Chinese herbs and acupuncture are a natural treatment option during pregnancy.
While pregnancy and birth are a natural process, our bodies may not be in balance. We can experience a number of health complaints during each trimester as the baby evolves. It is common knowledge in the birthing world that the benefits of acupuncture pre-birth can assist in ripening the body for labour bringing about a more efficient labour with fewer interventions. However, there are many other benefits acupuncture and Chinese herbs may give throughout the whole pregnancy.
First Trimester (1-3 months)
The first three months is a fragile time. There are many physiological changes taking place in the woman’s body. The most common complaint in the first trimester is morning sickness. It can be successfully treated using acupuncture points in the hands and feet. A herbal prescription may also be given to help any imbalances in the body and help to build the strength of the pregnant mum’s body.
Chinese Medicine practitioners are trained in differential diagnosis – what is causing the imbalance and how to remedy it. For example, ginger, lemon and honey tea is a generally a great remedy for morning sickness, however for some women this will exacerbate their condition.
Acupuncture is often used to help alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness. If you are not keen on acupuncture, there are other needle-free treatment methods that can be used to treat it.
Morning sickness varies from woman to woman and from pregnancy to pregnancy. Some women do not suffer from it, whereas other women find it extremely debilitating. Onset usually occurs around 6 weeks; it may last until the first trimester, or even until the end of the pregnancy.
Before treatment for morning sickness, a health history is taken, and a Chinese medicine diagnosis and treatment plan is made. For some women it may only be a couple of sessions, for other women, more treatments may be required.
The best time to start treatment for morning sickness is when you are 4 weeks pregnant, before morning sickness starts.
During the first trimester miscarriage can be a common occurrence.
Some miscarriages however are preventable if it is weaknesses in the women’s body that creates the inability to hold a pregnancy. It may be from a number of causes and the Chinese medicine practitioner will make a diagnosis and prescribe certain acupuncture and/or herbal protocols to attempt to prevent miscarriage. There are herbs and acupuncture points that stop bleeding during pregnancy along with complete bed rest.
However some pregnancies are not viable and in such cases miscarriage will happen regardless of an intervention.
Third Trimester (6-9 months)
The last trimester of the pregnancy is when the growth of the baby can cause discomfort in the mother. This may include pain, swelling of the hands, feet and ankles, constipation, varicose veins, and fear and anxiety of the birth.
At 34 weeks if the baby is in the breech position it is the ideal time to start acupuncture and moxa home-treatments.
Pre-birth acupuncture starts at 36 weeks. The aim of pre-birth acupuncture is to ripen the cervix and pelvis for labour and to attend to any other complaints the pregnant mum may have as the growing baby puts pressure on her body.