Pregnancy is an absolutely amazing phenomenon full of beautiful moments and so much excitement- but it is ok to sometimes acknowledge that at times you just might not be feeling your best glowing self.
In addition to the Primary Care you are receiving in your pregnancy from a MD/OBGYN or Midwife, Acupuncture (if performed by a Licensed Registered Acupuncturist or R.Ac.) is an incredibly safe adjunct form of alternative care.
So many of my patients are amazed at the list of all the ailments acupuncture is recognized to help with; I’ll highlight some of the most common below by the trimester they might start to arise.
Acupuncture in the First Trimester
Nausea and morning sickness and subsequently or independently Heartburn and Indigestion- We all know that the first trimester can often be associated with nausea, and for some this can extend the duration of pregnancy. Acupuncture has the ability to descend qi that is rebelling in the wrong direction, therefore calming and soothing the stomach.
Anxiety-Often, for some more than others, the uncertainty of your first trimester can be a very unsettling and anxiety inducing period. This is completely understandable, especially if you are trying to be discrete, have limited support systems or if achieving pregnancy took longer than you had expected. Acupuncture is an incredible tool to calm and anchor the mind, decrease your stress response, and can even bringing on a more restful nights sleep.
Acupuncture in the Second Trimester
Constipation- This could potentially start at anytime and there are many factors to blame; be it decreased activity, hormonal fluctuations or towards the end- just the sheer weight and downwards pressure. Acupuncture can work to gently move qi or nurture fluids to encourage more frequent and comfortable bowel movements.
Sciatica- This is quite possibly one of my favourite things to treat in pregnancy- increased weight and a shift of your center of gravity are often to blame but a few special needles can provide you with some much needed relief.
Edema- If this starts to appear in your pregnancy it is always important to talk to your primary care provider first. If the edema is ruled to be purely associated with increased blood volume or as a result of having to stand/ work on your feet all day- acupuncture can help encourage blood flow and drain dampness accumulated in the lower limbs.
Acupuncture in the Third Trimester
Lower Back Pain- If you physically haven’t started to feel the aches and pains associated with pregnancy, third Trimester may be the time when the additional weight gain or stretch and strain of ligaments can give you some grief. Acupuncture is a great way to relax tight muscles and increase circulation to tight and sore areas.
Haemorrhoids- Not the most talked about Ailment in Pregnancy (or Postpartum) but unfortunately a very common one correlated to increased downwards pressure and blood flow or increased straining. Acupuncture has been known to provide a great deal of relief by raising and lifting qi and moving blood, without any localized needling either!
Cervical Ripening- Potentially one of the most commonly known utilizations of acupuncture in pregnancy is in the final 4 weeks when we can stimulate particular points to gradually ripen and dilate the cervix in preparation for labour!
Acupuncture in Postpartum
Postpartum Depression and Anxiety- in conjunction with care from your Primary Care Provider, acupuncture can be a great subsequent tool to calm an over stimulated mind, assist with increased anxiety or improve mood by raising qi.
Lactation Issues- Not generally known as a low milk supply booster but Acupuncture can nurture yin fluids to help increase production.
Generalized Muscle Tension- There is no denying that newborn baby snuggles are pretty much the best- but as the days turn into weeks the amount of carrying and lifting can really start to put strain on your midback and neck. Both acupuncture and Cupping work wonders on the aches and pains of new parents- plus you get to have an uninterrupted nap during treatment;)
About Dana Alden
Dana Alden R.Ac., R.H.N., B.Sc. HK is a Registered Acupuncturist and Registered Holistic Nutritionist practicing at Krell Wellness Centre in college heights.
Find her on Facebook.
She always accepts New Pregnancy Patients because as a busy mom of two young boys she knows how hard it can be to make time to accommodate appointments for self-care.