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Acupuncture in pregnancy

So…you’re growing a tiny human. Congratulations! That is fantastic news.

Pregnancy is such an exciting time, but it can also be a time fraught with exhaustion, nausea, aches, pains and a wide range of health issues. Did you know that Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are fantastic tools to help expectant mothers navigate their health issues? Even though your body is undergoing many changes (and growing a tiny human) it is possible to maintain a high level of health from conception to birth and beyond!

The health issues that Acupuncture can treat varies depending on how far along your pregnancy is.

In the first trimester of pregnancy (up to week 12) your Acupuncturist will focus on setting your pregnancy up to have a stable foundation. This means helping your body to nourish yourself and your baby as well as supporting the rapid growth of the baby, uterus and lining. Treatments are focused around preventing miscarriage as well a mitigating the intense early pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue/exhaustion, nausea and morning sickness. If you start feeling fatigue, dizziness, body aches, nausea, vomiting or experience spots of vaginal bleeding you may be in need of this kind of support. At this time Acupuncture is carried out twice per week and then once per week until you are through the first trimester. Chinese herbs may also be taken at this time to help strengthen the uterus and support the pregnancy.

During the second trimester of pregnancy (week 13 – week 27) your Acupuncturist will work to regulate your endocrine, digestive and nervous systems in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy. This means that they will be working to balance your hormones and address some of the pregnancy-related health complaints that you may be experiencing. These can include lower back or pelvic pain, headaches, digestive upset (including heart burn or reflux), anxiety or depression. If youʼre experiencing ongoing painful symptoms then Acupuncture may be needed weekly however most expectant mothers just need monthly tune-ups at this stage.

The third trimester of pregnancy (up to week 40) is when your Acupuncturist works to prepare your body for labour and delivery. Women generally see their Acupuncturist monthly until around week 30-32 and then start attending weekly again. This is so that there is plenty of time to prepare your body and help all the aches and pains of the later stages of pregnancy. From week 36 your Acupuncturist will make sure that your cervix is ripening and your body is getting ready for labour.

If needed, labour induction treatments will start at 39-40 weeks depending on what is happening in your pregnancy. Pre-labour prep and induction using Acupuncture gentle stimulate uterine contractions and helps the cervix to soften. This begins a hormonal process that kick-starts the bodyʼs endocrine system to release the hormone oxytocin (amongst others). This is very gentle process and what is important to recognise is that Acupuncture will not force anything to happen but what it CAN do is prepare your body so its best shape for labour.

In the fourth trimester (wait, there’s a fourth?!) many traditional cultures have preserved traditions of supporting mothers for the first month after delivering a child. In Australia youʼre expected to be back looking after your family and home within days of giving birth. In the weeks after labour your Acupuncturist is there to provide support for your mental and physical recovery. Treatments can start again as soon as your feel ready and are generally every week or fortnight for about a month. This is when your Acupuncturist will work to improve your sleep, your energy levels as well as to make sure you have adequate milk supply. Acupuncture can also offer solutions to post-natal issues such as abdominal cramping, hairless, constipation, anxiety or depression and issues with urination.

We can even provide needle-free Acupuncture for babies if needed.

If you have any queries as to if Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you throughout your pregnancy, feel free to get in touch – 0408 402 512 or info@southhobartacupuncture.com.au

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