Chinese Herbal Medicine And Acupuncture Point Contraindications for Pregnancy

Pregnancy Contraindications

Below you will find common cautions and contraindications for pregnancy pertaining to the practice of Chinese Medicine - Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine. You may follow each of the links to see more details about specific points, herbs and formulas that have related cautions.

It is important to note that our lists are by no means comprehensive, so if there is any doubt you should ask your teachers or your practitioner. Cautions are also somewhat generalized. There are many instances where something may be listed as contraindicated, for example during pregnancy, but may be used for certain clinical reasons. Proper utilization is heavily reliant on each practitioners training; further, there are many sub-systems within Chinese Medicine where something might be contraindicated in one system and utilized within another system.

*Please Note*: This section is currently a work in progress, for a full listing of acupuncture point precautions, please see this page.

Points With Precautions

LI 4

  • LI 4  Union Valley
    • Releases the exterior for wind-cold or wind-heat syndromes
    • Strengthens the wei qi, improves immunity
    • Regulates the sweat glands, for excessive sweating tonify LI 4 then disperse KD 7 and vice versa.
    • Any problem on the face - sense organs, mouth, teeth, jaw, toothache, allergies, rhinitis, hay fever, acne, eye problems, etc.
    • Toothache use both LI 4 & ST 44 - LI for the lower jaw & ST for the upper jaw.
    • Headache, especially frontal a/or sinus (yangming area).
    • Chronic Pain
    • Influence the circulation of Qi and Blood - Use the four gates, LI 4 & LV 3 to strongly move the Qi and Blood in the body clearing stagnation and alleviating pain.
    • Promote labor or for retained placenta  

GB 21

  • GB 21  Shoulder Well
    • Local point for occipital headache, tight trapezius muscles and/or neck/shoulder pain.
    • Phlegm related issues of the head and neck - embolic stroke, neck lumps, swollen lymph nodes, tumors.
    • Phlegm related issues of the breast and chest - mastitis, breast abscess, asthma, dyspnea.
    • Stongly influence Qi downward - useful for rebellious Qi, cough.
    • Contraindicated in Pregnancy, useful for difficult labor, retained placenta.
    • Gao Wu felt that balancing GB 21's strong descending action with ST 36's strong centering action is important.
    • Tong Ren/Tam Healing System: Release the neck and shoulders and descend energy.

Herbs With Precautions

Hei Lao Hu Gen

  • Hei Lao Hu Gen Root of Scarlet Kadsura
    • Relieve qi stagnation and blood stasis, opens the channels - useful for a range of middle jiao issues involved abdominal pain, ulcer, dysmenorrhea.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis, other acute traumas, hernias.

Da Ji

  • Da Ji Japanese Thistle
    • Cools the blood, stops bleeding due to reckless movement of hot blood - nosebleed, vomiting blood, blood in urine or stool, uterine bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding.
    • Reduces swelling, generates flesh - topically for carbuncles, sores, swellings.
    • Internal abscesses - intestinal, lung.
    • Pulmonary Tuberculosis.
    • Nephritis, hematuria.
    • Can be used alone for hypertension, particularly from liver heat or liver fire, but can be used in conjunction with other formulas.
    • Studies have shown benefits for pancreatic beta cells - pancreatic cancer, diabetes.

Hong Qu

  • Hong Qu Red Yeast Rice
    • Tonifies the spleen and stomach for a range of digestive issues, indigestion with undigested food in the stool, clinically shown to be beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels, limiting the development of diabetes. 

    • In TCM terms it also invigorates the blood and eliminiates stasis - this generally aids a range of cardiovascular issues.

Formulas With Precautions

An Gong Niu Huang Wan

  • An Gong Niu Huang Wan Calm The Palace Pill With Cattle Gallstone
    • Resuscitates, clears heat, calms shen, and expels phelgm - coma arising from stroke, convulsions, loss of consciousness.

Ping Wei Wan

  • Ping Wei Wan Calm the Stomach Powder
    • Damp cold stagnation in the middle jiao - poor appetite, indigestion, gastritis, loose stools, heavy sensation of the limbs, fatigue.
    • Can be used to induce labor with appropriate underlying diagnoses.

Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao Wan

  • Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao Wan Ligusticum Tea Pills
    • Headaches, primarily from wind-cold (but used with wind-heat/wind-damp), with neck stiffness, muscle aches and/or nasal discharge.
    • In certain cases may be useful for migraines, frequent headaches - particularly when they are influenced by cold weather and/or changing from warm to cold environments.
    • Rhinitis, sinusitis.

San Huang Xie Xin Wan

  • San Huang Xie Xin Wan Drain The Epigastrium Decoction
    • Damp-heat excess with interior climbing - fever, restlessness, red eyes, constipation, possibly in severe cases delirium from high fever.
    • A range of digestive/epigastric issues from damp-heat - gastroenteritis, hepatitis, dysentary, hemorrhoids, etc.
    • Certain psychological conditions with damp-heat background - schizophrenia, anxiety, as well as obstructive conditions such as sleep apnea.
    • Due to the "clear heat in the blood" aspect, possible usages for digestive bleeding, vascular headaches, trigeminal neuralgia, epistaxis, dental abscesses, mouth sores, etc.
    • Has a broad anti-inflammatory effect, accordingly with the right underlying patterns may be used for atherosclerosis, upper respiratory infections and issues such as diabetic nephropathy.

Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan

  • Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan Kidney Qi Pill from the Golden Cabinet
    • Lethargy, low libedo, frequent urination with possible incontinence resulting from kidney yang deficiency.
    • Sensation of cold, especially in the lower half.

Run Chang Wan

  • Run Chang Wan Lubricate the Intestines Pills
    • Constipation primarily from blood and/or yin deficiency patterns.  
    • Dryness of the skin, nails, and/or hair.

Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Wan

  • Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Wan Rhubarb and Moutan Combination
    • Breaks up heat, moves blood stagnation and reduces swelling, release through the bowels - appendicitis, lower abdominal distension with pain, intestinal abscesses, hemorrhoids.
    • Post surgical infections, particularly in the colon and/or lower warmer.
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease.
    • Groin pain relieved by flexing hip and without urinary difficulty (but with symptoms similar to a UTI).

Ba Zheng Wan

  • Ba Zheng Wan Eight Herb Powder for Rectification
    • Painful urination when it arises from damp heat syndrome - urinary tract infections, leukorrhea, cystitis.
    • Prostatitis when from damp heat.

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Wan

  • Shao Fu Zhu Yu Wan Abdominal Stasis Relief Pills
    • Qi and blood stagnation in the lower jiao - lower abdominal masses, fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis.
    • Fertility issues in both men and women with the right underlying signs - amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, irregular cycles, uterine bleeding.
    • Can be used to dispel ectopic pregnancy.
    • Ulcerative colitis, urinary stones.

Li Dan Wan

  • Li Dan Wan Benefit The Gallbladder Pills
    • A range of gallbladder, liver and related digestive/obstructive issues - clears damp heat from the liver and gall bladder in TCM terms.  Symptoms may include gallstones and/or a range of digestive issues from poor gallbladder function – nausea, vomiting, jaundice. 
    • Hepatitis, particularly acute viral, along with other supportive formulas when arising from damp heat.

Yan Hu Suo Zhi Tong Wan

  • Yan Hu Suo Zhi Tong Wan Corydalis Powder
    • Pain of all types from qi and blood stagnation - often combined with other more systemic formulas based on the individual.  Pain and inflammation from acute trauma, generalized aches and pains or more chronic issues.  The formula has an analgesic affect on pain and is mild enough to be used for chronic conditions.  
    • As it disperses wind-cold, also useful for muscle aches with the common cold.

Shen Tong Zhu Yu Wan

  • Shen Tong Zhu Yu Wan Remove Stagnant Blood from a Painful Body Pills
    • Qi and Blood stagnation blocking the channels and collaterals - pain in the extremities, shoulder pain, elbow pain, leg pain.
    • With the right underlying patterns - possibly useful for fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, etc.
    • Arthritic conditions - rheumatoid, neuralgia.

Chai Hu Shu Gan Wan

  • Chai Hu Shu Gan Wan Bupleurum Powder to Spread the Liver
    • Liver qi stagnation signs - hypochondriac tension, abdominal pain, IBS symptoms
    • Alternating chills and fever.

Ping Gan Liu Qi Yin Wan

  • Ping Gan Liu Qi Yin Wan Dang Gui And Pinellia Combination
    • Liver qi stagnation with blood deficiency heat - signs of heat, red eyes, possibly anxiety and/or irritability, etc. along with digestive issues such as gastritis, cirrhosis, cholecystitis, hernia.
    • Lymphedema from stagnation and deficiency.
    • Fibrocystic breasts.

Xiang Lian Wan

  • Xiang Lian Wan Aucklandia and Coptis Pills
    • Diarrhea expecially with bright blood or mucus and foul smelling resuling from damp heat.
    • Nausea, abdominal cramps or bloating, with possible loss of appetite from damp accumulation.
    • Vomitting, hiccups, excessive belching, acid reflux due to rebellious stomach qi and heat.
    • The modifications in Jia Wei Xiang Lian Wan add more movement and stronger heat clearing from the base.

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan

  • Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan Blood Stasis Relief Pills
    • Qi and Blood stagnation - pain, cardiovascular issues, physical organ issues.
    • Coronary artery disease, angina and other cardiovascular issues.
    • Hepatitis and other liver function issues.
    • Migraines, headaches, neuralgia from most causes.
    • A range of menstrual issues including dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids - particularly with pain and/or bleeding.
    • Certain diagnostic types of psychological illness, schizophrenia, bipolar, chronic depression, etc.

Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan

  • Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan Unblock the Orifices and Invigorate the Blood Decoction
    • Blood stagnation particularly in the head - migraines and/or headaches with other sensory factors - auras, sound sensitivity, etc.
    • Dizziness, tinnitus, hair loss - with underlying blood stagnation signs.
    • Stroke, seizure disorder, post concussion headaches.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis.

Dan Shen Huo Xue Wan

  • Dan Shen Huo Xue Wan Red Sage Root Decoction for Promoting Blood Circulation
    • Phlebitis, generally chronic.

Huo Luo Xiao Ling Wan

  • Huo Luo Xiao Ling Wan Miraculously Effective Pill To Invigorate The Collaterals
    • A range of pain related issues when they arise from qi and blood stagnation (both acute and chronic) - pain essentially anywhere in the body, bruises and swelling and other signs of stasis.  May often be combined with other formulas which deal more with the root issues.
    • Abdominal masses, fibroids, cysts as well as organ related issues such as cirrhosis, appendicitis and inflammatory conditions such as endometriosis.
    • May be used to help clear an ectopic pregnancy with the right factors.

Ge Xia Zhu Yu Wan

  • Ge Xia Zhu Yu Wan Drive Out Blood Stasis Below The Diaphragm Decoction
    • For blood stasis below the diaphgram - abdominal masses, liver and spleen masses/swelling, colitis.
    • A range of liver disorders are possibly applicable - cirrhosis, hepatic hemangioma, hepatitis, jaundice.
    • Spleen disorders - splenomegaly.
    • Pleural adhesions.
    • A range of menstrual disorders - fibroids, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea (although Shao Fu Zhu Yu Wan may be more appropriate as that targets more the lower jiao).
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease.
    • May be used to help expel ectopic pregnancy.

Shu Jing Huo Xue Wan

  • Shu Jing Huo Xue Wan Relax The Channels and Invigorate The Blood Decoction
    • Primarily used for blood stasis with wind-damp in the channels and collaterals characterized by internal deficiency with external excesses - joint pain, muscle aches, numbness and/or pain in the lower extremities (may be severe).
    • Wind-cold damp bi-syndrome (i.e. arthritis) - particularly in the lower part of the body, hips, knees, lower back.
    • Sciatic pain with the correct underlying pattern.
    • Neck pain with the correct underling pattern.
    • Fractures that are reluctant to heal, particularly in the lower body.

Bu Yang Huan Wu Wan

  • Bu Yang Huan Wu Wan Tonify Yang To Restore Five Tenths Decoction
    • Post-stroke recovery when stasis is from qi and yang deficiency - post-stroke symptoms, paralysis, atrophy of the limbs, drooling, slurred speech, etc. 
    • Other potential uses with the correct underlying diagnosis in any blood stasis patients - MS, raynauds, ALS, etc.

Si Miao Wan

  • Si Miao Wan Four Marvels Powder
    • Damp-Heat Bi-Syndromes in Chinese Medicine terms - arthritis with hot swollen joints. With the right underlying diagnosis both osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis would respond.
    • Gout.
    • Weakness and/or atrophy in the lower body with swelling.
    • Leukorrhea and other heat related discharge.

Huai Hua Wan

  • Huai Hua Wan Sophora Flower Formula
    • Hemorrhoids and/or anal fissures, bleeding from the anus (fresh blood in most cases).
    • Ulcerative colitis.
    • Rectal polyps.
    • Rectal prolapse.

Yunnan Baiyao

  • Yunnan Baiyao White Powder From Yun Nan
    • A very important formula to stop bleeding (generally from any cause) in Chinese Medicine.  Can be used topically and orally and comes in two primary formats (capsules and powder vials).  It is used in households around the world for general traumas, but also in the Chinese military for gun shut wounds and other significant traumas to the body.  May be used in the right situations for gynecological issues such as menorrhagia, retention of the placenta, etc.
    • Used in humans and animals for bleeding from cancer and other internal tumors.
    • Generally speeds healing of trauma, can be supportive for those undergoing surgery.
    • Note that the powder vials often contain a red pill at the very top of the bottle - this is generally only used if you are going into shock or someone is in shock - the contents are an undisclosed Chinese military secret as yunnan baiyao is only made from one manufacturer in the world and is a state-sponsored formula.

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