Acupunct Med 29:137-139 doi:10.1136/aim.2010.003814
  • Debate

Forbidden points' in pregnancy: historical wisdom?

  1. Sarah Budd2
  1. 1Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Maternity Unit, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mrs Debra Betts, Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia; debra.betts{at}
  • Accepted 7 March 2011
  • Published Online First 27 March 2011


Within the acupuncture literature there is debate on the safety of using specific acupuncture points during pregnancy. Termed ‘forbidden’ or contraindicated, they refer to acupuncture points that can be used to induce labour but may also include points with no known inducing or labour-enhancing effects. Recommendations range from avoiding these acupuncture points at any time in pregnancy to statements that despite the warnings in the literature, these points are not contraindicated during a normal pregnancy. This discussion paper examines the historical use of contraindicated points, the physiology of the pregnant body and the effect of these points during research trials. It is hoped that this will encourage further discussion and provide a background for practitioners to make informed choices about how they use these points in clinical practice.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.