If you are pregnant, congratulations! This is a wonderful accomplishment. If you are considering acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs to support you and your baby, you are making an excellent choice! Even for a completely healthy pregnancy, acupuncture has many benefits. There are specific treatments for different months that are said to enhance the different aspects of the baby’s spirit, and a special acupuncture point used at key times that is said to produce a “child with particularly luminous complexion who would sleep at night, laugh in the daytime, be virtually immune to diseases, or if he/she did catch a disease would heal quickly, be sane in mind, morals and body.” This child “would not have any of the poor judgment of his/her parents.” Who wouldn’t want that?! In fact, in my own observations, it seems that ‘acu-babies’ tend to be very calm, alert, bright eyed, and aware.
As for higher risk pregnancies, Chinese medicine during the first trimester is specifically geared towards preventing miscarriage, treating spotting, cramping, or slow heartbeat, among other concerns.
Additionally, there is research-based evidence that Chinese medicine is effective in treating:
· Morning Sickness
· Depression (during pregnancy)
· Pelvic and Back Pain
· Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH)
Empirical evidence and experience have also shown acupuncture to be effective for cholestasis, PUPPP, carpal tunnel, digestive problems, sciatica, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia (high blood pressure), insomnia, anxiety, and stress.
Frequency of Acupuncture
A typical course of treatment during pregnancy might be once a week in the first trimester, especially in higher risk situations. In the second and third trimesters, once a month is usually sufficient. However, the sixth month of pregnancy is “Happy Baby Month” during which specific treatments are utilized. One to four treatments are administered that month, as per tradition, to optimize the baby’s health. After a few monthly treatments, weekly treatments may be resumed around week 36 to prepare for a smooth labor and delivery and prevent postpartum depression.
I am usually available on-call to attend births if needed for stalled labor, undue pain or discomfort, weak contractions, and retained placenta, among other issues, all of which acupuncture is extremely effective in treating.
Postpartum recommendations are given, including the traditional concept of “Mother Roasting”, specific postpartum herbs to speed healing and recovery, and if needed, follow-up appointments for breastfeeding problems, mastitis, hemorrhoids, postpartum depression, etc.