East West Fertility offers Pregnancy, Childbirth and Post-Partum Care programs based on Chinese medicine principles and treatment strategies, nutritional requirements and current Chinese medicine and biomedical research.
Chinese medicine offers a safe, effective and relatively inexpensive option for many women who are cautious about using drugs during pregnancy, for labour induction, or while breast-feeding. There is strong evidence supporting the efficacy of Chinese medicine for pregnancy disorders, childbirth preparation and post-partum conditions based on the following substantiated effects:
- reduces nausea
- relieves stress, improves mood and reduces possibility of developing post-natal depression
- eases pain
- lowers the risk of breech presentation
- turns breech presentations
- shortens labour
We have helped many women by using acupuncture and Chinese herbs for a wide range of obstetric conditions such as:
- Morning sickness
- Pelvic pain
- Breech presentations
- Leg cramps
- Low back pain and sciatica
- Labour preparation
- Post-natal weakness and or exhaustion
- Post-natal depression
Clinical studies of Chinese medicine & obstetric disorders
Vickers conducted a meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials in 1996 to assess the efficacy of acupuncture on nausea. His analysis determined there is substantial evidence that acupuncture reduces various types of mild to moderate nausea /vomiting including morning sickness.
A 2002 Australian study published in Birth involving 600 pregnant women in their first trimester demonstrated the efficacy of acupuncture for morning sickness.
The acupuncture group was given weekly 20-minute sessions of acupuncture for four weeks. Research co-ordinator Dr Caroline Smith, from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital & Adelaide University stated: ‘We found that traditional acupuncture reduced nausea throughout the trial with dry retching being reduced from the second week’.
In 1998 Cardini & Weixin studied 260 women in their 33 week of a 1st pregnancy with ultrasound diagnosis of breech presentation. Half received a daily 30 minute treatment of a Chinese medicine therapy called moxa for 1-2 weeks while the other half served as a control group. The researchers concluded that performing moxa from week 33 for 1 or 2 weeks is a safe and effective method for converting breech presentations after observing the following results:
Moxa can markedly reduce the risk of breech birth by increasing fetal movement Moxa can turn the fetus so a normal cephalic presentation is achieved During the 35th week 75.4% of fetuses in moxa group had changed to cephalic position compared to only 47.7% in control group Fetuses in the moxa group showed greater mobility, averaging 48.45 movements per hour compared to 35.35 in control group 24 women in control group and one in moxa group later underwent ECV to turn fetus Despite greater use of ECV in control group the number of babies delivered head-first was still significantly higher (75.4 %) in moxa group than in control group (62.3 %)
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported on a study by Elden et al to compare the efficacy of different treatment approaches for pelvic pain. Acupuncture with the standard treatment for pelvic pain: pelvic belt, patient education and home abdominal strengthening exercises, was compared to standard treatment pulse physiotherapy stabilising exercises. Acupuncture was given twice weekly for 6 weeks while the treatment protocol for the physiotherapy group involved going to an exercise centre once a week combined with home exercises several times daily. The results showed acupuncture was superior to stabilising exercises for pelvic pain during pregnancy.
Pre-birth treatment & labour preparation
The first pre-birth study in 1974 by Kubista & Kucera was verified by later studies which also concluded acupuncture from week 37 was successful in reducing mean labour time. A 2001 randomised study headed by Rabl involving 45 women investigated the effect of acupuncture on cervical ripening to reduce post-date inductions. The authors concluded acupuncture supports cervical ripening and shortens the time interval between the expected due date and the actual delivery time. A New Zealand observational study undertaken by Betts & Lennox involving midwives and 169 women over a 4 month period concluded that pre-birth acupuncture treatment provided many positive therapeutic results that promoted a normal vaginal delivery, reduced medical interventions with lower inductions and emergency Caesareans and shortened labour. Treatments were given from the 37th-40th week of gestation.