Written by Heather Rule, Prenatal Acupuncturist at Yoga Mamas
Expecting a baby is both exciting, confusing, and sometimes just plain uncomfortable as many changes start to take place within the body. One of the most effective treatment options to help with these changes is Acupuncture! By using Acupuncture throughout the various stages of pregnancy (and later in postpartum), many women are able to relieve common symptoms and discomforts associated with pregnancy, as well as prepare their body for an easier labour and faster recovery once the baby is born. Our latest blog by our Prenatal Acupuncturist, Heather Rule R.Ac, will tell you exactly how.
1. Relief of Nausea and Early Pregnancy Symptoms
The first trimester can be both an exciting and challenging time as the body and mind adjust to the new life growing inside. These first months of a pregnancy are characterized by nausea, and fatigue, as well as anxiety as the pregnancy establishes itself. Luckily acupuncture is great at treating these early symptoms, with many people experiencing immediate relief from nausea while still lying on the treatment table and leaving their appointment with an appetite!
2. Reduces Aches and Pain
With a few acupuncture treatments you have now made it though your first trimester with minimal nausea, you’ve got energy, and your pregnancy is secure. Now you are beginning to experience back pain, hip pain, sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome. No problem! Acupuncture is great at treating the many aches and pains of pregnancy with lasting results and cumulative benefits from one treatment to the next. By working with nervous pathways and muscles, acupuncture can help you body find its new normal and support the changes your body is experiencing while drastically reducing pain.
3. Help Prepare You and Your Baby for Labour
In the third trimester we begin to prepare the body for labour. From week 37, treatments are focused on helping your baby to descend in your pelvis, optimize baby’s position for ease of delivery, and soften the cervix. At this time I also like to offer instruction to partners on simple acupressure techniques they can do for you to manage pain and help the progress of labour. Research suggests that regular labour prep acupuncture as well as acupressure during labour can help to significantly reduce labour times, reduce the need for medical labour interventions, and reduce incidence of medical inductions.
4. Postpartum Prep
As part of my prenatal treatments I like to offer simple postpartum advice you can use during the week or so after the arrival of your little one to tide you over until your first postpartum visit to the wellness centre. This advice includes instruction on a gentle technique called Mother Warming that helps reduce postpartum blood loss, helps the uterus contract back to its pre pregnancy size, and helps to build milk supply. I also often offer some simple nutritional counselling for must-have postpartum foods to aid in postpartum recovery and lactation. Stay tuned for the Acupuncture for Postpartum recovery blog post next week.
5. Mind/Body Connection
Finally, Acupuncture works with the emotions to optimize vitality and health overall. This can be especially beneficial during pregnancy, specifically leading up to birth, by recognizing the connection between emotional tension and physical tension. If you want to know what I mean, try this: think of something stressful that happened to you this week, now pay attention to where you feel that stress in your body. Are you clenching your jaw? Are your shoulders up around your ears? Are you making little fists? Labour is a process that requires us to open up, let go, and definitely not clench. By working to resolve stress and promote relaxation we help the body to soften and open which is a definite benefit during labour.