If you are already pregnant and experiencing health challenges, call to discuss how we can help you return to a healthy pregnancy. However, if you are already pregnant and enjoying good health, you do not need to consider acupuncture until you reach the key milestones of three and six months gestation. Ancient Chinese practice advocates a single specific acupuncture treatment at both three and six months, using the “beautiful baby” point.
If you and your baby continue to bloom with good health, the next time to think about acupuncture is as you approach the birth. Weekly birth preparation acupuncture from 35 weeks onwards, will prepare you for a healthy and normal delivery
Acupuncture during the first trimester focuses on nourishing the vital energies (Qi and blood) of the mother, to create a healthy foundation for the growth of the fetus. Treatment is given to energetically nourish the mother so that her body can divert resources to support the rapid growth of the fetus, the uterus and the blood supply. There are some common signs that qi and blood are deficient or imbalanced, and that acupuncture treatment may be needed. These include: fatigue, dizziness, weakness, lower back pain and heaviness of the limbs, nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramping or spotting.
Mild nausea can be managed through dietary and lifestyle changes. However, if you are feeling debilitated by chronic nausea or vomiting, acupuncture can drastically reduce your symptoms and allow you to live a normal life.
Research shows acupuncture may reduce nausea and benefits the mother from the first treatment. Acupuncture treatment is carried out twice in the first week then weekly treatment is often enough until symptoms resolve. Specific acupuncture points are used to harmonise the stomach, regulate digestion and rebalance the body.
Besides nausea, the most debilitating symptom in the first trimester is often fatigue. Acupuncture, sometimes combined with traditional Chinese herbs or nutritional therapy, may improve your energy levels and your body’s ability to extract nutrients from your food.
Evidence shows acupuncture may provide a substantial and positive increase in energy levels for all expectant mothers. Acupuncture nourishes the mother and supports her body in safely carrying to full term, by enhancing the production of the “vital energies” – blood and qi. If there is an underlying reason for fatigue, such as nausea preventing nourishment, or sciatica preventing sleep, acupuncture may also treat the root cause of the problem.
Miscarriage may be imminent when you experience vaginal bleeding or spotting; aches and dragging in the lower back, and/or abdominal cramping. If you experience these symptoms, contact your doctor or midwife immediately. Acupuncture may be able to prevent an imminent miscarriage if given immediately. If you experience signs of threatened miscarriage, acupuncture is given twice a week for a couple of weeks, and then weekly until your pregnancy is safely established.
Miscarriage, even in the earliest stages of pregnancy is emotionally devastating, and yet it is surprisingly common. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, miscarriage is the most common form of pregnancy loss. Studies suggest that as many as 10 – 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most often these miscarriages are the result of chromosomal errors or developmental deformities in the embryo; or improper implantation of the egg within the uterus.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may reduce the likelihood of miscarriage. If you have had previous miscarriages, I strongly recommend having a course of acupuncture before you conceive to prepare your body for conception and carrying the foetus to full term
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs may help to promote blood and nutrient circulation to the uterus, nourishing the uterine lining and supporting the healthy maturation of the egg. Acupuncture also helps to calm the mother, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety, and and may lower levels of stress hormones
By the third trimester you will be looking and feeling very pregnant! During these months abdominal growth increases rapidly and with it your posture and centre of gravity will change. The ligaments begin to loosen to allow your pelvis to expand and open at the time of birth. Your baby will gradually grow to fill the entire abdominal cavity, putting pressure on your bladder, digestive organs and lungs. You may notice you become significantly hotter during these months. Commonly experienced third trimester symptoms include fatigue, back and hip pain, shortness of breath, poor quality sleep, sluggish digestion and feelings of restlessness.
With your changed posture, and the ligament softening effects of progesterone, lower back ache is very common in the third trimester. This is often compounded by hip and pelvic pain as pelvic ligaments soften, and the baby descends and engages into the pelvis. Acupuncture and moxibustion therapy (warming the needles with moxa) may help eliminate pain and restore mobility gently and effectively.
Acupuncture may be very effective in the treatment of pelvic girdle pain and hip or sciatic pain during pregnancy. Treatment is given once to twice weekly, and often there is almost full remission of pain within one to three treatments.
Turning a Breech or Posterior baby
A vital part of preparing for a natural, healthy birth, is ensuring that the baby is laying in the correct position for delivery. A breech presentation often results in a caesarian delivery; and a posterior presentation can mean a longer labour with lots of back ache.
Acupuncture has been used effectively to turn babies, for thousands of years. Acupuncture and moxibustion relaxes the muscles in the uterus and abdomen, while regulating the movements of the uterus to create the ideal conditions to encourage the baby to turn.
Around 35 weeks your head will be filled with excitement and probably some anxiety about your approaching birth. Every mother hopes for, and plans a “peak birth experience” with everything going to plan. One of the most pro-active things a woman can do to prepare for her upcoming labour is to have a course of birth-preparation acupuncture. Several clinical trials show that regular acupuncture in the later stages of pregnancy, shortens the length of labour and reduce the incidence of complications.
Cervical Ripening and induction
Acupuncture may be used to support the ripening of the cervix and to stimulate contractions leading to labour. Treatment can commence in the days before a woman’s due date, or once she has gone over her dates. When medical induction is threatened, acupuncture used daily for two or three days, may help to stimulate natural labour and either avoid or augment a medical induction.