Forbidden points of pregnancy

There is much debate about the points that should be used in pregnancy. Some schools of thought say that you should not treat at all during the first 3 months of pregnancy, as acupuncture may cause miscarriage. I disagree with this view and have had some wonderful results in the treatment of severe morning sickness, which can be utterly debilitating for some women.

Women who have had recurrent miscarriages can also be helped greatly by acupuncture, if treatment is given to tonify Kidney weakness. The same applies to women with IVF pregnancies, who I often find suffer greatly from sickness in the first 3 months.

Other schools of thought warn against needling below the knee at certain times in pregnancy. When I first started to treat, there was so much conflicting advice that I often found it hard to work out what I could and could not do. I had a long list of points that I repeatedly referred to, and there was always a nagging anxiety at the end of the day if I had used an unfamiliar point. Soon I began to feel very restricted. But the more experienced I became, the less I worried. The cardinal rules are:

1. treat the body with respect and always be careful and considered in what you are doing

2. do not use any strong needle stimulation during pregnancy, unless you are doing an induction of labour, in which case strong stimulation is necessary.

Points to avoid at all times during pregnancy include the following (Fig. 2.2).

• Ll-4 and SP-6: these points are used for induction with strong stimulation and should be avoided throughout pregnancy. They should also not be used if a woman who comes for treatment is unsure whether or not she is pregnant.

• GB-21: this has a strong downward movement and must not be used before the second stage of labour.

• BL-31 and 32: these are in the first and second sacral foramina, very good for induction and not points that can easily be needled in error.

• BL-67: I would not needle this point during pregnancy but would heat it with moxa to turn a breech baby.

• Abdominal points: I will not needle lower abdominal points unless the patient is suffering a great deal of pubic pain.

Great care needs to be taken in treating pregnant women between 32 and 34 weeks. On no account should you give any strong treatments, especially in the back, as you do not want to do anything that might start contractions.

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