Acupuncture in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when many women encounter  health issues. Hormonal changes combined with carrying the weight of another (albeit tiny) person inside you can lead to a variety of problems including:

  • Morning sickness
  • Lower back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Anaemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety or depression

Pregnancy is also a time when many women would prefer to avoid taking medication as much as possible. Certain drugs such as paracetamol and antibiotics are safe to take in moderation, but many other drugs can pose a risk to the unborn child.

So if you are expecting and looking for a natural, drug-free solution to your pregnancy-related symptoms, why not give acupuncture a try?

Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy?

Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy providing it is carried out by a qualified practitioner. There are certain acupuncture points which should be avoided or used with caution, so ask your acupuncturist about their experience working with pregnant women before you start treatment.

Acupuncture rarely causes adverse effects and when it does, they are usually not serious. Some of the most common side effects of acupuncture include:

  • Temporary pain at the needle site
  • Minor bleeding
  •  Bruising
  • Tiredness or drowsiness
  • Headaches

Acupuncture for Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is one of the most common problems during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Morning sickness can actually happen at any time of day and causes nausea and vomiting which can range from mild to severe.

In very severe cases this is known as hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that causes frequent vomiting to the extent that the mother may have to be hospitalised to avoid serious dehydration.

If you are suffering from severe morning sickness and are unable to hold down any fluids or food, you should talk to your doctor immediately. However, if your morning sickness is mild to moderate, there is a good chance acupuncture could help.

Acupuncture for Pregnancy Pain

Lower back pain and pelvic pain are common issues during pregnancy, especially in the later stages as the fetus grows larger. Many women also suffer from headaches due to fluctuating hormone levels.

Research on acupuncture for lower back pain in pregnancy has shown that it can effectively relieve pain, sometimes by as much as 50%. It may also make it easier to perform everyday activities and reduce the need for painkillers such as paracetamol.

Acupuncture for Other Pregnancy-Related Conditions

There is little evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness in the treatment of other pregnancy-related conditions, but many women do find it helpful nonetheless.

Acupuncture is very relaxing, and may help if you feel nervous as your due date approaches. Some women even use acupuncture to induce labour if they go beyond their due date.

Moxibustion for Turning Breech Babies

Babies are often in a breech (bottom down) position throughout the second trimester of pregnancy, but usually turn to a cephalic (head down) position before labour. If the baby remains in a breech position, this can cause complications and a cesarean may be necessary.

Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese therapy which is traditionally used for turning breech babies. It involves warming a point on the little toe with a stick of moxa (a herb in the mugwort family) and is usually repeated over the course of several days. The treatment is most effective if carried out before week 37 of pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and would like to find out more about acupuncture and moxibustion, contact us for a chat and we will be happy to answer any questions.

 

Autumn Healthcare

Autumn is in the air, and now is the perfect time to look ahead and take steps towards protecting your health for the coming winter.

According to Chinese medicine, autumn is the season to pay attention to your Lungs and respiratory system, and you can use this opportunity to build up your immune function and prevent winter coughs and colds.

With the temperature falling and the days growing shorter, autumn is also a great time to initiate healthy habits which will keep you feeling physically and mentally strong well into the long winter months.

Autumn Healthcare

With grey skies above and a chill in the air, it is easy to fall into bad habits at this time of year. However, there are several simple steps you can take to stay well and keep your energy levels stable this autumn.

Spend Time Outdoors

It may be tempting to curl up on the couch with a blanket, but at this time of year it is really important to get outdoors and make the most of the daylight.

Take a walk during your lunch break, and use the weekends to take advantage of the city’s many green spaces. One of my favourite autumn activities is collecting blackberries and the other fruits that the hedgerows have to offer at this time of year. There is something so satisfying about gathering your own food, and these vitamin-packed goodies can be enjoyed straight away or frozen for later on in the year.

Why not take a relaxing stroll along Birmingham’s many miles of canal to dose up on vitamin D, stretch your legs and find a tasty snack along the way?

Wrap Up Warm

Autumn weather can be changeable, with warm sunshine one minute and icy rain the next. Be sure not to get caught out by carrying plenty of layers and an umbrella whenever you go outside.

According to Chinese medicine, exposure to wind and cold is one of the major causes of colds and flu. Your neck is particularly susceptible, so a scarf or hooded top is a must at this time of year. And if you do get caught in a shower, be sure to dry yourself properly afterwards. Sitting around in damp clothes is not only uncomfortable, but can also have a negative impact on your health.

Eat White Foods

Chinese medicine theory states that the best foods to protect your Lungs are white and have a slightly pungent flavour. This includes foods like onions, garlic and radish which encourage good circulation of qi and prevent stagnation.

Moistening foods are also said to benefit the Lungs, and tofu and juicy pears are ideal. Honey is another excellent autumn food due to its sweet, nourishing properties and its ability to relieve sore throats and coughs.

Get Enough Sleep

With shorter daylight hours, we tend to feel more tired in the autumn and winter. Listen to your body and go to bed when you are sleepy. This may involve adjusting your normal bedtime by an hour or two, but it will ensure that you have enough energy to carry out your daily tasks and will improve your overall health and well-being too.

Have a “Seasonal Tune-Up” Treatment

Sometimes it can take your body a while to catch up with the change of the seasons, and now is the perfect time for a seasonal tune-up with acupuncture. We will select points traditionally used to support Lung function and immunity, as well as addressing any other symptoms you may have.

Appointments are available in the multibed clinic for just £25. Contact us for more information or if you would like to book in.