Several dry needling course providers in the US do not allow pregnant healthcare providers to attend their courses. While there may be certain risks associated with dry needling especially during the last few months of pregnancy, at Myopain Seminars, we do not believe that the risks should prevent someone from studying dry needling. It would seem obvious that dry needling should not be performed on the abdominals, or the psoas, iliacus, and quadratus lumborum muscles, among others on someone who is 8 months pregnant.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn’t realize she’s pregnant”.
We recommend being cautious with dry needling during the first trimester, especially since most miscarriages occur before the 12th week of pregnancy. There are no scientific studies that have linked dry needling to miscarriage, but that does not mean that the healthcare provider would not be blamed for the loss, after having used dry needling shortly before the miscarriage. Known risk factors include smoking and illicit drug use during pregnancy.
Some acupuncture groups and individual acupuncturists have suggested that dry needling of so-called “forbidden points” could be abortifacient; however, multiple scientific studies have refuted this outdated concept. David J. Carr provided an excellent summary of the issues in obstetric acupuncture. He summarized that “In 15 clinical trials (n=823 women receiving n=4549–7234 acupuncture treatments at one or more forbidden points) rates of preterm birth (PTB) and stillbirth following are equivalent to those in untreated control groups and consistent with background rates of these complications in the general population”.
Pregnant healthcare providers are welcome to attend the Myopain Seminars Dry Needling courses. Each individual practitioner can decide whether they want to be needled during the courses.