PREGNANCY

“We tried to fall pregnant for 4 years before I tried acupuncture with Amanda.  In my second cycle after starting treatment I found I was pregnant!  We now have a beautiful baby boy and I’m convinced the pregnancy and birth were easier as a result of the ongoing acupuncture treatment I had.” Anne, York

 

Acupuncture can be used to assist with a range of pregnancy related conditions, offering women an alternative to taking medication -

  • Threatened miscarriage
  • Early pregnancy supportive care
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation and haemorrhoids
  • Varicose veins and vulvar varicosities
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, pelvic and hip pain
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • Breech and posterior positioned babies
  • Preparation for a medical Induction
  • Pre-birth acupuncture to prepare the body for an efficient labour
  • Postpartum recovery

Acupuncture may also be used to ease the discomfort often regarded as just a ‘normal’ part of pregnancy.

The British Acupuncture Council has published a Fact Sheet on Obstetrics, which looked at research across the whole area of pregnancy.
http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/obstetrics.html

The most important finding was that acupuncture is safe.

BREECH, TRANSVERSE OR UNSTABLE LIE

Ideally, these treatments are undertaken between 34 - 36 weeks gestation. This is often a one off treatment with women being shown how to continue treatment at home with a moxa stick (a herb that has been shaped into a cigar like stick).  For more information please see our ACT leaflet:

http://www.actyorkshire.org.uk/sites/default/files/Breech%20Pres%20Leaflets.pdf

PRE-BIRTH TREATMENT

This involves a series of weekly treatments from 36 weeks onwards, to prepare for labour.  I choose points that are traditionally used for ripening the cervix, relaxing the ligaments, helping the baby drop into the pelvis, and building energy and stamina for the mum-to-be.  Most importantly I choose points that will help you relax, which is a vital part of starting the all-important hormone cascade that will result in the natural onset of labour.

As part of your pre-birth preparation, I will often recommend you download this booklet developed by author and acupuncturist Debra Betts: Natural Pain Relief Techniques for Childbirth Using Acupressure.

I have had personal experience of how useful these points can be during labour, and this is a wonderful resource to help your birth partner feel more involved in the process.

If you and your birth partner would like further help in preparing for using acupressure during your labour, I encourage you to book an hour long workshop with my colleague Alison Longridge who has had many years of experience teaching this course to couples.

Encouraging natural labour:

“I booked acupuncture as I was advised to be induced early by the hospital. I was 40 weeks pregnant and wanted to try natural induction. Amanda spent a long time discussing my needs and made me feel incredibly relaxed during the whole process. The actual treatment was very relaxing and I felt very informed throughout. Not sure if it was the acupuncture - but my beautiful baby daughter was born 3 days later! I will certainly be going back to Amanda for regular acupuncture, especially for relaxation.” Eve, York

POST-PARTUM

For all of the same reasons that it now so important to offer women extra care during pregnancy, it is equally important to provide extra support post-partum (after the birth).  The postnatal period refers to the 6 weeks directly following childbirth.   It is advisable to have acupuncture treatment in the first 4 weeks post-partum. This will greatly enhance the healing process and help to avoid future problems, bringing extra enjoyment into this exhausting and exhilarating period of first getting to know your baby.

The Chinese perspective has very firm ideas about the amount of care and rest that is appropriate during this time after childbirth. It is certainly a different perspective than we have here in our culture. It is very common in our western society to return to normal activities within a few weeks of birth. The Chinese perspective asks that we look to this time as one of rest and healing. Doing too much too soon can be very depleting to a system that has just undergone a very taxing experience, especially if the mother has entered into labour from a deficient position.  We understand that even further depletion puts the woman at risk of having fertility problems later or – or even a difficult menopause.

In many middle eastern cultures a new mother is given a 40 day rest period after birth, in which time she is expected to do nothing more than rest and care for the baby. Unfortunately we do not live in a society that is structured around the extended family and so this kind of care does not often happen.

The kind of nourishment that acupuncture brings, helps to promote the mother’s healing.  Emotionally the postnatal period can be very different from her expectations. The first few days are often filled with both feelings of elation and depression, with dramatic swings between the two. These feelings are expected to subside after a few days, often once the milk has come in.

Some women experience more significant symptoms and for much longer than a few days. This will eventually lead to what is referred to as postnatal depression.

Acupuncture post-partum is very beneficial for balancing the hormones and will often help women to feel more stable in themselves.  Home visits are available, as it is not recommended to travel during this time.

MOTHER ROASTING

Mother Roasting is the practice of warming the new mother to aid in recovery from childbirth and restore energy.

This takes different forms in various cultures. In Malaysia, a massage with a special stone that is heated on the fire, wrapped in a cloth and placed on the abdomen. In Thailand, the fire was at the mother's bedside, where she would lie day and night rotating her body every half an hour. In the Hopi Indian culture in Arizona, the mother was rested on top of a heated bed of sand and a sheepskin, and then covered well.

In Chinese Medicine, Moxibustion is used.   It involves the use of artemesia (Chinese mugwort) to heat, nourish, and invigorate the mother's belly following a birth in order to draw energy and help replenish the substantial loss that took place there.  The sensation of deep heat is very pleasant, and any soreness or prolapsed sensations often disperse after just a few applications.  This should take place around 3 weeks after giving birth.