Acupuncture can help to treat many of the common complaints during pregnancy. In the first trimester, morning sickness, fatigue, needing to urinate more than usual, constipation and emotional ups and downs are all very common. Often things quieten down in the second trimester, but then more musculoskeletal issues like lower back pain, hip and pelvic pain can appear in the third trimester. Acupuncture provides a natural way to treat these conditions as most medications and herbs are contra-indicated during pregnancy. When done correctly, acupuncture is completely safe for pregnant women. There are a few so-called 'forbidden points' that should be avoided for most of pregnancy. This is because those points can be used to help induce birth if a woman has gone past her due date, which is clearly something we don't want to do at the early stages. After you have your newborn baby, treatment can help to restore your energy levels back to normal, helping you be ready for the new and exciting challenges of motherhood!
Morning sickness can start early in pregnancy, and is a very common complaint. A good first thing to try is root ginger. For this to be most effective, you need a good strong hit of ginger, so try chopping up an inch of the root and steeping in boiling water for a few minutes (with a little lemon and honey for extra flavour if you like). When you have finished the drink, you can eat the pieces of ginger at the bottom of the cup. This will taste quite strong but is usually good enough to do the trick and keep your nausea at bay for a while. An acupuncture point that is often used is the one you probably know about on the inside of your wrist. You can buy 'travel sickness' bands to help stimulate this point, but the diagrams provided are usually less than helpful and don't give you a good description of how to find the point. We have a short video on YouTube that shows you exactly how to find this point for best effect.
As mentioned earlier, acupuncture can be used for birth induction by treating the points that are otherwise forbidden during pregnancy. The points need to be stimulated quite strongly while you are sat on a chair rather than lying on a couch. This body position is important because it makes use of gravity to help bear down and hopefully start the contractions. If you have spent ages planning for a natural home birth, this treatment could be worth a try to prevent having to go into hospital for a medical induction. Ideally this treatment should be done after 10 days overdue, but if the doctors have given you an earlier date for induction at the hospital it is advised to come in a couple of days before then.
A very interesting treatment in Chinese Medicine is the treatment of breech presentation. The dried herb moxa, which is the hair collected from the underside of the leaf of the mugwort plant (Artemisia Vulgaris), is rolled tightly into a cigar-shaped stick. It is then lit and burnt to smoulder just above a point on the outside of the little toe! The sensation is warm to hot, but not painful. We would show you in a session how to do this, then provide you with some moxa sticks that you could burn yourself at home. We recommend heating the point on each side for 15 minutes every day for a week. Best results are obtained before week 36, while the baby has more room to move around.
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