Pregnancy... the wonderful time when your body changes in ways that you didn't even know possible. For some women this is a joyful time and they pass through the months with relative ease. For others it can be a struggle at different times or even throughout their whole pregnancy. Good news! You probably didn't know all the things that acupuncture is able to treat to make this experience easier, and I'm going to share them with you. Here's a list of some of the more common things we use acupuncture for during pregnancy:
Nausea & Vomiting
Although they call it "morning sickness," it can happen at any time of day or night. Women may experience morning sickness in different ways. There are specific acupuncture points on the body to relieve nausea and vomiting based on your symptoms. Here's a link to a previous blog I wrote about acupuncture and morning sickness.
Acupuncture is effective in treating many digestive disorders, including acid reflux or heartburn, which is common for women who are later in their pregnancy.
Low back pain, sciatica, pubic, hip, and leg pain usually respond well to acupuncture treatment. Pretty much any pain experienced during pregnancy, we can treat.
This is another common occurrence during pregnancy. It's usually seen later on due to swelling in the hands and wrists. Acupuncture can help ease the discomfort and can help to reduce swelling..
Anxiety & Depression
Hormonal changes at this time are going to have an effect on emotions. For some women, however, these feelings become overwhelming, resulting in consistent or frequent periods of anxiety or depression. Acupuncture treatment can be a tool to help you navigate this time.
There are a variety of reasons why women find it difficult to sleep soundly during pregnancy. Nausea, heartburn, frequent urination, stress, or just finding it hard to get comfortable are some of the reasons you might not get the best nights rest. With acupuncture, we can address some of theses issues. Acupuncture also calms the nervous system which gives patients better sleep in general.
Fatigue can be a real problem for some women in the beginning of pregnancy. Not surprising since the body is forming a placenta and going through vast hormonal changes. If there's a disharmony in the body that is causing fatigue or exhaustion, acupuncture can help correct it.
A very common occurrence during pregnancy as well as postpartum. There are acupuncture points that actually help your body resolve hemorrhoids and acupuncture can treat underlying conditions such as constipation which might be contributing to them.
Acupuncture can help to turn a breech baby. Burning an herb near a specific acupuncture point (we call it moxibustion) encourages the baby to turn to a head down position. For a little more information on this, click here.
Mild edema is considered normal in the later part of pregnancy, but it can get pretty uncomfortable for some women. Acupuncture can help reduce fluid retention.
Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
When treated at the initial stages, positive changes are achievable with acupuncture so that the body may normalize and allow women to progress naturally through their pregnancy. It is very important that they be monitored by their midwife or doctor alongside acupuncture treatment.
I like to start weekly treatment in the weeks leading up to labor starting at week 36. Research has demonstrated that the average duration of labor of women who had received prebirth acupuncture was reduced by a few hours compared to the group who had not. It was also observed that these women had reduced rates of medical intervention during delivery.
Besides this list of pregnancy related issues, women who are pregnant seek out acupuncture for unrelated ailments such as allergies or migraine headaches, because acupuncture is a noninvasive, safe, and natural form of treatment. Many medications are safe during pregnancy, but there are some that are not.
I think, if you're carrying a little human life, you deserve some extra care, and acupuncture can be quite comforting. Plus, taking care of yourself is taking care of your baby, too! If you live in the Austin area, and would like to explore acupuncture as part of your prenatal care, book an appointment today!