If you train to become an acupuncturist you may well treat women throughout their pregnancy and even their labour – in fact many people specialise in this area and there are several Acupuncture for Childbirth Teams (ACT) around the country dedicated to treatment for fertility, pregnancy and childbirth.
Unfortunately, lots of women suffer throughout their pregnancy with anything from increased tiredness and pain to severe morning sickness and vomiting. This can be extremely debilitating and is particularly troublesome if you’re trying to work or look after a young family and also unable to take medication.
The good news is that acupuncture is incredibly safe and effective throughout pregnancy and can be of great benefit to a whole host of conditions including:
- nausea / morning sickness, vomiting and heartburn
- constipation and haemorrhoids
- fatigue, exhaustion and insomnia
- musculoskeletal pain - including leg cramping, upper and lower back pain, rib pain, sciatica and pelvic pain
- sinusitis and low immune system
- breech and posterior presentation
- preparation for birth and induction
- miscarriage - recurrent, threatened or bleeding through pregnancy
A FEW CASE STUDIES
Thanks to Emily Lowe for sharing her blog and case studies with us for this section.
"The great thing about acupuncture is that it looks at your whole system to target whatever needs boosting or calming to offer relief from unwanted symptoms and set you up for feeling back to your normal self. It can help to increase relaxation and normalise hormone levels, relieve pain and muscle tension, boost energy levels and regulate the digestive system. It's genuinely pretty magical sometimes to see what acupuncture can do and so wonderful to be able to offer support for women suffering through a time they want to be enjoying."
CASE STUDY 1 - Isabelle
"I saw Isabelle* for treatment just after her 12 week scan. I visited her twice per week at her home because she was pretty much housebound with severe nausea and vomiting (2-5 times per day since week 6!) triggered by almost any activity and the smell of food. She was incredibly pale and slender because she could hardly eat or drink. She was being monitored closely by her midwife and obstetrician because she was close to needing to be hospitalised.
I used points to regulate her Stomach and boost her Kidneys. In Chinese Medicine (CM) the Stomach is supposed to send food down in the body to be further digested but this process can be disrupted by things such as weakness, emotional stress or tension – this results in food coming back up either as nausea, heartburn or vomiting. In pregnancy the energy reserves of the body are called on to help the baby grow – this is governed by the Kidneys in CM, so if there's an underlying weakness this can be exacerbated by the increased demands of pregnancy and in Isabelle's case this was one of the main problems.”
The third time I went to see Isabelle she looked like a different person – she opened the door with a big smile and colour in her cheeks – "I managed to eat dinner and I've only been sick once since I saw you!" She was thrilled and continued to respond fantastically to treatment. We didn't need to continue after the 16th week because she was almost symptom free but in previous pregnancies her nausea and vomiting had lasted all the way through to week 19."
CASE STUDY 2 - SOPHIE
"Sophie* came to see me in the latter stage of her third trimester for rib pain, heartburn and itching on her chest and upper abdomen. She had a red rash over her chest and had scratched it so hard that it had been bleeding.
I used points to clear heat in her body (in Chinese Medicine this is commonly the cause of itching and inflamed skin rashes), relax the muscles in her middle abdomen (this benefited her rib pain and nausea as it relieved the pressure on her stomach) and calm her heartburn. I also sent her home with some tools to stimulate the points between treatments and some dietary and lifestyle advice to support her.
She came back the next week reporting a huge decrease in her itching and almost no heartburn - the rib pain was still there but to a lesser extent. Over the course of the next 3 treatments she was feeling back to her normal self and had almost no symptoms remaining."
We hope you've enjoyed hearing about some of the wonderful things acupuncture can help with and the fascinating way Chinese Medicine views physiology and health.
Have a wonderful week.
*names have been changed to protect confidentiality