Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine During Child Bearing

Here at Natural Harmony, we see patients in every stage of child bearing: pre-pregnancy preparation, pregnancy, and post-natal.

Acupressure in Labour

Acupressure, the stimulation of acupuncture points with finger pressure, is an effective and safe tool used during labour to reduce pain and help women to have an efficient labour.

When acupressure is used starting at the onset of labour, women report a reduction in their pain, combined with an overall sense of calmness and a high level of satisfaction with their birth experience.

It is recommended that the mother and their support person learn the acupressure techniques near the 36th week of pregnancy. The acupressure points are simple to learn and it is not necessary for the support person to know about massage due to the technique being so easy to learn.

The support person and mother tend to feel empowered with tools and knowledge and therefore feel more at ease entering into the onset of labour.

Pregnancy Preparation Treatments & Support

  • Planning for a healthy baby
  • Regulation of menstrual periods: heavy periods, scanty periods
  • Clearing PMS symptoms
  • Addressing anxiety and depression
  • Habitual miscarriage
  • Overall health assessment

Treatments During Pregnancy

  • Nausea during pregnancy
  • Muscular-skeletal pain
  • Breech and posterior babies
  • Hypertension
  • Labour preparation
  • Induction
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Heartburn
  • Haemorrhoids and vulval varices
  • Insomnia
  • Oedema (swelling)
  • Headaches
  • Sinus problems
  • Threatened miscarriage
  • Tiredness and exhaustion
  • Dizziness
  • Threatened miscarriage
  • Chest and upper abdominal distension with poor appetite and signing (suspended fetus)

The team is given a comprehensive book of acupressure points with their indications listed upon completion of the tutorial.
Individual sessions usually take ½ hour and group sessions are also available.

Morning Sickness

There are numerous theories as to why women suffer from nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy.
-Morning sickness is believed to be due to the sudden increase of hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) and estrogen. -High levels of stress and fatigue prior to pregnancy also affects the likelihood that a woman will suffer from nausea during pregnancy.
-Also, it is the brain stems response to the increase in blood hormones that influences the levels of nausea and vomiting that the woman experiences. Nausea is so common that up to 50 percent of women suffer from some degree of nausea and/or vomiting during pregnancy.

Caution: care must be taken when a woman suffering from severe nausea becomes weak or dizzy, experiences weight loss, low blood pressure, or notices a loss of skin elasticity. These symptoms are all signs of dehydration. Medical attention should be sought immediately.

Morning Sickness and Traditional Chinese Medicine

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, when pregnant, the woman’s body is generating more blood and qi, which accumulates in certain meridians, the Directing and Penetrating vessels. Until the fetus is further developed at three months to make use of the qi and blood, the blood will accumulate in the Penetrating Vessel. The Penetrating Vessel is connected to Uterus the Stomach meridian, causing the abnormal rising of Stomach qi which then results in nausea and vomiting. Certain pre-existing imbalances in the body may predispose the woman to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Acupuncture works to harmonize the flow of qi in the meridians: promoting the downward flow of qi in the Stomach meridian, balancing the overacting qi and blood in the Penetrating Vessel, regulating the rest of the bodies’ energy. Average treatment course is from three to six treatments depending on the severity of the case.

Things to avoid if you are feeling sick:

  • Greasy or fried food
  • Cooking – some women cannot bear the smell but are happy to eat if it is cooked for them
  • Bad smells
  • Coffee and caffeine, cola or tea – all of these can make people feel unwell
  • Routine iron preparations – some iron tablets, prescribed routinely for pregnant women, can add to the nausea and constipation
  • Brushing teeth – this can often be problematic, making some women gag. It may be advisable to clean teeth at a time of day when the nausea has abated. Dental hygiene is important in pregnancy as gum disease is more prevalent

Other dietary pointers that can help include the following:

  • Ginger has been used for centuries to ease nausea in early pregnancy, probably because it is a rich source of zinc. It can be used in cooking or in drinks, teas or biscuits
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid tea and coffee
  • Concentrated sugar (even in the form of dried fruit or concentrated fruit juice) should be avoided
  • Avoid fatty and strong smelling food, high fat junk food and anything containing lots of preservatives and additives
  • Always eat breakfast, preferably containing some protein such as eggs or yogurt
  • Fresh mint leaf tea
  • Supplement with 75 mg vitamin B6

Postnatal Treatments

Mother Warming

“Mother Warming” is a nourishing treatment given to the mother by a caregiver near to the fourth or fifth day post-birth. The caregiver or spouse is trained by the acupuncturist before the birth in the use of moxibustion.

The technique is simple to administer and will benefit the mother by strongly strengthening her vital energy. The caregiver uses moxibustion to warm specific points on the mother’s abdomen for 5-10 minutes until the mother feels pleasantly relaxed and warm.