In our practice we see a lot of women who are trying to GET pregnant, and acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be a very effective way to help them get there. The great thing about it is that it can be paired with western medical treatments such as Intra-uterine inseminations (IUIs), as well as with In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). However, using acupuncture should absolutely not stop there. It is something I strongly encourage my patients to continue once they are pregnant and then leading up to the birth. Here are just a few ways acupuncture can help with the childbirth process!
- Relaxes you to help your body release oxytocin
Adrenaline in your bloodstream can decrease the concentration of oxytocin, the hormone that contracts the uterus during labor. By receiving acupuncture weekly or biweekly during the last month of your pregnancy, you can help train your body and mind to experience deep relaxation. I have even had two patients who have had their water break in my office!
- Helps you stay mobile
As many women can attest, things in the third trimester can start to get…well slightly uncomfortable … acupuncture can help with some of the minor (or not so minor) aches and pains that can happen as you get further along in your pregnancy, lower back, hip and pubic symphysis pain, muscle tightness, leg spasms……
Leading up to the big day, it’s important to try to keep moving as much as you can, as the pressure from the baby’s head on your cervix releases more oxytocin, and that, in turn, can help your labor progress!
- Breech presentation
It is well known among medical professionals that there is a certain technique using an herb called mugwort, that is used in Chinese medicine to help turn babies that are not positioned head-down. Starting around the 34-35 week mark is optimal, but I have seen babies turn much later than that, so it is always worth trying if the patient is attempting a vaginal delivery.
- Reduces pain
I have had many patients come in for treatments during early labor to help with pain reduction. Helping patients with acupuncture in that early stage of labor provides an anesthetizing effect by increasing the release of natural pain-relievers in the body. As labor progresses, it can allow patients to go longer without interventions (such as an epidural) which can sometimes stall labor. Having acupuncture after childbirth (especially following a C-section) can be helpful in reducing the amount of pain medications the patients need to take to feel normal again!
- Allows you to focus on YOU
Self-care before the baby is born is so important, as many new parents would agree, and although those first few weeks are incredibly joyous they can also be overwhelming! Acupuncture before your birth is rejuvenating and will hopefully make you feel your best BEFORE you give birth. It can also be extremely helpful during postpartum for a wide variety of issues ranging from breastfeeding difficulties, anxiety, and depression.
As you can see, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be a wonderful tool for you and your baby as you get closer to your due date! Our clinic specializes in fertility and women’s health, so if you have any questions please check out our website at www.nurturewholehealth.com.
If you need help finding an acupuncturist that specializes in reproductive medicine in your area, be sure to check out this website for a great list of resources. http://www.aborm.org/practitioners/practitioners.html