Acupuncture Treatment for Placenta Previa

How Chinese Medicine Treats Placenta Previa

When I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa in my second pregnancy I was immediately filled with dread- visions of heavy bleeding, hemorrhage, and an emergency c-section, filled my head.  Admittedly this is a very worst-case-scenario, and most women with PP have normal, planned cesareans.  However, in the moment, I was scared.  Then I thought-  We treat this all the time, with great results. There is nothing to fear! 

Placenta Previa has its share of risk factors.  Placenta Previa, when the placenta attaches low in the uterus covering the cervix to some degree, is associated with bleeding in pregnancy, with the most serious complications of hemorrhaging during labor, delivery, or shortly after delivery.  C-sections are almost always necessary due to the placenta blocking baby’s exit and the risk of bleeding.  

The Good News… 

The first bit of good news is that there is a lot of good news!  The vast majority (as high as 90%) of cases diagnosed as Placenta Previa at 18-20 weeks gestation will resolve by 32 weeks of pregnancy so that the cervix is clear for delivery.  I LIKE THOSE ODDS!  But I’m not leaving anything to chance… 

More Good News… 

Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, moxibustion, nutrition, and herbal medicine has A LOT to offer to help the placenta move to resolve placenta previa.  

How Acupuncture Can Help Placenta Previa: 

The condition of PP is considered to be the result of deficient Qi. The Spleen, in Chinese medical theory, has several important functions including digestion and metabolism, and holding substances from blood to organs, in their proper place.  The Spleen also has an ascending function   When Spleen Qi (energy) is deficient or weak we it fails to hold organs in their proper place.  Weak Spleen Qi can be caused by poor digestion, overwork, lack of rest, and worry-  any of this sound familiar to moms, especially pregnant moms who are simultaneously caring for a toddler? 

Acupuncture is a wonderful tool for support deficient Spleen Qi.  In treatment we use acupuncture points that strengthen the Spleen, improve digestion, and boost energy so that the Spleen can effectively lift the placenta away from the cervix, not to mention Mom feels a lot better during her pregnancy and has more energy during her pregnancy and strength in labor.  

Moxibustion, the technique of lighting a pole packed with mugwort and warming a specific point, is also every effective in lifting the placenta.  Stimulating GV20, the highest point on the body, also has an ascending effect.  When stimulated with the warmth of moxa or even a needle, the point and its ascending action are activated, helping the placenta to lift up away from the cervix. 

Finally, the herbal formula Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang is a classic nourishing tonic that supports the Spleen Qi and has a unique lifting function to address Sinking Qi.  

We implement all of these techniques and tools in our treatment of Placenta Previa.  In addition, we highly recommend rest and an assessment of dietary choices that can help support depleted Spleen Qi. 

Some of our general recommendations for Spleen-friendly foods include: 

  • Avoiding cold, damp, iced, and raw foods which are very difficult for a weaken digestive system to process and therefore deplete digestive or Spleen energy further 

  • Focus on warm, nourishing, easy to digest foods such as soups, broths, and lightly cooked vegetables 

  • Include roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash that are very nourishing to a weakened Spleen  

Fortunately, for most cases of Placenta Previa the condition improves on its on; however, if you, like me, want to do what you can to ensure resolution, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are invaluable resources to utilize to have the pregnancy and delivery you desire.