Complimentary and alternative medicines (CAM) are a group of practices and products not customarily connected with public health and medical practitioners (XXXX). CAM have been used historically for many years pre-dating modern medicines (XXXX). Used over many disciplines of health for both wellness and illness CAM is becoming increasingly popular in midwifery, due to women seeking a more natural approach to modern medicine across the childbearing continuum (XXXX). This essay will explore the use of acupuncture throughout the childbearing continuum, specifically, fertility, morning sickness, pain relief during labour and general postnatal health. Hypothesised pharmacodynamics, potential risks, as well as the role and responsibilities of the midwife when referring or recommending the use of acupuncture to a woman.
Acupuncture is arguably one of the oldest forms of medicine, thought to have originated in China from as far back as 6000 before Common Era (BCE) (XXXX). The first documented form of acupuncture in diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions is from approximately 100BCE in China, however methods of acupuncture have been found in historical documents from all over south East Asia. Over subsequent centuries acupuncture continued to develop alongside various herbal, massage, diet and moxibustion methods (XXXX). The first published work was compiled during the Ming Dynasty called “The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Mixibustion” (1368-1644). This compendium forms the basis of modern acupuncture and the 365 needlepoints are the same used today (XXXX).
As previously mentioned CAM has been used for many years throughout pregnancy with literature hypothesising that approximately 52% of the population use some form of...
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...eferral to refer a woman to a certified practitioner. Many midwives in private practice have further studies and competencies in CAM however and can therefore support women holistically (XXXX).
To conclude, the use of Acupuncture as CAM is increasingly popular across the childbearing continuum due to its relative low risk of harm and large base of anecdotal evidence as support (XXXX). Acupuncture can be used for problems surrounding fertility and conception, morning sickness, mal presentation, analgesia, reduction of lochia, stimulation of lactogenisis, reduction of postnatal depression as well as general wellbeing. However, due to increasing popularity and the unknown mechanisms maternity care providers, researchers, policy makers and all health professionals much be able to holistically inform women about their choices of CAM using evidence-based information.
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