Acupuncture points contraindicated in pregnancy

Pregnant womanAcupuncture points and pregnancy

Why are some points contraindicated during pregnancy?
This is a very common question and concern. There is no absolute, 100% agreed upon list of these points in modern times. However, knowing the reasons for traditionally contraindicated points has guided my work.
Listen to a recording of this post:

Based on what was taught to me, I arrange contraindicated points into 3 categories:
1. Points that bring the Qi down
2. Points on the abdomen
3. Points based on empirical evidence
Empirical points are passed down from one healer to another, over thousands of years, based on their experience. These points do not necessarily have a “reason,” unless you trust experience (which I do).

Acupuncture or Acupressure Point?

First, let me clarify that terms “acupuncture point,” “acupressure point,” “point,” and “meridian massage point,” all refer to the same thing – a precise location on a meridian where Qi (energy) can be accessed. These points were mapped out thousands of years ago in China.

Qi is powerful

Kayak in riverQi (“chee”) is the energy that we focus on when using acupuncture, acupressure, meridian massage, Shiatsu, and many other techniques based on Chinese medicine. Qi flows through meridians. The meridians are like river beds that form a channel for the passage of water in a river or stream. The power of rushing water can sweep away logs, trees, and stones. Qi also has power and force.
1. Points that bring the Qi down are contraindicated during pregnancy.
Qi flows in all directions in the body: up, down, inward, outward. Certain acupuncture points encourage the flow of Qi in a particular direction. During pregnancy, we want to encourage the fetus to stay up, in the uterus. Therefore, points that strongly direct or pull the Qi down are contraindicated during pregnancy.
The three points below strongly direct the Qi downward:
Gallbladder 21
Large Intestine 4
Bladder 60
2. Points on the abdomen
Especially on the lower abdomen:
Ren (Conception Vessel) 3 – 8
In acupuncture, great caution is required when needling points on the abdomen during pregnancy.
3. Based on empirical evidence
Spleen 6
Bladder 31, 32, 33, 34
Bladder 67

Are points really contraindicated during pregnancy?

I often hear western medical practitioners, and sometimes modern practitioners of Chinese medicine, questioning the legitimacy of this list of contraindicated points for pregnancy. They demand evidence, some kind of modern “evidence based” research to prove the logic of this list.

Here is how I think about it:

I barely understand the possibilities of Qi after many years of study. Even if I had 50 years of experience using acupoints, that is nothing compared to the thousands of years of practical wisdom handed down from ancient times. I trust the experience of the ancients who took the time and effort to learn, and pass on, this information so that we can benefit from it today.

I do not use any of the above points during pregnancy.

There are hundreds of points. Skilled practitioners will know other points that can be used in order to support harmony and health to a pregnant woman.

List of points contraindicated in pregnancy:

Gallbladder 21
Large Intestine 4
Spleen 6
Bladder 31, 32, 33, 34
Bladder 60
Bladder 67
Points on the abdomen *Ren (Conception Vessel) 3 – 8

Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Berit Ärlemalm on September 19, 2022 at 7:16 am

    Hi Cindy,
    can I use GB 30 and extraordinary channels like TB5 – GB 41 for one side pain in the gluteal area?

    Thankful for information❣️

    Berit Ärlemalm
    Stockholm, Sweden

    • Cindy Black on September 21, 2022 at 10:13 pm

      That is a great approach! After you use these points please let us know your results.
      – Cindy

  2. Carmen on December 18, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    Is ST 25 ok to use while patient is 12 weeks pregnant?

    • Cindy Black on December 19, 2021 at 11:08 am

      Hi Carmen,
      Traditionally points on the abdomen are not used during pregnancy, especially when performing acupuncture.

      – Cindy

  3. Jose Toussaint on November 11, 2020 at 3:14 am

    I live in Australia and currently an acupuncture student. I love your way of explaining things, and I am grateful to have found you.

  4. M on May 13, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    What about Kidney 3? Is that contraindicated in pregnancy?

    • Cindy Black on May 14, 2019 at 7:08 am

      KD 3 is not contraindicated in pregnancy.

  5. Munish bhardwaj on August 23, 2018 at 12:31 am

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge

  6. Filippa on August 20, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Would it be dangerous to use these acupuncture points on someone who is pregnant?

    • Cindy Black on August 22, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Yes, that is what we mean by “contraindicated.”

  7. Evelyn on August 10, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    You are a wise woman and extremely generous to share this valuable information!
    Thank you for your commitment to pass on your knowledge of experience and respect to this ancient practice.
    I have a question :Do you know of any of your students working in Richland Hills, near Fort Worth -Texas for an MS patient Who could benefit from Meridian Accupressure?
    Thank you again!!

  8. […] post Acupuncture points contraindicated in pregnancy appeared first on Big Tree School of Natural […]

  9. Atsushi (AL) Ikemoto on August 10, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Thank you! Great lesson! I have heard of some of these points, but nobody explains the rationale for avoiding these points. I think there is “robotic” acceptance or passing on of knowledge without true understanding or valid reasoning. I am truly impressed with your knowledge. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom.

    • Karen "Mimi" on November 13, 2017 at 7:32 am

      Al….I didn’t know you followed her as well! I have incorporated what you taught me with what I am learning from this amazing lady. Hope you are well my friend!!!
      We look forward to one day having you and your sweet wife here for a visit!
      Karen and Al Lundgren

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