Acupuncture During Pregnancy
Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Because the benefits of Naturna’s natural therapies support a healthy pregnancy, we recommend you continue treatment with us through delivery and beyond.
“97% of women who used prenatal acupuncture reported higher overall satisfaction with the labor process”
During the first three months, Acupuncture treatments support your pregnancy and manage common discomforts like nausea, reflux, fatigue, backache, and dizziness. Acupuncture also promotes gentle circulation, stimulating optimal nutrition for the growing fetus, and helps to guard your immune system. We also use Acupuncture to calm your stress hormones so that your baby in utero is bathed in endorphins and protected from undue surges. We will collaborate with your doctors to make sure that your treatment is best suited for your unique pregnancy.
Acupuncture at this stage supports pregnancy and manages discomfort including: digestive symptoms, aches, pains, and dizziness. Care is also taken to guard immune function, reduce stress, and maintain optimal circulation and absorption of nutrients.
Acupuncture therapy in late stages helps support pregnancy, prepare for childbirth, and manage common third-trimester complaints such as back pain, sciatica, dizziness, reflux, constipation, breech presentation, and water retention. In preparation for birth we offer protocols to begin softening the cervix and opening the hips and pelvic girdle. When indicated, Acupuncture can be applied to induce birth.
Whether it’s your first or fifth, every new baby is unique, and there’s no substitute for real-life support and instruction. At Naturna, we use a combination of natural therapies coupled with coaching and education to assist you in adjusting to the mental, emotional, and physical demands of being a new mother. Naturna’s unique Postpartum Coaching can help you enjoy your first few months as a new mother in a much deeper and more satisfying way – for you and your baby.
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What we Treat
Here are some conditions we commonly help with:
Morning sickness, also known as nausea gravidarum of pregnancy (NVP) is characterized by feelings of nausea, tiredness and vomiting commonly associated with early pregnancy. Despite its name, morning sickness can occur at anytime in the day and affects around 80 percent of all pregnant women. Acupuncture has been found to be an effective alternative form of therapy for morning sickness with 71% of women reporting less intense bouts of symptoms and decreases in durations of their symptoms. Acupressure has also been known to help alleviate some symptoms of morning sickness by the application of pressure at various points of the body, such as the forearm.
Back pain during pregnancy can be due to a variety of causes such as weight gain, posture changes, the release of the hormone relaxin in preparation for the birth, as well as muscle separation through the expansion of the uterus. Back pain is generally around three areas: 1) between the back of the iliac crest, 2) the folds of the glutes, and 3) where their pelvis and their spine meet (the sacroiliac joint). Acupuncture has been shown in multiple studies to reduce back pain during pregnancy.
Pregnancy swelling, or pregnancy-induced edema, is a very uncomfortable side effect of pregnancy. While Western medicine considers pregnancy-induced edema as a normal condition, Chinese Medicine views it as an improper flow of one’s Qi throughout the body. This results in stagnation of fluids and the accumulation of fluids in the hands and feet, the most common targeted areas of edema. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are known to reduce the fluid retention and improve your water metabolism, all while maintaining proper flow of one’s Qi to prevent future instances of edema. Acupuncture, specifically on points such as SP 9 or KID7, will drain your body of the fluid build-up, or “dampness.” Nutritional intervention and herbal supplementation will also be helpful, along with a regular movement practice to prevent future stagnation, as many conditions in our body are often caused by being too stationary. It’s important to incorporate moderate exercise during your three trimesters, even as simple as walking daily or trying prenatal yoga.
Breech presentation is when the baby’s buttocks and/or feet, instead of its head, are closest to the mother’s cervix. The baby can be in either of the following three breech positions: Complete (the baby is in a fetal position with the knees bent), Frank (the baby has both legs extended), or Incomplete (the baby has one knee bent and one leg extended). All babies are technically in a breech position during their first weeks of development. When the head of the baby becomes more developed and is heavy enough to weigh itself down, the baby will naturally turn to the cephalic position. Unfortunately, there are some uterine issues that prevent the baby from turning that may cause serious neonatal complications, such as restricted fetal growth, and can hinder a healthy, safe birth. Sometimes, the placenta is blocking the cervix or is too big and occupies much of the space in the uterus, keeping the baby from having room to turn on its own. The shape of the mother’s pelvis can also affect the baby’s mobility. An abnormally shaped pelvis can alter the shape of the uterus, creating more difficulty for the baby to move around. In Chinese medicine, it is believed that the BL 67 point, zhiyin, located on the outer side of the pinky toe has a connection to the uterus, and is used to treat uterine complications such as breech presentation. The practice to turn a baby using the zhiyin point is by applying smoke of moxa sticks to the point for 20 minutes, which then triggers movement of the baby. Current research has shown that when moxibustion accompanied with acupuncture is applied consistently starting when the mother is 33-35 weeks pregnant, breech presentation at term is reduced, eliminating the need for an ECV or a C-section for many women. Patients have written us explaining how shocked they were when they felt their baby start to move every time moxibustion was applied to the zhiyin points on both feet.
It’s important to remember that there is no way to accurately predict when labor will start, even though you may see signs weeks in advance. The body begins preparing itself for delivery early, and such preparations may involve increased lower back pain, the feeling of being “lighter” as your baby begins to drop into the birth canal and your cervix widens, Braxton Hicks contractions, and the passing of the mucous plug. Acupuncture can be used as part of your preparation for labor and 97% of women who used prenatal acupuncture reported higher overall satisfaction with the labor process. In addition, women who used prenatal acupuncture reported feeling a greater sense of control and decreased anxiety during their entire pregnancy.
Labor induction occurs when it is believed to be to the benefit of mom and baby for a safer delivery and to prevent the potential of harm to either. Previous research has shown acupuncture at specific sites of the arms and legs to be a painless, safe and effective means of inducing labor in both early and late stages of pregnancy. Success rates of acupuncture induced labor range from 78 to 83%. Acupuncture has also been shown to shorten the time required to reach adequate cervical length for delivery, as well as cut the duration of labor in half, with an average delivery time of 13.1 hours for first time mothers.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, irritability, and guilt over an inability to bond with your baby within the first year after giving birth. However, this can also occur with the hormonal changes present during pregnancy. Trouble sleeping, decreases in appetite and general anxiety are also characteristic symptoms. Acupuncture can act as a great alternative treatment to various pharmaceutical medications without the fear of side effects for mom or baby. Studies comparing depression targeted acupuncture, to general acupuncture and massage have found significant reduction in depressive symptoms just eight weeks after treatment.
Congratulations! You’ve just had a wonderful new addition to your family, but now what? You’re body continues to change as it begins the process of returning to your pre-baby body. You will also experience bleeding, urinary incontinence, back and other pains. Uterine shrinkage, where after expanding to make room for your growing bundle now begins to return to its normal size. Also present are fluctuations in your blood glucose levels, urinary incontinence, postpartum thyroiditis, feelings of anxiety/ depression, and decreases in your sexuality. Acupuncture has been shown to work in combination with prescribed medications, as well as alone to ensure a successful postpartum recovery for severe urinary incontinence, pain, anxiety, depression, general well-being.
Lactation is the process of milk production and secretion by the mammary glands within the fat tissue of the breast, due to the release of the hormone oxytocin following birth. For a baby, breast milk acts as a combination of food and medicine specifically tailored to meet their needs as a newborn. Acupuncture has been shown in clinical cases to help when lactation is delayed, insufficient, or in cases when engorgement occurs. If left unchecked breast engorgement can lead to premature weaning, cracked nipples and breast abscess. Following acupuncture treatments however, new mothers often reported better milk production, and a more positive experiencing while nursing.
I am eight months pregnant. I attribute everything to the Naturna regimen of acupuncture, herbs, supplements, and lifestyle changes; they aligned my body and perspective on life.
We highly recommend Naturna as a skilled healthcare provider to our patients.
I highly recommend the Naturna regimen, which supported my ultimately successful pregnancy at 42.
Naturna saved me during my pregnancy by assisting with my sleep, back pain, skin irritations; the list goes on. I was fortunate to have a very easy delivery and I strongly believe this was a result of the preparation.
Christina is a skilled practitioner who is both professional and compassionate. My patients have experienced great results at her clinic as well as a warm and supportive atmosphere. I feel confident sending my patients to her.