Usually in the first trimester of pregnancy, we take a 'less is more' approach and allow nature to take it's course as much as possible. There are some ways though in which acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treatments can be helpful:
- So called 'Morning Sickness' - This can range from very mild nausea from time to time, to extreme nausea and vomiting at all times of the day or night including the experience of dizziness and vertigo. For mild Morning Sickness, weekly treatments can be sufficient to help relieve the symptoms, but for more extreme cases, treatments may need to be daily, or every other day for a week or more in order to be effective. There are some simple herbal formulas that can also be taken to aid the process.
- Prevention of recurrant miscarriage - For some couples, it is not difficult to become pregnant, but there may be difficulty in maintaining the pregnancy beyond the first trimester. This can be a traumatic experience, and in this case, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be used in order to help to support and maintain the pregnancy. This treatment can also be used with women who are over 38 years of age who wish to do everything they can to ensure that their pregnancy reaches it's full term.
The second trimester is all about maintaining optimum health. During this phase of the pregnancy, traditional methods of diagnosis are used in order to identify any patterns of disharmony that may be present, which can be unique to each individual. Appropriate treatments are then applied in order to nourish and maintain both the mother and the developing child, helping the mother to feel comfortable and energised.
In Chinese Medicine, the development of the fetus is very much governed by the Chinese 'Kidney' which according to the paradigm of Chinese Medicine is responsible for the process of conception, growth, development and birth of the child. Treatments at this stage will often include nourishing techniques for the Kidney along with other aspects such as Blood and Vital Energy (Qi).
The third trimester is the moment where everything comes together! At the beginning of this phase, we continue in much the same way as in the second trimester, but we may also see various common conditions arise:
- Lower back pain
- Low energy
Towards the end of the third trimester, we begin a specialist set of treatments:
- Pre-Birth Preparation (37-38 weeks until delivery) Research shows that routine pre-birth acupuncture treatments from 37-38 weeks until delivery can make labor itself more efficient and is a standard practice in some German hospitals. It is also possible that pre-birth preparation treatments such as these can reduce the need for induction treatments later.
- Labour Induction Treatments Acupuncture can be used as a 'first port of call' if there is a possibility of a medical induction of labour being necessary. Medical induction treatments can be intense and if they can be avoided it is better. Acupuncture induction treatments are usually given consecutively on the 2-3 days prior to a scheduled medical induction.
- Instructions on the use of acupressure points to relieve pain during labour During this stage of pregnancy, we offer instructions and materials to the birthing companion of the mother-to-be so that they can help to relieve pain during labour and also to try to speed up the labour if it is slow.
Post-Birth Rejuvination Treatments
Throughout the whole process of conception, growth, development and finally birth, the body goes through immense changes, all of which consume a great deal of energy and resources. It is largely for this reason that after giving birth, some mothers may feel tiredness, lethargy and post natal depression, as well as all of the aches and pains from the sheer mechanics of it all!
For these reasons, it is important not to neglect the post-birth phase of the pregnancy in order to regain optimum health and wellbeing. These will most often be nourishing and mood-regulating treatments that help to strengthen and balance you as you step into the next chapter of your life.
Betts, D (2006). "The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth". Journal of Chinese Medicine Ltd. 139-147
Kubista E, Kucera H (1974). "Uber die Anwendung der Akupunktur zur Geburtsvorbereitung", Geburtshilfe Perinatol: 178, 224-9