As the body grows and progressively changes shape during pregnancy many women experience the unfortunate occurrence of lumbopelvic pain (LPP), or as it is often referred to as low back pain or pelvic girdle(PGP). (1) LPP, that requires medical attention, affects up to 70% of pregnant women world wide, and with 7% of these women reporting that the pain causes disability and interferes with their ability to work, it is clear how problematic this condition can be. (2)
The majority of sufferers begin to experience LPP by weeks 17-19 of pregnancy, with the height of their symptoms coming into effect from the 24th -36th week of pregnancy. However, what may be the biggest concern for women who suffer LPP is that the research shows they are more likely to request labor induction procedures and a caesarean section, both of which have their associated risks and implications. (1) Further to this, for up to 25% of these women suffering from LPP, their symptoms may continue to persist for several years postpartum. (1)
With the debilitating effects of LPP leading many to reach for pain medication, that pose possible risks to the developing fetus, the need for non-pharmocological treatments is where the research is now turning to for best and safest options and outcomes for both mother and baby. A recent study conducted in New Zealand and lead by one the worlds leading pregnancy acupuncturists, Deborah Betts, has further been able to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of the use of acupuncture on pregnant women in their study suffering from LPP. (1)
In this study, women in their 2nd and 3rd trimester who presented with LPP were given weekly acupuncture treatments, with an average of 3 or more treatments per participant. (1) The results showed that a staggering 89% of these women reported clinically meaningful symptom reductions. Very few adverse events were reported by the women and those that did experience an adverse event stated that it was only mild. (1) Therefore, the authors concluded that acupuncture during pregnancy was deemed safe and inline with previous research findings that also demonstrated acupuncture to be a perfectly safe treatment option for women suffering from LPP during pregnancy. (1, 3, 4)
Discomfort during pregnancy, especially that from LPP, is one of those things many women feel they just have to put up with. However, when the discomfort begins to effect their daily lives, the distress this can cause may lead to a number of flow on effects, sometimes as drastic as an early booked c-section. With many women still needing to continue working throughout most of their pregnancy, finding safe alternatives to the current limited options of NSAIDS and opiods, which are not safe for baby, or physio guided strengthen exercises that just don’t cut it for many, is what these women are looking for. With more and more research, such as this, highlighting the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for LPP, it brings much needed attention to a therapy that will end the suffering for many pregnant women. Learn more about our IVF Support Program or Natural Fertility Support Program here.
Leigh is the founder and primary practitioner at Spring Acupuncture, Fertility and Pregnancy Clinic. She is a passionate and qualified acupuncturist and expert in natural fertility, IVF support, pregnancy and women’s health.
Leigh has worked many years as an Anaesthetic Technician at the Mater Mothers and Adults Hospital here in Brisbane and is currently completing her Masters in Reproductive Medicine through the University of New South Wales. Through combining her vast Western and Eastern medical knowledge, Leigh is able to assist her clients to achieve their fertility and health goals. Leigh strongly believes that through optimizing your health on a physical, physiological and psychological level you will be in the best state possible as you travel along your personal fertility journey.
- Soliday, Elizabeth et al.,Treating Pain in Pregnancy with Acupuncture: Observational Study Results from a Free Clinic in New Zealand, Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies , Volume 11 , Issue 1 , 25 – 30
- Elden, H, Fagevik-Olsen, M, Ostgaard, HC, Stener-Victorin, E, Hagberg, H. Acupuncture as an adjunct to standard treatment for pelvic girdle pain in pregnant women: randomised double-blinded controlled trial comparing acupuncture with non-penetrating sham acupuncture. BJOG. 2008;115:1655–1668
- Wu, W., Meijer, O., Uegaki, K., Mens, J., van Dieen, J., Wuisman, P. et al. Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PPP), I: terminology, clinical presentation, and prevalence. Eur Spine J. 2004; 13: 575–589
- Duthey, B. Priority medicines for Europe and the world: “A public health approach to innovation.” Update to WHO background paper, 6.24 low back pain. ; 2013
Spring Acupuncture is an integrative Chinese medicine and acupuncture clinic committed to providing the best outcomes for our patients, and empowering them along their journey to optimal fertility, pregnancy health, IVF success and general wellness. We are located in Springwood, Brisbane, and are conveniently situated right next door to The Fertility Centre, IVF clinic.
We are humbled to be able to assist patients from local suburbs and all over Queensland. Proudly servicing Springwood, Brisbane, South Brisbane, Acacia Ridge, Algester, Annerley, Archerfield, Beenleigh, Burbank, Calamvale, Coopers Plains, Darra, Doolandella, Drewvale, Durack, Dutton Park, Eight Mile Plains, Ellen Grove, Fairfield, Forest Lake, Greenslopes, Heathwood, Holland Park, Holland Park West, Inala, Karawatha, Kuraby, Larapinta, MacGregor, Mackenzie, Mansfield, Moorooka, Mount Gravatt, Mount Gravatt East, Nathan, Pallara, Parkinson, Richlands, Robertson, Rochedale, Rocklea, Runcorn, Salisbury, Seventeen Mile Rocks, Sinnamon Park, Stones Corner, Stretton, Sumner, Sunnybank, Sunnybank Hills, Tarragindi, Tennyson, Upper Mount Gravatt, Wacol, Willawong, Wishart, Yeerongpilly, Yeronga, Bahrs Scrub, Bannockburn, Beenleigh, Belivah, Berrinba, Bethania, Boronia Heights, Browns Plains, Buccan, Carbrook, Cedar Creek, Cedar Grove, Cedar Vale, Chambers Flat, Cornubia, Crestmead, Daisy Hill, Eagleby, Edens Landing, Flagstone, Flinders Lakes, Forestdale, Glenlogan, Greenbank, Heritage Park, Hillcrest, Holmview, Jimboomba, Kagaru, Kairabah, Kingston, Logan Central, Logan Reserve, Logan Village, Loganholme, Loganlea, Lyons, Maclean, Marsden, Meadowbrook, Monarch Glen, Mount Warren Park, Mundoolun, Munruben, New Beith, Park Ridge, Park Ridge South, Priestdale, Regents Park, Riverbend, Rochedale South, Shailer Park, Silverbark Ridge, Slacks Creek, Stockleigh, Tamborine, Tanah Merah, Underwood, Undullah, Veresdale, Veresdale Scrub, Waterford, Waterford West, Windaroo, Wolffdene, Woodhill, Woodridge and Yarrabilba.