Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Insomnia

Returning Expectant Mothers to Restful Sleep

By Paul J.O'Brien
B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Adv. Dip. OBB, Cert Clin. Med. M.AFPA, M.ETCMA, M.C.Th.A.

Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Insomnia is among one of the most useful and requested treatments I provide in my clinic. The simple fact is that many of the conditions and symptoms that conspire to interfere with a woman’s quality of life during pregnancy are caused by a simple lack of sleep. There are many reasons that a woman’s sleep may be interrupted during pregnancy and why Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Insomnia is such a useful procedure.

There are many physical changes during early pregnancy such as increased urination and nausea which can cause sleep to be interrupted by frequent trips to the bathroom (I highly suggest reading my articles on UTI’s and Morning Sickness if that is the case). In later pregnancy symptoms like heartburn, and positional difficulties can often lead disturbed sleep.

Finally one must also remember the mental emotional factors. Pregnancy can be a stressful and difficult time, and many women are stressed prior to pregnancy in trying to conceive, and with the chemical changes in the body it is only natural for a woman to experience a range of emotional states that can interfere with sleep.

Western Medicine however, often has a difficult time treating pregnancy related insomnia as they cannot prescribe sleep tablets, etc, which I would encourage people to avoid anyway. Instead the treatment protocol often recommends light exercise and a regular routine, which is great advice for anyone really.

Traditional Chinese has a much more comprehensive understanding of insomnia and Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Insomnia focuses on a number of specific and effective treatments for combating insomnia and returning the expectant mother to a balanced restful sleep state.

From a TCM perspective there are a number of pathologies that could cause insomnia, but the most common presentations involve the Heart, which governs blood. In Chinese medicine the Mind rests and resides in the blood, as such when blood is weak, the mind cannot settle and restful sleep is impossible to obtain.

This weakness of blood, does not correlate to an actual quantifiable lack of blood as would be the case in anemia, but instead refers to the re-direction of the normal blood sloppy to the developing baby. This in turn can be made worse by heat in the blood, causing it to be more unstable. Finally it is also possible that the Liver, the store house for the body’s blood supply may be deficient and as such fail to nourish and house the mind (Shen).

Luckily Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Insomnia treatments are extremely effective for treating this as I’ve seen not only in my practice but also in a number of independent studies. For instance a study was published in Acupunct Med. 2005 Jun;23(2):47-51, by da Silva JB, Nakamura MU, Cordeiro JA, Kulay LJ.

This study was undertaken to test the effects of acupuncture on insomnia in a group of pregnant women under real life conditions, and to compare the results with a group of patients undergoing conventional treatment alone (sleep hygiene).A total of 30 conventionally treated pregnant women were allocated at random into groups with or without acupuncture. Seventeen patients formed the study group and 13 the control group. The pregnant women scored the severity of insomnia using a Numerical Rating Scale from 0 to 10. Women were followed up for eight weeks and interviewed five times, at two-week intervals.

The study group reported a larger reduction on insomnia rating (5.1) than the control group (0.0), a difference which was statistically significant (P = 0.0028). Average insomnia scores decreased by at least 50% over time in nine (75%) patients in the study group and in three (30%) of the control group.

The results of this study strongly show that acupuncture alleviates insomnia during pregnancy.

It’s also important however to take a practical look at things the expectant mother can do to help the process. Avoiding caffeine, not just in coffee, but in chocolate, energy drinks etc is an excellent idea, as is engaging in relaxing activity such as Yoga, Tai Chi, or reading a good book. If the Liver is involved I’d also recommend taking a look at some of the issues that may be playing on the mind and concerns about preparation, work, your partner etc are very common, but are better expressed and discussed then kept in and cause disruptions in the sleep.

If you are pregnant and are suffering from insomnia or poor sleep quality I strongly encourage you to undergo Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Insomnia treatments to resolve the poor sleep and ensure you and your baby get the rest you need.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Insomnia treatment protocols that I provide or wish to start a course of treatment then please feel free to contact me or make an appointment where we can discuss any specific concerns or questions you may have.


Ready to get started? Great. Call my clinic at 087 901 9627 so we can discuss your needs and set up the first appointment.


You have been reading about Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Insomnia. It may interest you to read about Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Anxiety and Depression Here.

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