Please educate me.
Hi lenny ~ I use all three modalities you mentioned, but I practice acupuncture, so obviously I can speak most to that
I treat pregnant women all the time for a variety of concerns. Morning sickness in the first trimester is a big one. Mild cases generally improve pretty quickly. When I get a mama who is super nauseous and having a hard time keeping anything down it might take a little more consistent treatment to get things settled, like once or twice a week. She'll always feel better during treatment and usually for about 24 hours after, right from the beginning. For severe cases, usually after 3 weeks or so of consistent treatment the nausea and vomiting become less severe or recede completely. My mamas who have been really sick look forward to their treatments even if it is just a brief respite from constantly being on the edge of puking.
If aches and pains, sciatica, insomnia, fatigue, heartburn, constipation, hemmorrhoids, headaches, water retention or spotting become issues, they can all be addressed with acupuncture. I definitely find myself addressing anxiety a lot. Especially with women who have had previous miscarriage or birth trauma. Not only can acupuncture help settle an anxious mind and heart, it can also help encourage mama to connect with her baby if she has been hesitant to do so.
If baby is breech the ideal time to seek out an acupuncturist is between 32-37 weeks, when there is still room for the little one to flip. We use a technique called moxibustion, which involves burning an herb (moxa ~ mugwort in Western herbalism) by the outside of the pinky toe on both sides for several sessions until the baby flips. It sounds crazy, I know. But my personal success rate on this is probably 90-95%, and across the board acupuncturists report success in 70-90% of cases.
I do a lot of treatments when mamas are beyond their due dates or approaching imminent medical induction for one reason or another to stimulate labor. I only do this if labor has to start soon or else more invasive measures will be taken. Acupuncture is a gentle, non-invasive way to stimulate labor. If a woman is teetering on the edge of labor beginning but just not quite there, one acupuncture session can help nudge her right over into labor within about 12 hours. More often I might see a woman who has no signs of dilation but approaching 42 weeks gestation and a timeline imposed by an OB. In that scenario it might take several days in a row of treatment to get things moving. From wherever mama is on the spectrum of not in labor to her baby's birth, acupuncture to induce labor will move her gently further along. It will not start labor if mama and baby are truly not ready. It is extremely safe and effective.
Finally, as a doula, I do acupuncture during labor to help with fear and anxiety (in mama and sometimes partner too!), to stimulate a labor that has stalled or plateaued, to help give a boost in energy if needed, to help with pain, especially back labor, and after the birth to help stop bleeding if it is an issue.
I think it's one of the best resources a woman can utilize for relief of any pregnancy related concern because it's gentle, non-invasive, and not only is it safe for the baby, it's GOOD for the baby! It helps to ensure that energy is flowing in a way that gets mama and baby all that they need to fulfill their utmost potential.
Hope that helps!
Wow, thank you! That is exactly what I was looking for. I had considered acupuncture at the end of my last pregnancy when I was knocking on the door of 42 weeks, but I never got myself out the door to see an acupuncturist because it was so "unknown" to me. If that happens again, or if I have a breech baby or any of the other issues you mentioned, I think I will seek it out. I'm so curious to learn more.
I utilized massage therapy, accupuncture and chiropractic care through my last pregnancy, as needed. Especially towards the end, all 3 were a lifesaver!
I became very swollen (retaining water) for about the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy (DS was born at the end of July). I developed carpel tunnel, which is bad news when you work at a computer all day for your job! My feet and ankles were also particularly swollen and painful. Accupuncture was the only thing that gave me some relief. At first I didn't think it was working, because I didn't "get better". But then after NOT going for a week I realized how effective it actually was at managing the problem and that the only thing that would "fix" the problem was getting baby out! Interestingly, my accupuncturist (she practises traditional chinese medicine) was able to predict the gender of my baby (a boy) based on comparing pulses at various pulse points. Kind of cool!
I went to see my chiropractor from early on every couple of weeks, as needed, to adjust my lower back/hips which were quite sore. Sitting at my desk all day didn't help. I'm in the same line of work now (I'm an attorney), but I've made my desk a standing/sitting work station so I stand for about 4-6 hours of my work day, and sit the other 2-4, depending on the day. I'm hoping this will help my back through this pregnancy. Once standing for that long isn't comfortable, I'll sit on a fit ball.
Massage also was great for dealing with pain/discomfort (especially through my hips and back). I went to a massage thereapist every 2 weeks or so from about 22 or 23 weeks on.
So, for me, all 3 have a place and can be really helpful!
I use Chiropractic care regularly even when I'm not pregnant, so I'll stick with that for sure! I'll probably take some herbs to help tone the uterus closer to third trimester/birth. I haven't thought of acupuncture, but might try it if I have any complications.
Side note: if anyone discovers later on down the line they have a breech baby, I *highly* recommend finding a chiro who is Webster Breech Technique certified. My DD was breech at 33 weeks, went for 3 visits to the chiro and she turned! I was so relieved. It was so worth it!
After starting my chiropractic treatment, I got heartburn about 1-2 times per week! It also made me feel great all over.
Thanks, amyknits, for the tip about the Webster Breech Technique. I hope I won't need it, but it is good to know.
Lovelunarlight, how would I go about finding a good acupuncturist? And, as someone who is needle-phobic, is it something I should even attempt? I had my finger pricked once during each pregnancy and that was pretty traumatic for me.
As for herbs, my midwife gave me a nasty tasting herbal tincture after my first child was born to help me stop hemorrhaging. She also gave me a shot of Pitocin and prayed. Don't know which worked, but something sure did. And I have been trying to drink red raspberry leaf tea for general health during pregnancy. I like it mixed with decaf Earl Grey.
I'm married to a DO (doctor of osteopathy) so got tons of manipulation and cranial sacral (both of which were lifesavers with the SPD I had with DS--she used the PINS procedure to help with that) during our pregnancy with DS (when I was gestating). I did the basic prenatal and folate throughout...ginger for nausea as needed. In the last month I had prenatal massage which was AWESOME...it was super relaxing and the massage therapist was really great. DW will get cranial/sacral from a DO and acupuncture in this pregnancy as needed.