Acupuncture can be used throughout pregnancy for such problems as morning sickness or help prevent miscarriage (although not in all cases). Once the mum to be has reached 37 weeks we then see her every week to prepare for birth. Mums who have had acupuncture to assist with birth often say that it was easier and quicker. If the baby is overdue then acupuncture can help with induction.
This often starts early in the pregnancy and for some women can be debilitating. It is a very common problem and can be treated very effectively with acupuncture. In Chinese medicine morning sickness can be due to an imbalance between the liver, stomach and spleen, so by rebalancing the body the symptoms can be alleviated. For others it can be due to excess heat in the stomach, so dietary advice may be needed for example not eating hot and spicy foods for a while.
Birth Induction - Overdue Baby
Acupuncture can be used to help induce a baby naturally as many mothers prefer a natural birth and minimal use of drugs. At Beckenham Therapy Rooms we offer an induction service for those mums who are overdue or around their due dates. Acupuncture can stimulate meridians and the movement of Qi or energy. Moxibustion can ripen the cervix and encourage labour to start by increasing contractions and the production of oxytocin. The use of a combined acupuncture and moxibustion for induction is both safe for mother and baby. Many pregnant women start preparing for birth at around 37 weeks and they have noticed that their labour is much easier and not so prolonged.
Manually turning a baby can be quite traumatic for most mothers so an alternative is the use of moxa (moxibustion). The moxa stick is placed NEAR the little toe on both sides for 20-25 minutes everyday until the baby starts to turn. This procedure is then stopped and working with midwives they can tell if the baby has moved into the correct position. The acupuncturist will teach the partner how to do this procedure at home daily until movement is felt. Turing a baby after 37 weeks can be more difficult as it has a lot less room to move so ideally it should be turned before 36 weeks.
Many women whilst feeling exhilarated after giving birth, will also be exhausted, tired and emotional. During labour an enormous amount of energy is expended and blood lost. In Chinese medicine loss of Qi (energy) and blood can lead to post natal depression and a feeling of being unable to cope. With these issues in mind it is beneficial to consider a short course of acupuncture. By using acupuncture the body can be restored quickly to its balanced state, boosting the immune system and helping de-stress.
Many mothers have problems with constipation during pregnancy and the bowels do not always return to normal quickly, this can leave a feeling of bloatedness and the accumulation of toxins. Acupuncture can stimulate the bowels and help regulate bowel movements.
Breast feeding can be a stressful time for some mums and they may find they do not have enough milk to satisfy their baby. I have found that acupuncture can certainly help with this problem.
When a mother is short of breast milk it is seen in Chinese medicine as a deficiency of Qi (energy) and blood. Having gone through labour women will have expended a lot of energy and lost a lot of blood, so aftercare is really important. Mums should look after their health and not overwork as this will further deplete them. This may be easier said than done but it is really important that a good nourishing diet is maintained and adequate rest is taken. Acupuncture can help by restoring the body's balance and rectifying any deficiencies that will have occurred during the pregnancy and birth.