Pregnancy is a truly amazing time in a woman’s life. The body undergoes a huge amount of change within a very short period to accommodate and nurture a new life. Some women feel great the whole way through; others have various issues come up that we specialize in addressing.
As the hormone relaxin kicks into full gear, tendons, joints, and ligaments begin to loosen to accommodate the baby’s growth. This, along with many other factors such as just carrying the weight of another being all day long, can cause a variety of muscular and structural discomforts throughout pregnancy. In addition, the physiological changes can cause conditions such as anemia, high blood pressure, and fatigue.
The good news, however, is that many of these issues are very treatable with the proper prenatal care. We are here to support you during your pregnancy to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Prenatal Massage and Shiatsu
Prenatal massage can help with a huge number of common complaints, and is a wonderful way to help prepare for the birth. Sessions consist of postural guidance to reduce muscular and structural tension and help prepare for an optimal birthing posture, breathing re-education to help relieve stress on both the mother’s and the baby’s bodies as well as prepare for a calm labor, and various massage techniques targeting the pelvis and other stressed areas of the body such as the low back, neck, and shoulders.
Among many other benefits, prenatal massage can help:
- Alleviate many of the common discomforts of pregnancy (low back and pelvic pain, headaches, sciatica, fatigue, joint pain, edema, etc.)
- Stabilize hormonal levels and ease hormone-related anxiety and depression
- Improve blood circulation, getting more oxygen and nutrients to both the mother and baby, while carrying out metabolic waste
- Maintain good posture and alignment throughout the pregnancy
- Calm an overworked nervous system, relaxing both the mother and the baby by extension
- Prepare the body and mind for an optimal birthing experience
- Relieve pain safely and effectively during a time when most common pain relievers are contraindicated
- Provide nurturing, healing touch during an emotional and sometimes trying time
Acupuncture is a very safe and effective treatment for many of the stresses and discomforts of pregnancy. It’s a well-known remedy for morning sickness, but can handle many other uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms as well, such as:
“Morning sickness” — Getting acupuncture early in pregnancy can help prevent morning sickness altogether. Chinese medicine sees morning sickness as an imbalance of the Chong Mai (衝脈), also known as the “Sea of Blood.” Studies have found that acupuncture cuts down on nausea and vomiting and encourages a healthy appetite during pregnancy.
“Threatened miscarriage” — Chinese medicine has centuries of clinical observation and successful treatment of what it terms Restless Fetus (bleeding and cramping during pregnancy) and Fetal Dripping (bleeding during pregnancy). As long as the fetus is not miscarrying because of chromosomal abnormalities that would make it difficult for the baby to survive outside the womb, Chinese medicine can help maintain a pregnancy that is threatening to miscarry.
“Small for gestational age” — Sometimes a woman is told her baby is not growing as it should. In this case we can use Chinese medicine and nutrition interventions to support both mother and baby. Acupuncture can boost blood flow to the placenta, and herbs and nutrition can provide the extra nutrients the baby needs.
An acupuncturist trained in obstetrical care can help alleviate the following symptoms and conditions during pregnancy and delivery: