously mentioned, certain types of acupuncture should be avoided during pregnancy, so you need a practitioner with the skills and knowledge to perform the correct procedure.

Remember, it's your baby's health as well as your own, that you could be putting in jeopardy. Using a substandard clinic or an acupuncturist with limited experience is simply not worth the risk.

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