Pregnancy. It’s a beautiful melting pot of experience and it can be difficult to know how to navigate the ups and downs that come with each trimester. When you first find out that you’re pregnant, it’s exciting. There are lots of changes ahead, and at the end, a baby! It’s not without its challenges though. With this short article, we are looking at how acupuncture and herbal medicine can help successfully transition from conception to birth over those important 40+ weeks.
Holding the pregnancy. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are fantastic in those early few weeks before you can tell anyone you’re pregnant. Treatment aims to smooth the early growth phase, and can help with the hormonal changes that arise in those early few weeks.
Morning sickness. Affects approximately half to two thirds of pregnant women, and can last from a few weeks to almost the entire pregnancy. Acupuncture can reduce the nausea, by assisting digestive regulation and efficacy and help level out the blood sugar. Your practitioner will also discuss food options specific to your needs and give you take home acupressure techniques to get you through each day.
Fatigue. Many women experience an overwhelming lethargy in the first trimester. Your body is changing daily, hormones are surging and you don’t feel like yourself. Acupuncture is a beautiful way to balance your hormones, and it will release happy endorphins to help pick up your energy.
Constipation and bloating. Your hormones will naturally slow down your digestion, so you may experience bloating and constipation which doesn’t help the comfort of a growing belly. Treatment can assist your digestive system pick up steam and improve movement in your intestines.
Emotions. There’s a lot going on. Your hormones are all over the shop and you might be feeling scared and confused about everything that’s happening. Acupuncture targets emotional imbalance by reducing stress, calming anxiety and resetting any stuck thought patterns.
In the second trimester your baby will grow rapidly and reach significant developmental milestones. It’s a time to connect to your body and your baby. Looking after yourself is important! Consider having some acupuncture for general pregnancy health maintenance or address anything that is stopping you feeling the best you can. Here are some examples of what we treat with acupuncture.
Sleep disturbances. Hormonal fluctuations, changes in blood flow, aches, pains, snoring, frequent urination at night or stress can all contribute to a poor night sleep. Acupuncture is a beautiful way to ease these symptoms and reset your body to work more efficiently during the day and rest properly at night.
Back and hip pain. Increased progesterone in your system will help to relax your ligaments to accommodate the growing baby. You may feel more supple than before, but you are also at risk of overstrain and injury. Neck, thoracic, and lower back pain are all common as your pregnancy progresses. Acupuncture helps ease the pain and give you back your mobility. Treatment also aims to reduce any underlying emotional tension that can contribute to pain.
Placental position. If your placenta is low lying, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture may be able to help your placenta to move up away from your cervix, reducing the risk of placenta previa at birth. In Chinese medicine, this is related to ‘sinking qi’, which can be complicated by fatigue, and poor nutrient absorption. Treatment aims to improve energy, ‘raise the qi’ and assist the body to function at an optimal level.
Coughs & cold. Getting sick when pregnant not only makes you feel awful, but can be symptomatically worse, due to the extra fluid and phlegm production that occurs during pregnancy. It’s not advisable to take cold/flu medication, or anti-inflammatories during pregnancy, so acupuncture is a brilliant way to unblock your nose, settle the cough and relieve aches and pains without any side effects on the baby.
You’re almost ready to welcome your new baby into the world. You’re almost there. The last 10 weeks can be a whirlwind of planning, preparation, growth, and trips to your antenatal checkups. No matter where you are in the 3rd trimester, acupuncture is a valuable addition to your self-care.
Anxiety. Feeling scared, uncomfortable and stressed is a common component of approaching birth. Your sleep patterns will be disrupted, you’ll be tired, and you’ll be trying to work out how this new little person will fit into your life. Acupuncture helps to balance your emotions, releases endorphins, and reduces stress hormones. This will help your body to produce the hormone oxytocin – which is needed to start labour.
Turning your baby. Around 30-32 weeks your baby should be making its way to a head down position. If, by 34 weeks the baby is either breech, or lying sideways in your uterus, then come and have some Moxibustion. Moxa (a Chinese herb) over the little toe can improve your baby’s chances of moving into the head-down position ready for labour in 4 or so weeks. It’s best to come and see us before 36 weeks so the baby still has some space to turn.
Preparing your body for birth. Not only are you taking time out to look after yourself, but regular acupuncture can help little symptoms as they arise, and work towards opening up and relaxing your body for birth. The acupuncture works in assisting the healthy progression of pelvic ligament relaxation and cervix dilation towards your due date. Regular treatments from 36 weeks leading up to your due date are a great idea.
Induction of labour. Acupuncture can help you to reach your labour targets including cervical dilation, contraction, and pelvic release. If you are overdue, it’s best to come in as soon as possible, as several treatments are usually required.