Acupuncture for Healthy Pregnancy
We believe in healthy moms and healthy babies. Maximizing the wellness of both mother and child is one sure way to help achieve this. Centuries of insight into how best to ensure and maintain health provides Eastern medicine with a cornucopia of proven techniques, all of which blend well with traditional Western medical practices.
What are some specific ways that Eastern medical expertise benefits both mother and child?
Preventing Early Miscarriage
Some miscarriages can result from poor lifestyle choices. Others occur because of imbalances in the mother’s body. Taking active steps to correct any imbalances and to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle both before and during pregnancy may help prevent a miscarriage.
It is essential for both partners to take care of themselves for a better chance at achieving pregnancy. A healthy foundation includes an optimized diet, controlled body weight, and a sensible exercise plan, along with a good prenatal omega-complete multivitamin. Of course, it is also important to avoid illicit drugs, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Following these recommendations can help you become pregnant and increase your chances for carrying a healthy baby to full term.
While laying the foundation is essential, Eastern medicine provides additional resources for optimizing your health and that of your baby, and minimizing the risk for miscarriage. Acupuncture can provide vital support for your pregnancy, particularly during the critical first 12 weeks, when most miscarriages occur. It can help regulate such vital systems as your thyroid, ovaries, and endometrial lining, and can help minimize the effects of stress on your body.
A variety of herbs are also used to help your body maintain a healthy pregnancy. Chasteberry, cramp bark, black haw and others have been used for centuries to relax the womb, improve progesterone levels, and create an environment that is healthy for a developing fetus. Every woman has different needs, so we will create a personalized plan that is right for you.
At Thumos Health Center, our practitioners successfully use acupuncture, herbs, and nutrition/lifestyle changes to improve couples’ chances of a successful pregnancy. We will work alongside your Western physician to create a comprehensive, integrative treatment plan that maximizes your health and that of your growing baby.
Nausea or “Morning Sickness”
In many cases, this common early sign of pregnancy can be so severe that your whole day is disrupted. It can cause you to limit normal social interaction and can even lessen the joy of the child-bearing experience. In alleviating this age-old curse, Eastern medicine’s safe and natural remedies can yield remarkable results, without the troubling side effects too often associated with modern pharmaceuticals.
Simple supplements such as ginger, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 are often recommended by Western doctors, but may not be enough on their own. Eastern medicine offers a three-pronged attack consisting of acupuncture, acupressure, and nutritional therapy. This combination addresses morning sickness safely, naturally, and proactively, and can often prevent it from arising in the first place. Increasing numbers of Western research studies are showing the powerful results of this combination of treatments.
Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that Qi is the vital life force present in all living things. The radical bodily changes associated with pregnancy can stress the system and block Qi. Acupuncture and acupressure restore the natural flow, allowing the body to calm and heal itself. When combined with a simple yet nutritionally complete diet and avoidance of sensory triggers, morning sickness can be minimized or prevented.
Pregnancy-Related Back and Joint Pain
No matter how healthy you are, your pregnancy will put increasing strain on your back and lower joints. Especially during the second half of pregnancy, most pregnant women will experience back pain. The shift in your center of gravity coupled with normal weight gain cause overcompensation that puts strain on muscles and tendons. In addition, pregnancy hormones can relax ligaments throughout the body, offsetting your normal support. Sciatic pain and even carpal tunnel syndrome are common results.
Acupuncture can specifically target these and other common pregnancy-related discomforts quickly, effectively and safely. In fact, research has shown that in many cases, it works better than traditional Western drugs and other treatments. When used in combination with daily lifestyle changes, supportive shoes, posture refinement, and massage, acupuncture is a particularly effective remedy for pregnancy-related pain.
Labor Preparation and Pregnancy Induction
Your due date is approaching. You are preparing for the big event. But your due date comes and goes, and now your doctor is saying that you have 3-5 days to go into labor on your own, or a medical intervention may be required: an intravenous administration of a synthetic oxytocin and/or a Cesarean section (C-section).
While we have nothing bad to say about this traditional Western approach, some women prefer a more natural approach. Natural labor begins with the release of abundant quantities of oxytocin, a hormone that increases contractions. With an increase in oxytocin and accelerated cervical dilation, the onset of active labor begins.
What can we do to induce the labor process to begin on its own?
When you are past 39 weeks of pregnancy, acupuncture can help produce a safe and gentle natural induction. The use of acupuncture to induce labor has been a treatment option for centuries in the East, and Western doctors are beginning to recognize its benefits. A number of recent studies have shown that over 70% of women who receive acupuncture treatments go into labor on their own, and they are much less likely to require delivery by C-section.
At the Thumos Health Center, we use a specialized type of acupuncture that targets a specific series of points to gently initiate the labor process. After a few 1-hour sessions, the body is ready to go into labor on its own without the use of harsh medications and/or invasive surgical interventions. In many cases, acupuncture is used in tandem with other Western therapies. Your OB/GYN can advise you on whether acupuncture, either on its own or alongside other methods, is an appropriate choice for you.
What if my baby is breech at term?
A breech baby is one that is ready to be delivered buttocks, knees, or feet-first rather than in the normal head-first position. Although a complicated manual procedure to turn breech babies is sometimes tried, not all expectant mothers are good candidates for the procedure and not all babies are successfully turned. If the baby remains breech, it is usually delivered by C-section.
Today, many leading doctors are now recommending acupuncture- moxibustion in the case of breech babies. This ancient Chinese technique stimulates key acupressure points to help turn a breech baby naturally—by stimulating your baby’s activity enough that he may change position on his own. Ask your OB/GYN if you are an appropriate candidate for this procedure.
Located in Pacific Palisades, with satellite clinics in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, Thumos Health Center offers patients exceptional personalized care. If you are ready to take the first steps toward a more integrative approach to your health care, we invite you to phone 310-927-2792 to schedule an appointment at any of our Los Angeles locations. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.