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October 2021

Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 1997 Jun; 3(3): 83-6.

Acupuncture within the National Health Service: a personal perspective.

West Z.

Warwick Hospital, UK.

The availability of acupuncture in midwifery within the National Health Service has yet to become widespread. Warwick was one of the first hospitals in the country to offer it when its acupuncture service was set up in September 1993. The immediate and continued success of the service gives hope that pregnant and post-natal women elsewhere in the UK may one day have access to this ancient holistic treatment without having to pay for it privately. Acupuncture is offered to patients, alongside conventional treatment, from 6 weeks into their pregnancy until 6 weeks after birth. Patients are referred by their midwives, GPs, or consultants, and all the professionals work together as a team, of which the acupuncturist is a complementary part. A range of pregnancy-related conditions can be treated and it is ideal for patients who are reluctant to take drugs during pregnancy. Diagnosis and treatment are based on a holistic view of the individual rather than an isolated examination of their symptoms. Because of the risks involved, immense care must be taken when treating during pregnancy and certain acupuncture points are prohibited.

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