Pregnancy Acupuncture

Having a baby is not only a physical process but also an immensely emotional and spiritual journey.

We notice that women will often seek acupuncture for relief from stress/anxiety and also from physical pregnancy-related aches/pains/complaints/nausea & vomiting as they are reluctant to take medication yet are driven to ‘keep up’ with the many demands on them in their busy lives.

Pregnancy acupuncture treatment also provides you the valuable opportunity to chill-out, time to get in tune with your body & your baby.

I am here to support your choices. This is your pregnancy and I am on your team during this extraordinary time regardless of whether your intention is to have an elective C-Section, vaginal, a lotus birth, or a VBAC. My service is additional to and works in conjunction with the care you are receiving from your Obstetrician / Shared Care GP / Midwife / prescribed medication. I receive referrals from Ob’s, Midwives & Shared Care GP’s.

Please feel free to give Ngaio a call should you have any queries!


Please bring your hospital card with you to your Acupuncture appointments.
This enables us to keep up to date with your recent western medical checks.


Planning a VBAC

A gift for you, here is an evidence-based, unbiased discussion of the risks and benefits of both VBAC and repeat cesarean that is written in a straightforward, helpful way:  Power to Push – VBAC Info Booklet.

Please always try to remember to bring your hospital card with you to acupuncture sessions.


Examples Of Some Pregnancy Related Conditions Which Respond To Acupuncture

Ngaio employs treatment protocols utilising evidence based treatments with respect and congruency with the traditional wisdom that she was trained in.

In this research focused world, anecdotal evidence (based on an individual’s personal experience) is viewed by science minded individuals as inferior to scientific evidence (proof based on findings from systematic observation & measurement). Below is a preliminary list of pregnancy related conditions which are considered to have been scientifically proven to respond well to acupuncture treatment.

The short list of conditions listed below are briefs drawn from the body of current research evidence using human subjects and based on National Health and Medical Research Council Level 1 evidence (systematic reviews) which are located below the short list. Here there are also a small number of good quality Level 2 studies (these are randomised controlled trials). All these studies regarding pregnancy and some pregnancy related health conditions are less than 5 years old.

  • Acute pain: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving various types of acute pain, including studies where acupuncture was delivered in hospital Emergency Departments.
  • Anxiety: Acupuncture and acupressure have been shown to relieve anxiety in several contexts, including pre-surgical anxiety, student examination anxiety, anxiety during embryo transfer in IVF and anxiety during pregnancy.
  • Back or pelvic pain during pregnancy: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving low back pain and pelvic pain during pregnancy.
  • Chronic pain: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving various types of chronic pain.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving carpal tunnel syndrome pain.
  • Insomnia: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in improving sleep quality and quality of life in primary insomnia, also in various types of secondary insomnia including menopausal, post-stroke, depression-related and cancer-related insomnia.
  • Low back pain: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving both chronic and low back pain and has been given a strong recommendation for both in the clinical practice guidelines of the American College of Physicians.
  • Headache (tension-type and chronic): Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving and preventing tension-type and chronic headache.
  • Migraine prophylaxis: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in both preventing and relieving migraine.
  • Neck pain: Acupuncture has been shown itself to be effective in relieving neck pain.
  • Sciatica: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving sciatic pain and it compares favourably (in a network meta-analysis) with many other therapies.
  • Shoulder pain: Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving shoulder pain. With the profusion of new high quality research being conducted and released around the world we will add to this list.

* (Please also see Acupuncture Treatments )



Acute Pain

Cohen, M. M., Smit, De Villiers, Adrianopoulos, Nick, Ben-Meir, Ben, Taylor, David McD, Parker, Shefton J, Xue, Charlie C, Cameron, Peter A (2017). Acupuncture for analgesia in the emergency department: a multicentre, randomised, equivalence and non-inferiority trial. Medical Journal of Australia, 206(11), 494-499. doi:10.5694/mja16.00771

Grissa, M. H., Baccouche, H., Boubaker, H., Beltaief, K., Bzeouich, N., Fredj, N., . . . Nouira, S. (2016). Acupuncture vs intravenous morphine in the management of acute pain in the ED. Am J Emerg Med, 34(11), 2112-2116. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2016.07.028

Schug, S. A., Palmer, G. M., Scott, D. A., Halliwell, R., & Trinca, J. (2016). Acute pain management: scientific evidence, fourth edition, 2015. Med J Aust, 204(8), 315-317.

Au, D. W., Tsang, H. W., Ling, P. P., Leung, C. H., Ip, P. K., & Cheung, W. M. (2015). Effects of acupressure on anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med, 33(5), 353-359. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2014-010720

Amorim, D., Amado, J., Brito, I., Fiuza, S. M., Amorim, N., Costeira, C., & Machado, J. (2018). Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 31, 31-37. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.008

Bazzan, A. J., Zabrecky, G., Monti, D. A., & Newberg, A. B. (2014). Current evidence regarding the management of mood and anxiety disorders using complementary and alternative medicine. Expert Rev Neurother, 14(4), 411-423. doi:10.1586/14737175.2014.892420

Fleckenstein, J., Kruger, P., & Ittner, K. P. (2018). Effects of single-point acupuncture (HT7) in the prevention of test anxiety: Results of a RCT. PLoS One, 13(8), e0202659. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202659

Goyata, S. L., Avelino, C. C., Santos, S. V., Souza Junior, D. I., Gurgel, M. D., & Terra, F. S. (2016). Effects from acupuncture in treating anxiety: integrative review. Rev Bras Enferm, 69(3), 602-609. doi:10.1590/0034-7167.2016690325i

Kwon, C. Y., & Lee, B. (2018). Acupuncture or Acupressure on Yintang (EX-HN 3) for Anxiety: A Preliminary Review. Med Acupunct, 30(2), 73-79. doi:10.1089/acu.2017.1268

Smith, C. A., de Lacey, S., Chapman, M., Ratcliffe, J., Norman, R. J., Johnson, N. P., & Fahey, P. (2018). The effects of acupuncture on the secondary outcomes of anxiety, and quality of life for women undergoing IVF: a randomised controlled trial. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. doi:10.1111/aogs.13528

Smith, C. A., Shewamene, Z., Galbally, M., Schmied, V., & Dahlen, H. (2018). The effect of complementary medicines and therapies on maternal anxiety and depression in pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord, 245, 428-439. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2018.11.054

Back or Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
Close, C., Sinclair, M., Liddle, S. D., Madden, E., McCullough, J. E., & Hughes, C. (2014). A systematic review investigating the effectiveness of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for the management of low back and/or pelvic pain (LBPP) in pregnancy. J Adv Nurs, 70(8), 1702-1716. doi:10.1111/jan.12360

Martins, E. S., Tavares, T., Lessa, P. R. A., Aquino, P. S., Castro, R., & Pinheiro, A. K. B. (2018). Acupuncture treatment: multidimensional assessment of low back pain in pregnant women. Rev Esc Enferm USP, 52, e03323. doi:10.1590/s1980-220×2017040303323

Soliday, E., & Betts, D. (2018). Treating Pain in Pregnancy with Acupuncture: Observational Study Results from a Free Clinic in New Zealand. J Acupunct Meridian Stud, 11(1), 25-30. doi:10.1016/j.jams.2017.11.005

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain
Hadianfard, M., Bazrafshan, E., Momeninejad, H., & Jahani, N. (2015). Efficacies of Acupuncture and Anti-inflammatory Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. J Acupunct Meridian Stud, 8(5), 229-235. doi:10.1016/j.jams.2014.11.005

Chronic Pain
Chiu, H. Y., Hsieh, Y. J., & Tsai, P. S. (2017). Systematic review and meta-analysis of acupuncture to reduce cancer-related pain. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl), 26(2). doi:10.1111/ecc.12457

MacPherson, H., Vertosick, E. A., Foster, N. E., Lewith, G., Linde, K., Sherman, K. J., . . . Vickers, A. J. (2016). The persistence of the effects of acupuncture after a course of treatment: A meta-analysis of patients with chronic pain. Pain. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000747

MacPherson, H., Vertosick, E., Lewith, G., Linde, K., Sherman, K. J., Witt, C. M., & Vickers, A. J. (2014). Influence of control group on effect size in trials of acupuncture for chronic pain: a secondary analysis of an individual patient data meta-analysis. PLoS One, 9(4), e93739. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093739

MacPherson, H., Vickers, A., Bland, M., Torgerson, D., Corbett, M., Spackman, E., . . . Watt, I. (2017). Programme Grants for Applied Research Acupuncture for chronic pain and depression in primary care: a programme of research. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library

Scottish Incollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). Management of Chronic Pain (SIGN publication no. 136). Scottish Incollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN); 2013.

Vickers, A. J., Vertosick, E. A., Lewith, G., MacPherson, H., Foster, N. E., Sherman, K. J., . Linde, K. (2017). Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. J Pain. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2017.11.005

Chiu, H. Y., Hsieh, Y. J., & Tsai, P. S. (2016). Acupuncture to Reduce Sleep Disturbances in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol, 127(3), 507-515. doi:10.1097/aog.0000000000001268

Choi, T. Y., Kim, J. I., Lim, H. J., & Lee, M. S. (2016). Acupuncture for Managing Cancer-Related Insomnia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials. Integr Cancer Ther. doi:10.1177/1534735416664172

Dong, B., Chen, Z., Yin, X., Li, D., Ma, J., Yin, P., … Xu, S. (2017). The Efficacy of Acupuncture for Treating Depression-Related Insomnia Compared with a Control Group: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. BioMed Research International, 2017, 9614810.

Lan, Y., Wu, X., Tan, H. J., Wu, N., Xing, J. J., Wu, F. S., . . . Liang, F. R. (2015). Auricular acupuncture with seed or pellet attachments for primary insomnia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med, 15, 103. doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0606-7

Lee, S. H., & Lim, S. M. (2016). Acupuncture for insomnia after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med, 16, 228. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1220-z

Shergis, J. L., Ni, X., Jackson, M. L., Zhang, A. L., Guo, X., Li, Y., . . . Xue, C. C. (2016). A systematic review of acupuncture for sleep quality in people with insomnia. Complement Ther Med, 26, 11-20. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2016.02.007

Low Back Pain
Chou R, Deyo R, Friedly J, Skelly A, Hashimoto R, Weimer M, et al. AHRQ Comparative Effectiveness Reviews. Noninvasive Treatments for Low Back Pain. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2016.

Qaseem, A., Wilt, T. J., McLean, R. M., & Forciea, M. A. (2017). Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med, 166(7), 514-530. doi:10.7326/m16-2367

Wellington J. Noninvasive and alternative management of chronic low back pain (efficacy and outcomes). Neuromodulation. 2014 Oct;17 Suppl 2:24-30.

Lam M, Galvin R, Curry P. Effectiveness of acupuncture for nonspecific chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013 Nov 15;38(24):2124-38.

Taylor, P., Pezzullo, L., Grant, S. J., & Bensoussan, A. (2014). Cost-effectiveness of Acupuncture for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain. Pain Pract, 14(7), 599-606. doi:10.1111/papr.12116

Liu L, Skinner M, McDonough S, Mabire L, Baxter GD. Acupuncture for low back pain: an overview of systematic reviews. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:328196.

Headache (Tension-Type and Chronic)
Coeytaux RR, Befus D. Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment or Prevention of Migraine, Tension-Type Headache, or Chronic Headache Disorders. Headache. 2016 Jul;56(7):1238-40.

Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Shin BC, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:Cd007587

Migraine Prophylaxis
Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Vertosick EA, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016(6):Cd001218

Yang Y, Que Q, Ye X, Zheng G. Verum versus sham manual acupuncture for migraine: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Acupunct Med. 2016 Apr;34(2):76-83.

Neck Pain
MacPherson, H., Tilbrook, H., Richmond, S., Woodman, J., Ballard, K., Atkin, K., . . . Watt, I. (2015). Alexander Technique Lessons or Acupuncture Sessions for Persons With Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med, 163(9), 653-662. doi:10.7326/m15-0667

Trinh K, Graham N, Irnich D, Cameron ID, Forget M. Acupuncture for neck disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016(5):Cd004870.

Ji, M., Wang, X., Chen, M., Shen, Y., Zhang, X., & Yang, J. (2015). The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2015, 192808. doi:10.1155/2015/192808

Lewis, R. A., Williams, N. H., Sutton, A. J., Burton, K., Din, N. U., Matar, H. E., . . . Wilkinson, C. (2015). Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network meta-analyses. Spine J, 15(6), 1461-1477. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2013.08.049

Qin, Z., Liu, X., Wu, J., Zhai, Y., & Liu, Z. (2015). Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Treating Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2015, 425108. doi:10.1155/2015/425108

Shoulder Pain

Lee, S. H., & Lim, S. M. (2016). Acupuncture for Poststroke Shoulder Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2016, 3549878. doi:10.1155/2016/3549878

Wang, K. F., Zhang, L. J., Lu, F., Lu, Y. H., & Yang, C. H. (2016). Can Ashi points stimulation have specific effects on shoulder pain? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Chin J Integr Med, 22(6), 467-472. doi:10.1007/s11655-015-2107-4