We can see a very strong cultural commitment to have healthy children among the Chinese if we look back at their ancestral worship which has been a strong tradition throughout Chinese history. Because of this, Chinese medicine, over the centuries, has developed extremely effective therapies to aid couples in getting pregnant and make them experience uncomplicated and healthy pregnancies.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) of which acupuncture is a very important part of concentrates on maintaining or restoring the natural and healthy flow and balance of Qi (pronounced as chee) or vital energy which exists inside the body. We need Qi for the proper functioning of all of our physiological processes and organs, including reproduction. Qi brings about proper healing and health, the potential for life, physiological efficiency and structural stability and integrity.
Qi uses energy pathways called meridians to circulate all over the body and bring much needed energy and nutrients to every area of the body. According to TCM, a person is believed to be in good health when his/her Qi flow is unhindered, is in balance, and when it flows in sufficient amounts and in the right direction. A deficient, blocked, or imbalanced Qi flow will result in disease, discomfort, and pain.
To augment the amount of Qi or restore its normal unimpeded flow, acupuncture needles are used. These needles are inserted into points in the body wherein meridians are located underneath. The needles have the ability to correct imbalances, boost Qi, and normalize energy flow restoring harmony within and healing the maladies of the body.
A very safe and natural way to alleviate many of the symptoms of pregnancy, acupuncture can also help lessen or neutralize the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs and is itself free of any side effects associated with these drugs. Usually, medications are contraindicated during pregnancy anyway so this means that acupuncture can be a way to help pregnant women get through their pregnancy problems safely.
Acupuncture Treatment Can Lead to a Healthy Baby and Mother
During pregnancy, a once or twice a month acupuncture treatment can be important for both the mother and baby. It can guarantee excellent health of the unborn child at different stages of its development and of the mother. Also, it can treat and prevent the rise of symptoms associated with pregnancy.
An acupoint known as the “the beautiful baby point,” is always used to help the fetus build blood, lower anxiety, and calm the mind. This acupoint is also known as the K9 or Hsu bin and is found at the lower leg on its inner part.
Weekly treatments are highly advised when the mother reaches her last 4 to 6 weeks of pregnancy. This is to prepare both the baby and the mother for labor. A typical session lasts for thirty to forty five minutes. The needle insertion may cause a mild or heavy sensation but no pain on the point of insertion.
There are women who may be suffering from pre-existing medical conditions. These conditions may aggravate during pregnancy. Fortunately, acupuncture can also address this issue. This treatment is an excellent alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for pregnancy-related problems since it is natural and effective.
Acupuncture for Pregnancy-Related Symptoms
Bleeding, migraine headaches, anxiety, fatigue and other symptoms that come with pregnancy can be addressed with acupuncture. This also includes morning sickness that is commonly experienced by pregnant women during their first trimester.
Hemorrhoids, constipation, heartburn, sinus congestion, and stress are common symptoms seen in women in the second trimester of pregnancy. They can all be resolved with acupuncture. Excessive weight gain, increased blood glucose levels, and edema are the other more serious second trimester symptoms that acupuncture can treat but since these health problems are potentially dangerous, pregnant women suffering from any of these conditions should be monitored by their doctor or by a western-trained midwife.
For some women, the third trimester of pregnancy would bring about symptoms such as carpal tunnel syndrome, joint pain, pelvic pain, back pain, and sciatica. Without the need for medications, these symptoms can effectively be treated with acupuncture. This is verified by a recent study featured in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In the study, it was seen that when combined with conventional Western treatment, acupuncture was extremely effective compared to standalone Western standard treatment in alleviating mixed back/pelvic pain during pregnancy.
Weekly treatments may be required if the symptoms are severe in order for the woman to manage well during a difficult period of her pregnancy.
Special acupuncture points will be included in the treatment at the start of the 32 – 34 weeks of pregnancy. This is to position the baby in the proper head-down position when the time of delivery arrives. The number of treatments may be also increased at this point in time. This means weekly sessions in order to ease labor and facilitate delivery.
Preparing for Childbirth
Acupuncture is a very good way to facilitate the natural processes in the mother’s body especially when she is about to deliver her baby. It can calm her anxiety, boost the flow of Qi in her body, tonify her Qi, and alleviate her stress. Acupuncture promotes a health delivery and adds to her chances of going into labor in a natural way.
Post-partum Recovery Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture can aid in the recuperation process of the mother after she has delivered her child. If the mother underwent a Cesarean section, acupuncture can heal the incision and speed up recovery from the surgery. It can also block the pain in the perineal region, heal backache, and stop discharge and bleeding.
Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are both able to regulate Blood and Qi flow in the stomach and also boost milk production. They also can help aid and prevent mothers from suffering post-partum depression. We can see acupuncture can still be very important in the health of the mother even if she is busy tending to her newborn.
Pregnant women should consider getting acupuncture to help get them through their pregnancy well. This treatment is helpful in ensuring a healthy mother and baby and to resolve symptoms associated with pregnancy and pre-existing conditions. Acupuncture is a great way to experience a healthy and relatively easy pregnancy, a smooth, natural and easy labor and delivery, and fast post-partum recuperation.
Kine Fischler is a licensed acupuncture physician and the clinical director of Willow Tree Wellness Clinic in Portland, OR.