Pregnancy Care

pregnancy care

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a safe and natural treatment for pregnancy care. Throughout your pregnancy, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can provide your mind and body with the extra support it needs. We specialise in conception care, morning sickness, pelvic, back and neck pain, sciatica, relieve stress, sleeping problems, delivery preparation and correction of breech presentation.

conception

One of the main areas of concern is to establish the right environment for the embryo to latch onto the lining of the uterus and grow. To reduce the chance of miscarrying, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can provide the nourishment that is needed to sustain a healthy embryo and reduce the chance of miscarriage.

There are several different types of miscarriage that can occur. Possible signs of a miscarriage may be associated with but is not limited nor dependant on vaginal bleeding, cramping in the lower back and abdominal area. It is most common for a miscarriage to occur during the first trimester, but it can also occur later within the pregnancy.

Within the TCM spectrum the pattern of diagnosis varies, but it’s easy to understand. Put simply, on the female’s part, if the body does not have sufficient energy levels (Qi), it can be difficult for the womb to secure the foetus long-term. Some characteristics which can indicate an increased likelihood of miscarriage include symptoms like, a history of heavy menstrual cycles, bright in colour and being anaemic. Among other variables, the chances of the body miscarrying is higher due to the body constitution not being strong. In these circumstances, to help maintain a healthy foetus, nourishing one’s Qi is vital. To help secure the foetus, TCM offers acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbs which are to be administered before conception and during the early stages of pregnancy.

It’s important to keep in mind that a miscarriage can still occur even when couples are conscientious with their conception care. As devastating as it is to miscarry and difficult to come to terms with, often a miscarriage occurs because of nature’s way. It is something that is out of the couple’s or any medical practitioner’s hands to prevent from occurring.

morning sickness and acupuncture

Many expecting mothers suffer from the symptoms of nausea and vomiting early within their pregnancy. It usually starts at the 6 week mark and ends approximately at 16 weeks, but can continue throughout all 3 trimesters. More than 50% of pregnant women will suffer from morning sickness. The degree or nausea can vary where the nausea is persistent throughout the whole day without vomiting or it can be the other way around. Continuous vomiting can lead to the mother being hospitalised due to dehydration and needing an intravenous drip in order to maintain body fluids and receive medication such as Maxalon and Zofran.

The possible causes of morning sickness could be because of high levels of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) and oestrogen. Stress and fatigue may also be contributing factors. Most pregnant women are very hesitant to take any form of prescribed or over the counter medication for their morning sickness. Acupuncture is a good natural alternative.

Naturally, digestion moves in a downwards direction. In TCM terms, when our digestion moves downwards it is a harmonious flow of Qi (essential energy) and food. During pregnancy the natural downward flow of Qi in the stomach is interrupted causing the stomach to send its energy in the opposite direction. Here the Qi is rebellious which causes nausea and vomiting. Acupuncture points are used on the legs and arms to redirect the movement of your rebellious Qi back in a downwards direction, relieving the symptoms of nausea and vomiting.

pelvic pain and acupuncture

As a woman’s pregnancy progresses hormones such as Relaxin and the growth of the baby within the womb create a lot of movement and pressure within the pelvic cavity, often causing pain in the sacroiliac joint, pubic symphysis and lumbar region. During the later stages of pregnancy pubic symphysis separates in order to allow easier passage for delivery and in response to the separation inflammation and pain occurs. This pain can lead to difficulties in walking and in extreme cases to the point of needing hospitalisation or analgesics.

Acupuncture can interrupt the pain signals and stop the pain from getting progressively worse by harmonising the flow of Qi (energy) and blood in the Liver channel. In Chinese medicine, the Liver nourishes the ligaments and tendons between joints and in turn can sooth painful connections within the pelvic cavity during pregnancy.

A research trial conducted in 2005 (Elden et al., British Medical Journal), involved 386 pregnant women to compare three treatment methods for pelvic pain. 1) standard treatment using a pelvic belt and exercise; 2) specialised physiotherapy stabilising exercises; and 3) acupuncture. Results showed that acupuncture combined with the standard treatment reduced sacroiliac and pubic symphysis pain far more then specialised physiotherapy and standard treatment alone.

delivery preparation and acupuncture

To prepare the body for delivery, acupuncture treatments can be received up to 3 weeks prior to the due date. The aim of the treatment is to prepare the cervix and the pelvis for labour. To assist with optimal positioning for delivery and decrease pain, acupuncture points are used to relax and soften ligaments and aid in cervical dilatation. In turn, acupuncture can then also assist with reducing the duration of delivery.

breech presentation

Within the theory of TCM the kidney yin nurtures the growth of a foetus. The Kidney yang takes over when the baby reaches full maturity and is ready to move into the correct position for delivery and allow labour to occur. Yin is quiet, slow and nurturing while yang is vibrant, loud and moving.

If the baby is not moving in the final weeks of pregnancy and is in a breech position we say the Kidney yang is not working effectively. Here, the treatment of moxibustion or acupuncture is used to stimulate the Kidney yang to help the baby move into the correct position. It’s best to receive the treatment as close as possible to the due date, but can be administered as early as 38 weeks.

Research has found that 75% of woman with breech presentation experienced a successful correction of the position of the foetus before childbirth after receiving specialised moxibustion treatments (Journal of American Medical Association, 1998). Another study confirmed that moxibustion stimulation of acupuncture points is effective in correcting breech positioning (American Journal of Chinese Medicine, in 2000).