Nausea and sickness during pregnancy is often called ‘morning sickness’, although it can occur at any time of the day or night. Symptoms tend to be at their most intense between eight to twelve weeks but for some women they can begin as early as their first missed period and for a few continue throughout the pregnancy until the birth itself.
Acupuncture offers an alternative to just putting up with the symptoms and waiting for them to hopefully resolve spontaneously.
With nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, treatment is usually required a couple of times a week until the symptoms begin to reduce at which point treatments can be spaced out.
Increase energy levels and help with tiredness
Women often experience fatigue and tiredness during the first trimester when their body has to cope with extra demands such as forming the placenta and hormonal changes. Tiredness can often return in the final trimester and at this stage is usually due to carrying around extra weight and, in the final weeks, lack of sleep from more trips to the bathroom and the increased difficulty of changing position in bed.
Help digestive conditions
Heartburn most often occurs in the later stage of pregnancy but can happen at any time. It is often worse towards the end of the pregnancy however as the uterus pushes up into the diaphragm and stomach.
Constipation is also common in pregnancy and as well as being produced by hormonal changes causing bowel movements to become more sluggish it can also happen when extra pressure is placed on the bowel as the uterus expands.
Haemorrhoids (or piles) occur when veins in the rectum increase in size as they become obstructed. This is sometimes due to constipation but other factors such as the foetus putting pressure on the bowel can also be a cause.The following are all common in pregnancy and can be helped by acupuncture.
Relieve pain and discomfort
Rib pain can be constant and affect one or both sides of the body and can range from a dull ache to sharp stabbing pain which is worse when taking a deep breath.
Pubis symphysis pain affects the pubic bone and can radiate to the groin and/or lower back, this usually occurs between 24 and 26 weeks of pregnancy.
Neck and upper back pain is often caused by postural changes as the foetus becomes heavier to carry and the weight of the breasts increases.
Lower back pain and sciatica is common during the last few months of pregnancy and can range from mild discomfort to extreme debilitating pain.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs in the later stages of pregnancy when there may be oedema of the hands. Some women experience numbness and pain in the thumb, index finger, middle and ring fingers.
Leg cramps occur at night often, they happen frequently in the later stages of pregnancy as the pressure of the enlarging uterus restricts blood flow.
Correct breech position of the baby
This is a simple treatment involving the use of moxa sticks on a specific point on the little toe of each foot. You will receive one treatment from your acupuncturist who will provide you with moxa and explain how to continue the treatment yourself at home, having a friend or partner apply the treatment once a day for 20 minutes for another nine days (or until the baby is confirmed to have turned).
This treatment has been shown in studies to be most effective at 34 weeks. Although it is best started as close to 34 weeks as possible some babies will still turn as late as 38 or 39 weeks so it is always well worth trying.
Acupuncture can also be given as a routine pre-birth treatment from 37 or 38 weeks onwards. The purpose of this is to promote a smooth, efficient and natural labour. Points are chosen which can help to soften ligaments in the pelvis, ripen the cervix and generally prepare the body for labour.
Induce labour if necessary
It is best to begin acupuncture induction treatment two or three days before a medical induction is planned and if necessary treatment can be given every day until that date - although many women will go into labour after just one treatment.
Acupuncture can be used in the early stages of labour to increase the efficiency of contractions and promote a labour that progresses smoothly. Acupuncture can be very helpful to augment contractions if they have slowed or stopped and can help women cope with labour pain as well as calm anxiety. Acupuncture can also be used to induce delivery of the placenta and stop excessive bleeding if necessary.
For appointments or to discuss whether acupuncture could help you please contact Pippa.