10 Feb Acupuncture for a healthy, happy pregnancy!
Emily Lowe BSc (Hons), MBAcC, Licentiate in Acupuncture
Pregnancy, a time for rejoicing about the creation of new life and being complimented on your radiant glow right?
Sadly, this is not the case if you’re plagued with morning sickness, fatigue or pain. Unfortunately, lots of women suffer throughout their pregnancy with anything from increased tiredness to severe morning sickness and vomiting. This can put a huge amount of strain on your day to day and family life and can be utterly incapacitating for some people.
The good news is, however, that acupuncture can be of great benefit to those suffering from these and a whole host of other pregnancy related conditions. It’s safe, relaxing and highly effective. Here’s a handy guide for those with issues in any trimester.
What kind of issues can acupuncture help with?
- nausea / morning sickness, vomiting and heartburn
- constipation and haemorrhoids
- fatigue, exhaustion and insomnia
- musculoskeletal pain and conditions – including leg cramping, upper and lower back pain, rib pain, sciatica and symphysis pubis pain
- sinusitis and low immune system
- breech and posterior presentation
- preparation for birth and induction
- miscarriage – recurrent, threatened or bleeding through pregnancy
How acupuncture can help?
The great thing about acupuncture is that it looks at your whole system to target whatever needs boosting or calming to offer relief from your unwanted symptoms and set you up for feeling great. A bespoke treatment plan can be created to get you back on track based on which stage of pregnancy you’re in, any pre-existing health conditions and what’s happening in your life that could also be impacting your health.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s natural capacity for finding equilibrium and health. It can help to increase relaxation and normalise hormone levels, relieve pain and muscle tension, boost energy levels and regulate the digestive system.
CASE STUDY – SOPHIE
“Sophie* came to see me in the latter stage of her third trimester for rib pain, heartburn and itching on her chest and upper abdomen. She had a red rash over her chest and had scratched it so hard that it had been bleeding.
I used points to clear heat in her body (in Chinese Medicine this is commonly the cause of itching and inflamed skin rashes), relax the muscles in her middle abdomen (this benefited her rib pain and nausea as it relieved the pressure on her stomach) and calm her heartburn. I also sent her home with some tools to stimulate the points between treatments and some dietary and lifestyle advice to support her.
She came back the next week reporting a huge decrease in her itching and almost no heartburn – the rib pain was still there but to a lesser extent. Over the course of the next 3 treatments she was feeling back to her normal self and had almost no symptoms remaining.”
*names have been changed to protect confidentiality
A few ways to help yourself!
- morning sickness – lots of people find benefit from ginger tea or biscuits, fizzy water, eating what you fancy little and often, using lemon or peppermint oil to inhale and using ‘sea-bands’ , take plenty of rest
- puffy ankles and swelling – keep up gentle movement (included rotating the ankles often), elevate your feet when resting, ensure you have a good fluid intake, restrict consumption of cold / raw foods
- sinusitis– diet is very helpful with this condition – cut down on or avoid mucous-forming foods such as dairy**, rich foods, bananas and orange juice – introduce pears (raw or poached), grapefruit peel in hot water and peppermint tea which help to clear phlegm
- acupressure in labour – Debra Betts has created a wonderful user-friendly guide on some very useful points to use during labour to alleviate pain and stimulate the body’s natural birthing capacities – click here for more details
- ** to ensure that you’re getting plenty of calcium you can include foods that are rich in this mineral such as broccoli, leafy greens, almonds, salmon, seaweed, baked beans, onions, bone broth and sesame seeds
CASE STUDY – Lizzie
“ Lizzie* came to see me for hip and groin pain and anxiety in her third trimester. She was in so much discomfort that she was having to get taxis everywhere and was struggling to sleep well.
I used points to calm her anxiety and stress and to relax her pelvis and hips. At the end of her first treatment when she got up from the acupuncture couch her hip pain had already started to ease.
In subsequent treatments she managed to walk to the clinic and then hardly use public transport in her day to day life. Her sleep was improved due to the decrease in pain and she even forgot that she’d been struggling with anxiety when we got to treatment number 4. ”