Have you considered acupuncture as part of birth preparation? Acupuncture and other forms of Chinese medicine can help expecting mothers manage stress, improve energy and stamina, and prepare for birth. By readying the cervix and uterus, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can increase the likelihood of an uncomplicated vaginal birth, decrease the average amount of time a mother goes past her due date, and decrease the average duration of labor. Chinese medicine can also optimize conditions in the mother which allow a breach baby to turn. Finally, acupuncture and other Chinese medicine methods can gently induce labor.
Practitioners of alternative medicine in Portland take a holistic approach to pre-birth care. They often recommend Chinese medicine practices such as herbal support, massage, and dietary therapy in addition to prenatal acupuncture. These therapies are used to resolve imbalances that are associated with problems of childbirth and postpartum. This well-rounded, individualized health approach supports women to achieve the best possible pre-birth condition for optimal labor and birth. Healthcare providers at Heart Spring Health believe in collaborative care, and are happy to consult with other team members on individual patient concerns. Let’s explore how acupuncture and other forms of Chinese medicine can help mothers ready themselves for labor and birth.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing art that uses very fine needles to improve the flow of qi, or life force energy, throughout the body. An acupuncturist’s intimate familiarity with the body’s energy channels, or meridians, allows her or him to boost the patient’s health by carefully placing acupuncture needles to eliminate energy blockages. An acupuncture session may address physical issues, emotional conditions, or spiritual concerns, as this healing approach recognizes all aspects of each individual. As in all traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncturists aim to balance yin (passive) and yang (active). Typically, acupuncture is not painful. Acupuncture specialists in Portland may also use non-needle therapies that use but small metal tools to very gently brush, tap, and press on points and channels. Years of modern research have demonstrated the efficacy of acupuncture.
Acupuncture and Pregnancy
Menstruation stops during pregnancy, leading to the accumulation of qi and blood in the uterus. During this time, the spleen is taxed, as it must provide blood and qi for a healthy pregnancy. Qi and blood may become deficient as the body uses its resources to grow a baby. The kidney lends its yin essence to the development of the fetus and the liver blood nourishes the uterus. This shift in organ function may manifest as heat in the body. Expectant mothers may feel warmer as a result. As a result of these changes, they may experience excessive thirst, flushing, irritability, hypertension, fatigue, anemia, headaches, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, night sweats, anxiety, constipation, and/or heartburn. Qi and blood stagnation may cause additional symptoms including acid reflux, shortness of breath, numbness, pain, depression, pain, numbness, swelling, hemorrhoids, vulval varicosities, and varicose veins.
How can acupuncture benefit me during pregnancy?
Acupuncture helps regulate and support the energy of the organs and the associated channels. It alleviates common symptoms of pregnancy listed above. If you are overdue or need to be induced early, acupuncture can be a highly successful induction method that minimizes side effects. Moreover, with acupuncture, contractions usually build slowly, rather suddenly, as with the intense contractions of medical inductions. This gentle entry into labor reduces the mother’s pain and stress, often allowing for a vaginal birth. It’s not unusual for a woman to begin spontaneous labor after just a few daily acupuncture treatments, allowing her to avoid medical induction altogether.
What can I expect during prenatal Portland acupuncture sessions?
Women looking for alternative medicine in Portland for birth preparation should plan to meet with an acupuncturist by early in their third trimester and plan to meet weekly from week 34 until delivery. Treatment should begin right away in the first trimester if there are any diseases or discomforts or if there is a history of difficulty with pregnancy or childbirth.
This allows time to build a supportive therapeutic relationship and creates ample opportunities to explore, discuss and clarify how acupuncture might be useful in the later stages of the pregnancy for you as an individual. Several visits to your local Portland acupuncture clinic also allow time for your acupuncturist to develop a relationship with other care providers if needed.
The aim of treatment is to gently and progressively optimize the mother’s energy and blood circulation in her lower abdomen as the birth approaches.
Additional points are added to help soften and relax the ligaments and tendons and assist the baby to engage, laying the foundation for the safest, most efficient birth possible. Additional acupuncture points may be included to specifically address symptoms if they are present such as swelling, fatigue, heartburn, anxiety, sleep difficulty, tiredness, and back pain.
If you are interested in pre-birth acupuncture, contact our Portland natural health clinic. Our collaborative team has eased pregnancy symptoms for many women through acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage, and needle-free shonishin. Whether your goal is to lessen pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum difficulties or induce labor, our team is here to help.