I' m confused about whether to use ST 36 or not during pregnancy. Some say its dangerous. The same goes for SP4, ( so they say) but since its for the chongmai i'm a bit surprised about that one. What are your thoughts on this one??
The true answer to your question is that for some patients you might avoid these points and for others they would be imperative - it all depends on the diagnosis, your training and the particular style of acupuncture you are using. A more detailed discussion about contraindicated points is here.
Chad J. Dupuis, L.Ac.
Yin Yang House Acupuncture and Wellness Center
I agree with Chad inasmuch as the most important factor is your clinical assessment of the patient. But, I would go on to say that there are one or two considerations to bear in mind. The following is only my experience, I have little outside evidence to support it; however I specialise in all things pregnancy and 80% of my caseload are from this group.
First, how many weeks pregnant is your patient? In the final 5 weeks St 36 can be helpful in preparing the woman if all else has been good. The 'holding' property of Earth is often what causes late-pregnancy problems such as failure of the head to engage, or late onset of labour, and I prefer to use St36 than spleen. By itself, St36 doesn't precipitate labour - it is used in conjunction with other points for that.
Second, what is your reason for considering it? If it is for fatigue, blood, or digestive problems, I use back-shu points instead as well as Rich for the Vitals (different schools have this in varying locations) and Ki chest points. Bear in mind that many women are Ki yin deficient if they had IVF, or bad sickness.
Third, I rarely use treatments beyond simple ones, as few and as basic as possible, in pregnancy. So, I never treat the penetrating vessels, or clear major blocks like H/W or Dragons until after the baby is born.
Finally, I do agree that there is much confusion over what is safe and what is not. For instance, the generally accepted protocol for IVF treatment at transfer includes LI4, which is a real pregnancy no-no, traditionally. Yet, it is an empirical point in this schedule and seems to be OK. I think the key is the combination of points as much as application, so, depending on the above factors, I am sorry to say - it's up to you! I have just come from treating a 37/40 woman, and used St36; if it goes 'pop' in the next 24 hours, I'll let you know!
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