You may have heard that acupuncture is beneficial for infertility but did you know that it supports a healthy pregnancy, facilitates birth and enhances postpartum recovery as well? It’s true, acupuncture is your ally throughout pregnancy!
In the first trimester many women suffer from morning sickness, heartburn, fatigue, and occasional discomfort due to the changes beginning to unfold in their bodies. Acupuncture is wonderful at relieving all of these symptoms. Even more importantly, it helps the woman carry the baby safely to the second trimester and reduces instances of miscarriage.
During the second trimester many women experience a relief of the above symptoms and feel that sweet “pregnancy glow.” Unless they have an acute need for acupuncture or they are “at risk” pregnancies, women tend to enjoy this period of time and need less regular care. “At risk” pregnancies that would benefit from acupuncture include those with high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and those who have experienced recurrent miscarriage, among others.
In the third trimester the woman’s body is experiencing an immense amount of change as it prepares for birth. This is often the most uncomfortable time. Their expanding bellies begin to cause pain in the lower and upper back, hips, and pelvic area. Women also tend to experience insomnia due to the discomfort of restless leg syndrome, having to urinate frequently, or pain. Acupuncture has excellent results in treating all of the above symptoms.
In preparation for labor it is important that the baby is positioned correctly (head down) and not breached (any other position). Acupuncture is beneficial in combination with moxa, an ancient Chinese modality of heating acupuncture points with mugwort. This is one of the most powerful ways to flip a breached baby into the correct position.
Once the baby is head down and the woman is nearing the last month of her term we begin to focus on the birth. Weekly acupuncture is wonderful for preparing the body for birth and helping labor go as smoothly as possible. There are clinical studies proving that weekly acupuncture prior to birth helps facilitate shorter labors and increase healthy births with less medical intervention (i.e. ptosis, cesarian section).
Postpartum care is essential to the recovery of the mother and therefore the health of her infant. It is often overlooked in modern day culture but in ancient China they had many practices including diet, herbs, rest, and acupuncture to help restore the woman’s strength and vitality. Herbs and acupuncture are also great for enhancing lactation by increasing milk production and flow.
Also published on Medium.