For over 3000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has provided specialized treatment for women during preconception, pregnancy and postpartum recovery. Today this care is becoming increasingly popular and is used by acupuncturists all over the world. Pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum recovery are viewed in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a window of opportunity to enhance the well-being of both mother and baby. Conversely, if adequate care is not taken, any resulting problems may continue long after birth. Value is therefore placed on promoting preventative care to strengthen the mother and baby throughout your pregnancy as well as during the postpartum period. Chinese medicine can naturally and effectively address issues as they arise during pregnancy, labour and following delivery. Visit our acupuncture and pregnancy research section.
In General, we recommend a woman receive acupuncture once per week throughout the first trimester (12 weeks) or first half of pregnancy if there is a history of miscarriage (20 weeks) to improve blood flow and nutrition to developing embryo, reduce stress, fear, and worry, help prevent miscarriage, and manage nausea / morning sickness. Then as needed during the second and third trimesters (i.e. help turn breech/posterior presentation - optimal if done during weeks 33-36), and again once per week for labour preparation from week 36-40.
There are many changes physically and emotionally throughout a pregnancy, birth and in the postpartum period. A number of health concerns during pregnancy are considered 'par for the course' because they are not easily alleviated with western medicine. As many conventional pharmaceuticals cannot be used during pregnancy, this is a time when complementary therapies are especially helpful. Acupuncture and massage are ideally suited to treat the following conditions:
- Miscarriage prevention
- Nausea / morning sickness
- Back pain / pelvic pain / sciatica
- Leg cramps
- Stress / anxiety / fear
- Pre-Eclampsia (hypertension)
- Gestational Diabetes
- Bladder infections
- Elevated liver enzymes
- HELLP Syndrome
- Hypo / Hyperamnios
- Carpel tunnel
- Breech and Posterior presentation
- Preterm labour
Acupuncture and massage can help prepare your pelvis, cervix and whole body for childbirth resulting in easier labour and delivery. Cervical ripening consists of one acupuncture treatment per week until labour begins. Acupuncture may also provide a gentle option to encourage active labour if your baby is overdue, reducing requirements for medical induction and cesarean section.
Chinese Medicine has techniques to help promote prompt recovery after delivery. These include “mother warming” acu-moxibustion treatments, advice on diet, and the use of specific strengthening and blood building herbal formulas. Other conditions that can be helped by acupuncture and massage include;
I am pregnant, now what?
A list of basic supplements that every woman should take (*take with food, and spread out with meals);
*All available for purchase at Yinstill.
Other important recommendations (*accept all the points below as your most important job now, these are your priorities);
Which pregnancy books should I read?
Here is a list of recommended reading;
1. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn - Simkin, Whalley, Keppler
2. The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth - Kitzinger
3. Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth - Dr. Stoppard
4. The Mother of All Pregnancy Books - Ann Douglas
*Yinstill does not recommend 'What to expect when you are expecting'. Feedback on this book is that portrays pregnancy as a time of fear.
What is First Trimester Screening at PCRM?
This is a 5 part diagnostic toward the end of the first trimester of pregnancy at the Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine;
1. Nuchal Translucency
This is an ultrasound measurement of fluid between the spine and the skin of the fetal neck, done best at 11-14 weeks.
2. Nasal Bone
This is the ultrasound determination of calcium in the nasal cartilage.
3. Ductus Venosus
This is an ultrasound measurement of blood flow through a small vessel in the fetal liver.
A blood test that measures a protein made by the placenta which can go up or down in genetic syndromes and other conditions.
A blood test that measures another protein made by the placenta and the fetus
Should I work with a doula?
Yes. If you do not have a woman in your life, that lives close by, that you trust deeply, and that can be there for you whenever she gets the call, a doula is something to strongly consider when approaching labour and delivery. A doula is someone who is there for you every step of the way through your labour and delivery. They are knowledgeable about most everything you are going through, and are great support for both you and your husband or partner. In the old village, there would have been wise women around that would have been there for the labouring women. In today's reality, birth has been largely hospitalized, therefore, most often, the first birth a woman attends is her own. This can give rise to many fears that can slow and hault labour. A doula can help alleviate these fears and aid in manifesting a positive birth experience.
Yinstill Reproductive Wellness also works closely with Cherish Childbirth Care.
*Article: How massage can help alleviate common pregnancy conditions
*Article: Labour preparation, delivery, and postpartum resources
*Article: Going Head to Head with Morning Sickness
*Visit our acupuncture and pregnancy research section.