Prenatal & Postpartum


Pregnancy is a time of extraordinary physical and emotional change.  Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help you meet the unique challenges of pregnancy, ensuring optimal health for you and your baby in a safe and natural way.  Many pregnant women find themselves facing nausea, anxiety, fatigue, back pain, heartburn, and other symptoms as a result of the many new demands being placed on their bodies. Regular balancing treatment throughout your pregnancy can enhance your health and positively influence the development of your baby.  

Specifically,  prenatal acupuncture can help you to address these trimester symptoms:

  • 1st trimester (week 0-12) – Sets the foundation for a healthy pregnancy and prevents early miscarriage.  It helps to alleviate morning sickness, nausea,  vomiting, constipation, fatigue and insomnia.  Weekly acupuncture is recommended.
  • 2nd trimester (week 13-27) – Offers relief and balances the body from common complaints, including heartburn, constipation, hemorrhoids, stress, insomnia, edema, leg cramps, ligament pain, and elevated blood sugar.   Bi-weekly or monthly acupuncture is recommended.
  • 3rd trimester (week 28-40) – Prepares the body for labor and delivery. It helps to alleviate sciatica, hip, joint, pubic and back pain and reduce stress, shortness of breath and high blood pressure.  Weekly acupuncture is recommended.


Betts, D (2004). The use of acupuncture as a routine pre-birth treatment, Journal of Chinese Medicine, No.76,

    Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. (2002). Acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a randomized trial. Birth. 29(1):1-9.

      Our Stories

      Christina R.  (30 years old)

      Dr. Shou has helped me so much with the nausea in my pregnancy. Before seeing her,  I threw up several times everyday, and would almost be on bed rest, and at one point I was close to being dehydrated.  Since the few sessions I’ve done with her, I feel so much better and I can lead a normal life again. I am in such better health! She is so patient and genuinely cares about helping you.  I love that she takes her time to find a solution! My only regret is not knowing her for my first pregnancy.  Thankful for you, Dr. Shou!

      Jenna H.  (33 years old)

      I was experiencing extreme first trimester nausea, throwing up every day, fatigue, dizziness, etc. when I came to Dr. Vivian in a moment of desperation. The first time I met her I started crying when she asked if I was feeling alright.   After 3 sessions with her, I felt significantly better. I was able to stop taking medication, had more energy and felt way less nauseous.  Dr. Vivian is so kind and thorough and it’s clear she genuinely cares for her patients.

      Allison B. ( 31 years old)

      I am so glad I found Dr. Shou-Litman at the beginning of my pregnancy. I usually suffer from back pain and carpal tunnel.  8 months into getting regular acupuncture from her, I haven’t had any flare ups. I can tell the improvement in my scoliosis related pains after each appointment with her.  If you have chronic pain and are pregnant or just aren’t able to manage your chronic pain, I really recommend you to see her.

      Stephanie D  (34 years old)

      I am so thankful that I found Longevity Acupuncture. Dr. Vivian’s treatment helped me get through my pregnancy.  Her treatments helped with my nausea, stress, and anxiety. Towards the end of my pregnancy, she worked with me to help my baby get into the correct position. In the end I had a natural birth and my delivery was extremely quick.  I feel relaxed and calm throughout the whole process. I attribute this to the work that she did with me.

      Breech babies  (week 32-36) 

      Traditional Chinese medicine has been used for centuries to turn breech babies.  Treatment involves a technique called moxibustion, or applying heat from the burning of Chinese herb mugwort to a specific acupuncture point UB67 on the little toe,  bilaterally for 20 minutes.   Acupuncture is applied once a week, moxibustion is applied everyday for 5 days as a course of treatment.  After the first treatment, the patient will be instructed how to use a moxa stick over UB 67 at home for 5 days.

      Patients usually report that the baby becomes more active following or during acupuncture and moxibustion treatment, but it may take several days before they notice a significant increase in the baby’s movements. After the surge of baby’s activity, visit your doctor or midwife to have a scan to see if the baby has turned into the correct position. If the baby has turned within 5 days of moxibustion treatment at home, reduce the treatment time to 10 minutes until the 5 days has been reached to secure the baby’s position.

      If the baby has not turned after 5 days, pause moxibustion for 2-3 days and monitor the position of the baby. After one week from the initial treatment, if the baby has not turned, the patient will receive another acupuncture plus moxibustion treatment at the clinic and perform daily moxibustion for another 5 days at home.

       It is most effective to have the treatment between the 32th to the 35th week, up through the 36th week of pregnancy.  As the baby continues to grow beyond the 36th week, there is less space for turning.  A clinical study in 2003 showed 76.4% breeches successfully corrected with acupuncture treatments. The study concluded that acupuncture is a relatively simple, effective and inexpensive method for breech birth presentation.    A randomized controlled trial study in 2004 showed that the proportion of Cesarean sections for breech presentation was significantly lower in the treatment group which received bilateral acupuncture plus moxibustion on UB67 than in the observation group.


        Cardini F, Weixin H. (1998). Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation. Journal American Medical Association. 280:1580-1584

          Our Stories

          Tamara F.  (38 years old )

          I have been lucky enough to come into the hands of Dr. Vivian in the process of my pregnancy. During the first 7 months I had placenta previa and my baby was in a breech position. Thanks to her treatment, Dr. Vivian corrected both problems with excellent results.  Now I am in the final stretch and I do not feel any discomfort, pain or inflammation. She knows step by step what to do at each stage of your pregnancy. Thank you Dr. Vivian for your help and for making me so happy through my pregnancy.  I definitely recommend her therapies.

          Amelia B  (41 years old)

          I highly recommend Dr. Vivian. She helped with my pregnancy, especially towards the end by turning the breech baby using acupuncture.  I was able to avoid an ECV procedure and had the baby naturally.

          Labor prep (week 35-39)  and Labor induction (week 40 +)

          Acupuncture preparation for labor can accelerate cervical ripening and dilation, reduce the length of labor,  increase the likelihood of a normal vaginal birth. 

          For overdue pregnancy,  acupuncture stimulation can help to induce labor naturally by relaxing the body and mind, encouraging the body to release prostaglandins to soften and ripen the cervix for labor and oxytocin to trigger contractions.  As a result,  the onset of the labor is more gentle and gradual, and the labor usually is smoother and shortened,  therefore the need for medical induction, epidurals and emergency c-section is lessened as well.   1-4 sessions of acupuncture is typically necessary.


          Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P. (2001). Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a randomised controlled trail. Wien Klin Wochenschr; 113 (23-24): 942-6.

            Our Stories

            Ivette R. ( 33 years old)

            I have been seeing Dr.Shou for years now throughout different phases of my life and she has always been a saving grace. If you are pregnant, I highly recommend you to see her for assistance with your delivery.  She treated me during both my pregnancies and while both pregnancies were wildly different, both deliveries were amazing and I have no doubt it was due to her hands!

            Michelle B (35 years old)

            I was 40 weeks pregnant and looking for safe ways to help induce my labor while also taking care of my emotional well-being. Dr. Vivian accommodated me into her busy schedule, the same day I called and could not have been more professional and sweeter. I had two sessions with her, and the next day I went into labor. She explained every step of the way, and made me feel very comfortable in her office. I will continue going back for ongoing maintenance and care.  She knows exactly what she is doing, and is passionate about her work!

            Christina O (35 years old)

            I came to Dr. Vivian for delivery of my baby girl.  Dr. Vivian treated me for plantar fasciitis and back pain during my pregnancy and gave me lots of relief.  I had two sessions with her for labor induction and my baby was born 14 hours after the second session.  I had a natural birth with no complications. I would recommend her to everyone!


            Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) places strong emphasis on postpartum care. The practice of Chinese postpartum confinement- “ Zuo Yue Zi” or “sitting the month” is observed throughout history till this day.  During the first 4-6 weeks after childbirth, the new mother is expected to stay at home to allow this time for her body to rest, reset and recover.  

            According to TCM, the postpartum period is a very vulnerable time for the new mother due to the loss of blood, body fluids and energy “qi” during the childbirth.  Therefore, special foods and diet are prepared to replenish and nourish the woman’s body for her recovery and milk production.   TCM postpartum “ stay warm,  avoid cold” guidelines restrict the new mother’s exposure to coldness, wind, and dampness to protect the body from the invasion of external pathogens.  This includes eating cold, raw foods and vegetables,  drinking cold water and juices,  going out with wet hair, sleeping or breastfeeding under a fan, or an open window,  getting chilled from leaving hot showers or baths. These careless behavior can be detrimental to postpartum recovery and can exacerbate certain conditions.

            Mother Warming Moxa

            “Mother Warming” is a technique that employs burning Moxa,  or Mugwort, a powerful Chinese herb to  warm the body and aid postpartum recovery.  Moxibustion is an ancient practice that has been widely studied.  For centuries, it has been used to replenish Qi and Blood inside the body to promote healing.  

            4-5 days post childbirth

            This is a one-time treatment used to aid in recovery and energize the woman after childbirth by replenishing energy qi and blood lost during pregnancy and childbirth.  

            Moxa is burned and used to heat the woman’s abdomen from the pubic bone to the belly button and the lower back area, along the midline form the second lumbar vertebra to the sacrum,  for 5-10 minutes each or until the woman feels pleasantly warm.   In the process of moxibustion, the heat enhances the healing by circulating and increasing the vital energy ( Yang qi ) to these areas.     

            Contraindications: treatment can not be applied to the woman if she is experiencing night sweats, has a raised temperature or if there are signs of retained placental products.  Moxa can not be applied to a cesarean scar that appears to be infected, or have redness or discharge on the scar.

            10-14 days post childbirth 

            Following the Mother Warming Moxa treatment, acupuncture and further moxa treatments can be administered to further assist the body in building good quality Qi and Blood,  help with recovery and hormone balance, and prevent certain postpartum conditions , such as depression, anxiety, persistent uterine bleeding, night sweating, insufficient lactation, and mastitis. 

            Treatments once a week for three to four weeks is optimal.

            Moxa is widely used for these other conditions associated with postpartum

            • vaginal discharge & perineum pain
            • uterine shrinkage
            • urinary incontinence
            • postpartum depression
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