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Friday, February 15, 2013

RA and Acupuncture during Pregnancy

Acupuncture at Accumamas

Wow, I didn't think I'd be even later with my second child. Lucas was born 40 weeks plus 6 days and was naturally induced with the help of the verbena augment tea.  Erika now is 41 weeks plus 1 day and still quite enjoying life in the womb.  I've had 4 sweeps, 3 doses of the Augment Tea, and finally I thought I'd give acupuncture a try. My midwife recommended Accumamas, who specialize in acupuncture and Chinese medicine during pregnancy. Check them out at:

Since I have RA, I tried acupuncture once before for my inflamed wrist, however found that the heat that was added to the needles aggravated my wrist further and my flare got worst. Ever since then, I have not tried again. But, since I'm anxious to see my little Erika out and healthy, I thought I'd give it a go. 

By the time I got Lucas and myself ready, dropped him off at is grandmas, and arrived at my appointment, I was stressed and breathless. My technician was Renee and she didn't seemed bothered that I was a bit late and on the phone the entire time I was filling out the new client questionnaire, but instead said "Take your time... , whenever you are ready.."

After submitting the form, she lead me upstairs to the treatment room and we took about 10 minutes to chat about my concerns and purpose for the treatment. It was quite clear that I was there to induce labor.  I've also learnt that a few factors must work together including:

1. Cervix Effaced
2. Baby's head engaged
3. Cervix moving from anterior to prosterior
4. Contractions
5. Dilated

At my last check up, I was told that the head was low and engaged, but my cervix was still high and about 1.5cm thick and I was dilated about 3cm. She also mentioned that she could feel baby's head, which I couldn't grasp how that could be possible with my cervix being "high" and "thick". But after research and asking Renee, I came to understand the cervix was still in the anterior position and needs to move forward.

Anyhoo, these are probably the big questions:

What was the treatment like? Did it hurt?

I'm absolutely a wimp when it comes to needles but I can tell you honestly, it didn't hurt at all! Some points I didn't even know she had inserted the needles already. She put a point in my forehead, a few in my lower back, a couple in my feet and ankles and one in my hand. She then twisted the needles to stimulate the trigger points and asked me rest for 10 minutes. I of course couldn't rest and wanted to fiddle with my phone and check my emails. I noticed that my hands started to grow weak and when I moved I could then feel the trigger points in my back, so I threw my phone on the floor and rested! She came in as I dozed off and stimulated the points again and left me to rest more. After another 10 minutes, she took the needles off and they came off as discreetly as they were put in.

Did the treatment work?

Here is the BIG question. Well, I must say, I had my doubts and went about my day. I did start to feel a bunch of braxton hicks contracions in the late afternoon. Nothing seemed to be different in the next 24 hours; however, at my next check up, I was told my cervix did shorten from 1.5cm to .5cm and I was 3 - 4cm dilated compared to 2-3cm dilated. There was progress indeed and I did end up giving birth 2 days later to an amazing healthy daughter.  My labor was extremely short and perhaps the acupuncture played a role? I'm not sure, but glad I went.

Did the treatment affect the RA symptoms?

There was no heat involved in this treatment so I did not find that I flared at all afterwards. Another consideration is that RA is suppose to be in remission during the last trimester, but I DID flare a couple days ago before this treatment and tackled it with a dose of Enbrel. 
(Again for those who are curious about Enbrel during Pregnancy, please see my previous post). I called motherrisk to confirm.

Well there you have it. I will post my birth story next. Stay Tuned~


  1. Good luck with your new little one!! when are you due? That is so exciting. Curious to know, how is your RA symptoms since pregnancy? do you find it more or less pain?? Also, I have not practiced yoga, do you think it helps relieve RA? I would love to try one day!!! I cant believe how small world it is.. haha

  2. Oops I just read the rest of the post and you gave birth already! Congratulations!!! must feel amazing to be a mommy :)

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