During pregnancy, women often experience many complaints, such as low back pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. To relieve these complaints, pregnant women undergo therapy, both medical and alternative. It should be noted whether the treatment is safe or not for the mother and fetus's health. 

Acupuncture Alternative Therapies in Pregnancy

Are alternative therapies safe during pregnancy?

Actually, doing alternative therapies in pregnancy is not recommended because they risk disturbing the fetus's health. However, not all alternative therapies are harmful to pregnancy; some of them are safe. Some alternative therapies are safe for pregnancy. Although these are safe, pregnant women are still to consult a doctor before getting alternative therapies.

4 Safe Alternative Therapy Methods for Pregnancy

Here are some alternative therapies that are safe for pregnant women:

1. Aromatherapy 

Aromatherapy maybe is the best choice for some mothers to make themself relaxed and calm during pregnancy. Aromatherapy is a healing treatment that uses some natural plant essential oils. Therefore, it's called essential oil therapy.  

Safety and therapeutic effect
Some studies have even been proven if aromatherapy can help pregnant women and overcome several complaints that arise during pregnancy. Aromatherapy has good effects, such as:
  • Relieve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting that often occurs in pregnant women
  • Relieve maternal anxiety and anxiety during pregnancy
  • Make women pregnant calm, relaxed, and not depressed during pregnancy.
If pregnant women experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, Inhale some oils with a refreshing aroma like lemon oil or mint oil. In several studies, some essential oils have been proven to relieve nausea in pregnancy.

When is the right time for aromatherapy during pregnancy?
Preferably, aromatherapy is done during the second trimester. If done early in pregnancy, inhaling oil aroma in the first trimester can cause contractions that can increase miscarriage and premature birth.

Pregnant women need to know the types of essential oils used for aromatherapy and know their health conditions. Some medical conditions are contraindicated in aromatherapy during pregnancy, such as:
  • History of hypotension or hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Having thyroid gland problems
  • History of epilepsy,
  • and allergic to skin.

What kind of essential oils be used for aromatherapy during pregnancy?
Some essential oils can be useful for aromatherapy during pregnancy and labor. Some research shows that inhaling aromatherapy during labor can also ease pain and facilitate labor. 

Here are the safe Essential oils to use during pregnancy:
  • Bergamot
  • Black Pepper
  • Citrus, like oranges and neroli
  • Clary Sage
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • German Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Roman Chamomile

Avoid these Essential oils
Apparently, not all essential oils are safe for pregnancy, such as:
  • Basil can trigger abnormal cell development in the fetus.
  • Citronella causes contractions in pregnant women
  • Juniper berries can affect fetal kidney function
  • Roses and sage can cause bleeding
  • Nutmeg has a hallucinogenic effect and reacts with painkillers in labor
  • Rosemary, which can increase blood pressure and cause premature contractions.

2. Massage

According to a study, some benefits that can be obtained by doing massage during pregnancy, including:
  • Make the mood better.
  • Reduce stress, depression, and anxiety.
  • Reduce discomfort during pregnancy, such as muscle aches in the legs or hands, back pain, or headaches.
  • Smooth blood circulation.
  • Make better sleep.
  • Help expedite the labor process.
Even so, massage during pregnancy must be performed carefully. Pregnant women are advised not to massage the abdominal area in the first trimester of pregnancy. Pregnant women can get the message on their shoulders, arms, or legs with gentle pressure to make the body more relaxed.

3. Reflexology
Reflexology is proven to reduce the fatigue of pregnant women. Based on research published by the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research in 2017, experts found that reflexology on the feet' soles can reduce the mother's fatigue.

The study involved hundreds of women aged 18 to 35 years pregnant for the first time with a gestational age between 19 to 29 weeks. The participants were divided into two groups: a control group (did not get reflexology) and a group that received reflexology.

In this study, foot reflexology was carried out twice a week for five weeks and 30 to 45 minutes for each session. At the end of the study, pregnant women who received reflexology said that they felt less tired. The relief of fatigue was significantly different compared to the group of pregnant women who did not get reflexology.

Is reflexology during pregnancy safe?
In the first trimester or third trimester of pregnancy, women must be more careful if you want to do reflexology. Why so? The pressure on certain points can increase blood flow to the uterus, causing hormone reactions changes to trigger uterine contractions. This is certainly a danger to do during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Consult with an obstetrician first to assess the safety of the womb before reflexology. Remember, tell the therapist who will massage that the patient is pregnant. Therapists who are trained and professional will usually immediately know which points need to be avoided when massaging pregnant women's feet.

Avoid these massage points!
If the doctor has allowed pregnant women to do reflexology, make sure to the therapist about the points that should be avoided during pregnancy because it can stimulate uterine contractions.

  1. The calf area, above the stiff ankle, behind the shin, about four fingers above the medial ankle
  2. Basin between the lateral ankle and Achilles tendon.
  3. The pinky toe (digit V), near the tip of the nail
  4. Middle palm. (clench your fist, precisely the part pointed by the middle finger)
  5. The basin between thumb and index finger
  6. The lower end of the spine, above the butt muscles

4. Acupuncture
Some theories say that acupuncture can expedite blood flow and provide other health benefits. Here are some of the intended benefits, including:
  • Reducing morning sickness or morning sickness
  • Relieves lower back pain
  • Relieve heartburn
  • Overcome fatigue
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Stop bleeding or spotting early in pregnancy
  • Overcoming depression during pregnancy and afterward
  • Reducing migraines and other forms of headaches
  • Reducing varicose veins
  • Overcoming constipation
  • Improve sleep quality.

Acupuncture for pregnant women can induce or stimulate labor. However, this is only applied in pregnancies that are past their due date.

Side effects of acupuncture during pregnancy
Acupuncture generally has very low risks or side effects, especially if performed correctly by trained and experienced professionals.

Even so, mild side effects can occur. Some minor side effects may occur, such as inflammation and infection at the needle sticking place and injury due to the needle being inserted too deep.

What about the effects of acupuncture on pregnant women? In some cases, performing acupuncture preterm pregnancy and a term pregnancy between the ages of 37-42 weeks (term), several acupuncture points can cause uterine contractions.

Therefore, to avoid all the worse condition possibilities, pregnant women should think twice before undergoing acupuncture. If pregnant women want to get the benefits without any adverse side effects, get it only in clinics with trained and certified professionals. And most importantly, consult the doctor before getting acupuncture therapy to be truly safe and beneficial. It is recommended to get acupuncture when the gestational age is above 12 weeks to avoid the fetus's risk.

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8. WebMD (2017). Alternative Therapies and Pregnancy.
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10. White, T. Baby Center. Is It Safe to Have Acupuncture During Pregnancy?