Pregnancy Outcome Following Women’s Participation In A Randomized Controlled Trial of Acupuncture to Treat Nausea and Vomiting in Early Pregnancy, Smith C et al., Complement Ther Med. 2002 Jun;10(2):78-83.
This study, the largest to date, looked at just under 600 women, and was a randomized controlled trial (RCT), considered the gold standard of study design. The researchers compared women who had gotten two types of acupuncture, “sham” acupuncture or no acupuncture at all. They concluded there were no differences in perinatal outcomes (including miscarriage), congenital abnormalities, complications during pregnancy or any differences between the health of the infants. Since the study was quite large and was an RCT, we can have a high degree of confidence that the findings are valid.
2. Cochrane Review: Interventions for Nausea and Vomiting of Early Pregnancy, Matthews A et al, Sept. 2015
This link is to a Cochrane Review, which looks at many different studies, analyzes the quality of data in the studies and draws conclusions based on them all. This review actually concluded that there is no high quality evidence for any method’s efficacy in treating nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy (it’s important to note this is not to say that nothing helps, just that more studies need to be done), however, for the purposes of this blog post, the most important conclusion drawn was that there is no evidence of increased rates of miscarriage for women who received acupuncture or acupressure.
Now that you hopefully feel more certain that acupuncture is safe during pregnancy, it’s important to point out one caveat- it’s safe when performed by a trained and licensed professional.
Yvonne R. Farrell, DAOM, LAc
Rawls Whittlesey, L. Ac.
Generally speaking, it is safe, but there are some control points that should not be used during the first trimester. Talk to your acupuncturist.
So for me, yes, it is safe. I have treated many women experiencing things such as morning sickness and have seen remarkable success. It also helps strengthen the developing child (as it strengthens the mother).