Pregnancy is an exciting and special time in your life. By looking after your health and wellbeing, you are looking after the health of the new life growing inside you. It is a joy for me to provide acupuncture to pregnant women and help make their pregnancy as smooth sailing and enjoyable as possible.
The great strength of acupuncture is not only its effectiveness, but also the fact that it is totally natural, drug-free, safe for you and your baby and free from side effects, which makes it the treatment of choice during pregnancy. Acupuncture can effectively resolve or ease many of the common discomforts associated with pregnancy. But beyond alleviating specific symptoms, acupuncture can restore balance and harmony allowing you to have the best pregnancy and birth possible.
In a healthy pregnancy, I would recommend weekly treatments until week 12, twice-weekly or monthly treatments from week 13 to 35, and finally weekly treatments from week 36 to 40 to prepare for childbirth. Acupuncture treatments are highly relaxing and enjoyable, it’s a welcomed time off for you to sit back and relax, and feel confident that you are doing the best for yourself and your growing baby.
Acupuncture for Breech Baby
Chinese medicine has been using moxibustion to successfully turn breech babies for thousands of years. Moxibustion for breech treatment consists of lighting a moxa stick (mugwort herb) and holding it over a specific acupuncture point to gently warm the area. Treatment needs to be carried out for 20 min each day for 10 consecutive days.
Breech treatment in clinic combines acupuncture with moxibustion to facilitate the turning process. This will be a unique pregnancy acupuncture treatment designed to not only relax you, but also to give you and your baby the energy boost needed for an efficient turn. I will also teach you how to do the moxa yourself, provide you with sticks and clear instructions so that you can confidently continue the treatment at home.
When to come for treatment
For many women, breech position is first mentioned at 32 weeks and then confirmed at 36 weeks. While it is true that 32 weeks is too early to panic, it is not too early to be pro-active.I recommend getting in touch as soon as you know that your baby is breech. This is because moxibustion has been shown to be most successful at 33-34 weeks when there is still plenty of room for baby to turn. Also, you will need to allow 10 consecutive days for 1 course of moxa, so best to start early.Moxibustion is still quite effective later in pregnancy, so it is still helpful to come in for treatment no matter how close to your due date.
Acupuncture for Pre-birth & Induction
Pre-birth acupuncture consists of a series of weekly treatments given in the final weeks of pregnancy to prepare women for childbirth, usually from week 36 to week 40. It is an ideal method to help women prepare their body for an efficient birth, with an emphasis on preparing the cervix and pelvis for labour.
Acupuncture can really help with cervix dilation. The focus of the treatment is to have the cervix completely effaced and starting to dilate before the first contraction. This pre-birth acupuncture protocol is also designed to enhance optimal foetal positioning, and to help women build up their energy reserves.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to be well rested and relaxed before labour. Pre-birth acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment to promote a natural efficient labour. Feedback from midwives suggests that pre-birth acupuncture not only reduces the time spent in labour, but also reduces the rate of medical intervention such as induction, forceps, and caesarean section.
Dues dates generally fall at 40 weeks but a full term pregnancy can last anywhere between 38 and 42 weeks, with delivery occurring within 2 weeks of the calculated due date. However there is a medical limit as to the number of days past 40 weeks that pregnancy is allowed to continue, with an induction generally being scheduled at 40 weeks +10-14 days.
The aim of acupuncture induction is not to get the contractions started but to promote an efficient labour. I would be reluctant to perform an acupuncture induction before week 41 and would recommend booking in for acupuncture induction 2 to 3 days before a scheduled medical induction.
Acupuncture for induction of labour is only suitable for healthy pregnant women who have had no complications in their pregnancy. It is not suitable for women who suffered from conditions such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart conditions, diabetes, any bleeding or previous caesarean sections.
Acupuncture for Post-Natal Care
I would consider the post-natal period to be the 4th trimester of pregnancy. It is a crucial time when women should not only recover from childbirth, but also compensate for being pregnant for 9 months and adapt to the new demands of motherhood. It is a time when women should look after themselves and rest as much as possible. In Chinese medicine, the first 3 days post birth are considered a time of elimination. These 3 days are followed by 30 days of tonification, when the mother builds up her energy and vitality lost during pregnancy and childbirth.
Postnatal tonification treatment
“Mother warming” or “mother roasting” is a once off moxibustion treatment given 5 to 7 days after childbirth. A moxa stick (mugwort) is lit up and held over the lower abdomen and lower back to warm up these areas. Mother warming is then followed by a course of 4 or 5 weekly acupuncture treatments designed to energise new mums and help them with recovery.
The first few days after childbirth are often filled with highs and lows, with many swings between the two and the “baby blues” kicking in around day 3. These mood swings are associated with changes in hormone levels and exhaustion after pregnancy and childbirth. Acupuncture treatment at this stage consists of restoring adequate hormone levels and bringing the body and mind back into balance.
Acupuncture can help resolve many breastfeeding issues including low milk supply, engorged breasts, blocked ducts, mastitis, irritated and sore nipples. Acupuncture is particularly effective for treating insufficient lactation. It can