A proactive approach
You can make the most of your pregnancy experience with the support of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. We know so much now about life in the womb and the factors that can influence a mother’s health and happiness during pregnancy. What you eat, what you drink, and how relaxed and fit you are, emotionally as well as physically, all have an important role to play, as does the vitality, or otherwise, of the various systems in your body. More and more women are beginning to appreciate the value of a proactive, holistic approach to improving their wellness and vitality, especially during such a critical time as pregnancy.
Acupuncture can be especially useful at all stages of pregnancy. Carolyn recommends that most mothers-to-be consider having it every 4 to 6 weeks as part of a maintenance program for promoting well-being during pregnancy. Acupuncture helps relieve stress, improve the blood flow to the uterus, regulate digestion, and even boost your energy levels. Acupuncture can help remedy some of the more common ailments of pregnancy like nausea, fatigue, back pain or constipation. When provided by a registered acupuncturist with specialized training in pregnancy-support, Acupuncture treatment during pregnancy is an extremely safe and effective treatment for many conditions that may arise during this exciting time. Carolyn has completed extensive obstetrical training under Raven Lang, Jean Levesque, Deborah Betts and David Bray and works closely with various midwives, maternity doctors and OB/GYNs in the Victoria area.
Acupuncture offers women the choice of drug free treatment for a wide range of conditions including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Threatened Miscarriage
- Back pain
- Pelvic pain
- Anxiety and Depression
- Restless legs
- Varicose veins
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Yeast Infections
- Skin itching and rash Breech and posterior positioned babies
- Prebirth acupuncture for more efficient labour
- Promoting vaginal births after a cesarean section (VBAC)
- Acupuncture inductions
- Acupressure for Pain during labour
- Postpartum recovery
If you are planning to conceive, it is beneficial to seek out acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments approximately 3 months prior to attempting in order to prepare the body for conception. This type of treatment is appropriate for both males and females as it takes approximately 100 days to produce new sperm and at least 3 months to re-balance female hormones and influence egg recruitment. The eastern approach views this time frame as an opportunity to “cultivate the soil before planting the seed.”
Anxiety and Depression
Pregnancy is a very exciting time, yet for some mothers-to-be it can sometimes be an anxious one too, particularly if you haven’t been pregnant before, or if you have had a traumatic birth experience in the past. Some women find that their understandable concerns about their health and the health of their baby, coupled perhaps with pregnancy sickness and hormonal changes, can increase stress levels significantly, which can have a negative impact on their relationships and on their pregnancy.
Some women will experience some form of depression during pregnancy. This can be caused by a multitude of factors, such as hormonal imbalance, relationship problems, a family history of depression, work related stress, or a history of infertility or miscarriage.
Symptoms of pregnancy-related depression include: an inability to concentrate, anxiety, extreme irritability with others and yourself, sleep problems – either too much or too little, eating problems – lack of appetite or eating too much, chronic fatigue, inability to enjoy anything, constant sadness, a fear of leaving the house or to be in social situations, or obsessive compulsive tendencies. Acupuncture and diet modifications can help enhance your mood and assist in depression and/or anxiety issues.
Pre-birth treatment involves a series of four acupuncture treatments weekly from 36 weeks to help prepare for labour. Points are used according a woman’s constitution and pregnancy history. These include points to ripen the cervix, to help position the baby in the best presentation for labour, and to promote optimal energy and stamina for women to enter into labour.
Pre-birth acupuncture helps ripen the cervix and address the position of your baby so that labour is smoother and requires less intervention. Pre-birth acupuncture can help shorten labour time, decrease the need for pain medication during labour, reduce medical interventions, and decrease labour and delivery complications.
Data on 169 women was gathered by 14 midwives as part of their midwifery practice in Wellington, New Zealand. It found that when comparing all caregivers (Midwives GP’s and Specialists) to those women who had received prebirth acupuncture there was:
- An overall 35% reduction in the number of inductions (for women having their first baby this was a 43% reduction)
- A 31% reduction in the epidural rate
- When comparing midwifery only care to women receiving prebirth acupuncture there was a:
- 32% reduction in emergency caesarean delivery
- A 9 % increase in normal vaginal births
- There was no difference in the onset of early labour in those women receiving prebirth acupuncture
Acupuncture for Breech and Posterior Position
Breech babies are ideally treated between 33 – 35 weeks gestation. The combination of Acupuncture and the burning of mugwort in a therapy called moxibustion is highly effective in helping turn breech babies. Patients are shown the moxa technique and asked to continue treatment at home with a moxa stick ( a herb that has been shaped into a cigar like stick). The moxa stick is lit and held over specific places in the body to stimulate the acupuncture points.
Once your cervix has “ripened,” and your baby is in optimal delivery position, acupuncture can help stimulate your uterus to help start labour. This is an extremely safe and effective alternative to a medical induction. It is administered at 40 weeks and preferably after pre-birth acupuncture has been completed.
Acupressure for labour
Carolyn has had the opportunity to study under renowned Acupuncturist Debra Betts. Carolyn has personally used these learned Acupressure techniques during labour at various births and has found it highly effective for pain relief as well as to help manage labour difficulties. She teaches acupressure techniques to partners, and various labour support practitioners to enable them to administer techniques during labour. If you are interested in learning Acupressure techniques, please contact Carolyn. Download Deborah Betts’ free acupressure booklet.
Postpartum acupuncture care
Postpartum care is as important as prenatal and fertility treatments. The process of delivery and child birth can often leave the mother’s body deficient as she regains her strength. In some cases, when delivery is prolonged or a larger quantity of blood is lost it becomes even more important to continue postpartum care.
Breastfeeding is often an important part of mother and baby bonding and there is evidence that mothers milk has incredible benefits for the growing baby development. If you are going to be breastfeeding it is important to eat a balanced diet for the body to produce an adequate milk supply without over taxing the mother’s body. If the mother’s constitution is deficient I’ll often recommend acupuncture and/ or Chinese herbs to supplement her care. It’s also very important in the 10th month to get adequate rest and therefore to not overtax yourself with visitors, exercising, or being away from the house.
Chinese medicine can benefit many common postpartum conditions such as:
- Breast Feeding Problems
- Insufficient Lactation
- Blocked Ducts
- Postpartum Pains
- Back Pain
- Body Pain
- Abdominal/Pelvic Soreness
- Baby Blues
- Postpartum Depression
- Uterine Prolapse
- Persistent Lochiorrhea (continues for more that 2-3 weeks)
- Urinary Incontinence & Retention
- Bowel Irregularities
- Fatigue & Exhaustion
If you are experiencing any of the above conditions, do not hesitate to book yourself in for a consultation and treatment. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are very effective and safe at treating postpartum imbalances. If you are not experiencing any postpartum issues but would like to be proactive in terms of hormone balancing and restoring your qi and blood, you may want to consider accessing monthly acupuncture treatments.