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Acupuncture & Pregnancy: What You Need to Know


Photo Credit: @brookearitchie

During your second trimester, energy levels usually start to come back up and your body starts to feel pretty healthy. However, every pregnancy is different and acupuncture is a tool that can help to rebalance your body’s meridians and qi, or energy, alongside modern medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the root of all diseases and disharmonies arise from blockages of qi and acupuncture works to target and unblock specific points on these meridians. This creates a free-flow of energy throughout the body, thus reducing unpleasant symptoms that might emerge from imbalances. Some of the most common ailments that acupuncture can help with during your second trimester are GI issues like heartburn, nausea and constipation, pregnancy-induced hypertension, back pain, hemorrhoids, and mild cases of edema.

Heartburn

Heartburn is a common symptom during pregnancy. The burning pain is worse when you’re lying down, which is usually when you’re trying to get those precious Zs. In TCM, if you’re experiencing heartburn this tells an acupuncturist that your stomach’s qi is not functioning properly and can be viewed as two main disharmonies:

  • Food Stagnation: Feeling full and painfully distended in the epigastrium, or upper abdominal. Experiencing frequent burping, acid reflux, or even throwing upright after meals. 

  • Stomach Fire Blazing: Which feels like it sounds, a burning, hot sensation in the epigastrium. You might have a strong craving for drinking cold fluids.


Constipation

You might be feeling more backed up than usual right now. There are a few different ways your acupuncturist might go about treating sluggish bowels depending on your underlying symptoms. In addition to acupuncture, try increasing your fresh and dried fruit intake, especially ripe bananas. Drink lots of room temperature or warm water. Also, add two tablespoons of honey to a glass of warm water in the morning to combat the occasional bout of constipation.

Constipation culprits during pregnancy, according to TCM:

  • Blood Deficiency: Your stool is dry and you’re pale in the face and lips.
  • Kidney Yin Deficiency: Your stool is dry. In the evenings, your mouth and throat feel dry and you have night sweats in your sleep.
  • Liver Qi Stagnation: Your stool looks like pebbles. Your temper is a little short-fused lately, leaving you to feel irritable and frustrated.
  • Stomach Fire Blazing: Dry stools and an unquenchable thirst for cold liquids. You may not be satiated as easily, leaving you feeling hungry 24/7.1

Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension

A diagnosis like PIH or preeclampsia should be watched closely by your primary doctor. However, incorporating acupuncture into your treatment protocol can be a great way to naturally lower blood pressure and help with other symptoms associated with this condition like edema. 

Nausea

 

 

Typically, nausea affects women in the first trimester, but unfortunately for some, it can creep its way into the second trimester as well. Acupuncture can help ease those feelings of nausea and support the underlying causes. While the treatment may only relieve nausea for a period of time, it gives your body a break from that constant urge to purge. In addition, you can help ease nausea by sipping on fresh ginger tea with brown sugar. 

Chinese Medicine focuses on disease prevention and encourages a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle. I recommend self-care to all my clients, but especially to those who are pregnant. It’s still essential to stay on top of your supplement routine and to eat a healthy and nutrient-rich diet. Keep your stress levels at a minimum by scheduling a prenatal massage, prenatal yoga class, or even just by taking ten minutes of your day to apply organic body oil or shea butter on areas that are prone to stretch marks.

Have you tried acupuncture during your pregnancy? Share your experience by joining the Perelel community on social or by signing up for our newsletter.

Betts, D., Deadman, P., & Heese, I. (2006). The essential guide to acupuncture in pregnancy & childbirth. Hove, East Sussex, England: Journal of Chinese Medicine.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Perelel.