Using Acupuncture Before, During, and After Pregnancy

Close up of belly of pregnant woman

We’ve discussed the wide range of benefits of acupuncture in the past, but this month we wanted to talk about a particular group of individuals who have been seeking acupuncture, and the more specific purpose that has been bringing them in. Over the last few years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of women who have been seeking out acupuncture for issues relating to pregnancy. Often they are met with success, and then don’t think to continue treatments. What many don’t know is that acupuncture has proven benefits for before, during, and after pregnancy.

One of the top reasons that women seek out acupuncture for the first time is fertility. That is not to say that men do not receive treatments for the same purpose, but women are seemingly more likely to give it a chance and we definitely see more women than men when it comes to treating infertility. Acupuncture can help with the function of the body as a whole, which can allow it to more readily accept fertilization. More specifically, one way that it assists with fertility is by regulating the hormones and thyroid functions. Women (and couples) who are going through the process also tend to become extremely stressed. It can be tedious, especially when you’ve been at it for a while without success. This added stress to the body can be counterproductive to the process, and it becomes a vicious cycle. In addition to treating the fertility issues themselves and getting the body back to a properly functioning state, the added relaxation will also aid in the process and provide immediate benefits to your well-being.

Some women experience a change right away, and find success with conception after only a few treatments. Those who do not should not be discouraged; acupuncture is a process that varies with each individual. Depending on what your particular body needs, you may find that it takes some time for it to rebalance and remedy the particular issue you’re experiencing. In fact, if you’re going the route of IVF, most professionals recommend that everybody receive a few months of steady treatment to prepare the body beforehand. Once the process has been completed, continuing treatment afterwards will help the body to accept the fertilization for a likelier chance of pregnancy.

Pregnancy itself, though a joyous time for many, can of course cause discomfort such as “morning sickness”, back and pelvic pain, swollen legs and feet, sleeplessness, indigestion/gassiness, and so on. Some are lucky to have relatively uneventful pregnancies when it comes to these discomforts, while some find that these issues reach unbearable levels. Acupuncture can help to regulate digestion and calm nausea, relieve pain, ease inflammation, and relax the body in order for you to sleep more soundly. Pregnancy is a time when women should get to enjoy the connection with the new life growing inside of them, they shouldn’t have to remember it for the time spent confined to bed. Consistent acupuncture treatments throughout the pregnancy can assist with the issues mentioned above, and more.

When the pregnancy nears its end, and the time is coming for the little one to enter into the world, there are a few issues that might arise. Most commonly we see women for labor induction, once the due date has passed and they are looking for a natural method to help the process along. Another top reason that pregnant women are turning to acupuncture is when their baby is breech. This means that the baby has not moved into the natural position for birth, and must be turned around so that their head is facing towards the birth canal. While there are many different causes for the baby to not naturally turn on its own, acupuncture is one method that can rectify this issue. We’ve seen patients who have had success after even one treatment! If you aren’t already, receiving consistent treatments in the months leading up to the birth can help lessen the chance of induction being necessary, as well as prepare the body for the birthing process. This preparation can ease the pain experienced during labor, and potentially prevent complications.

After the birth, your little one is now in the world and can be held in your arms. Not only is your life different, but your body is as well. Recovering from childbirth is both a physical and emotional process. Your organs have had to shift to make room for a growing baby, and are now beginning to move back into place. The act of childbirth itself puts a lot of strain on your entire body, as every muscle is working overtime. Those giving birth in what is considered the more natural method may experience tearing, or require an incision to be made to widen the area for the baby to ease through. Some opt for or are required to give birth via C-Section, which requires a larger incision in the abdomen. Both of these add to the strain and necessary recovery. Acupuncture treatments after childbirth help aid in the healing process, while also relieving some of the pain that you may still be experiencing.

For a lot of women the joy of holding their infant can also be accompanied by sadness. They have grown accustomed to feeling the presence inside of their body, and sometimes they can feel a sense of loss after birth. We commonly hear women inside and outside of the clinic talk about how much they miss being pregnant for that reason. For many women the sadness they experience isn’t necessarily tied to a single factor though, and Postpartum Depression (PPD) is not uncommon. PPD is mainly caused by the fluctuating hormones, and similarly to other forms of depression symptoms can include intense sadness, anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, irritability, and even difficulty bonding with the baby. Acupuncture can help rebalance your hormones, as well as treat the symptoms that are stemming from the imbalance, like those mentioned above.

Pregnancy is a wonderful experience for many women, but there is no denying that a lot goes on within your body during those nine months. Some of it is pleasant, while some of it can be uncomfortable or emotionally and physically painful. Acupuncture is a wonderful way to assist you along the way, from conception all the way through the months after birth. This wonderful article from doulaspot.com breaks it down specifically by trimester, and what acupuncture can help which during each of these periods:

http://www.doulaspot.com/2014/11/acupuncture-and-pregnancy/

If you are still unsure as to whether acupuncture is right for you, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to discuss your particular situation to help you determine if this is the course of action you wish to pursue.

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