Walking through...the final trimester of pregnancy

IMG_0413.jpg

After a ten year reprieve, I recently received the profound gift of becoming a mother for the third time. During my pregnancy, while I was thrilled with the thought of my new arrival, I definitely suffered from the inevitable pregnancy struggles of nausea, body pain, and fatigue, to say the least. During this time, I leaned heavily on acupuncture to get me through the days, weeks, and months that all seemed at least twice as long as they actually were. Although maternal health and fertility aren’t key focuses of my practice, every time I get the chance to receive acupuncture, I fall in love with Chinese medicine all over again. So, during this month for mothers, I’d like to share the ways that acupuncture helped me during my pregnancy, one trimester at at time.

Third trimester: A.K.A. Get this baby out!


In the third trimester, I continued to rely on regular acupuncture treatments for pretty much all of the things that we went over for trimesters one and two. With an ever growing belly, the aches, pains, and fatigue were constantly shifting and changing. As someone who prioritizes feeling my best, it took a strong commitment to self-care and regular treatment. But the biggest superstar regarding acupuncture and the third trimester, and perhaps one of the things that acupuncture gets the most attention for (even amongst crowds who don’t lean on acupuncture for regular treatment), is acupuncture labor induction, another thing I relied heavily on at the end of my pregnanc

With this being my third pregnancy, I was well aware of my tendency to go post-term. My older two kids were three (!) and two weeks past-term respectively (side note: this is news I rarely try to share with any first time mom, as anyone who has been or is pregnant knows how the days and weeks of the final month or two of pregnancy fully last at least five times as long as regular time!). Because acupuncture labor induction usually takes a few to several visits, and given my history, I got the go ahead from my midwives to start focusing on labor preparation acupuncture treatments ahead of my due date. It’s important to note that you MUST get approval from your labor/delivery team before you start any type of outside induction treatment, and this is always one of the first questions I ask those who come in for labor induction.

I was so grateful for the team at Vitalize to be there for me when I was ready for my baby to come OUT. Being in the calm and bright space was so welcome in those last days of pregnancy, and Vitalize seriously has a super star team of women practitioners who know just how to hold space for a pregnant mama. Perhaps more importantly, they know just how to encourage baby to make their entry to the world while helping calm and prepare mama’s body and mind for pregnancy. Because my babies are stubborn, I welcomed my daughter Orli one week past her due date, but because I know how my tendency to go past term, and because I also utilized acupuncture with my older daughter, I feel confident that the treatments I received helped things move along more quickly. With both pregnancies that I received acupuncture treatment for as labor preparation, I had incredibly efficient and smooth labors, something that I hear from many of the mamas who I’ve seen for labor prep and induction. I’ve seen many a woman become converts to acupuncture/Chinese medicine for regular healthcare after initially coming in only for labor induction.

Thanks for riding along with me on my recollection of acupuncture, self-care, and pregnancy. If you have any questions about how acupuncture can help you in relation to your pregnancy, I definitely encourage you to reach out to the wonderful practitioners at Vitalize, and I hope that by sharing my experiences you will have some context to understand how we can hold space for you during this beautiful (and trying!) time in your life.





Redefining Beauty

I was recently reminded about the importance of embracing beauty at every age and how revolutionary of a concept this is when I read an Instagram post by Rachel Brice - a strong, beautiful, inspiring dance instructor and performer. She was celebrating her 47th trip around the sun and commented that on her search for makeup and skincare for “mature skin” she was recommended, among other atrociously-named items, a “wrinkle revenge” product… (Insert jaw drop)  

Yes, our skin changes as we age. It becomes thinner, rougher, often drier, sometimes hyperpigmented, and even hairier. We can absolutely choose to use supportive topical products, implement dietary and lifestyle changes, and even use facial rejuvenation acupuncture to support the health, longevity, and balance of our skin. (Read more about Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture Here!)  However, I refuse to accept that we must take revenge on any part of our body! I refuse to be anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, anti-anything about my body and it’s natural processes - and I encourage you to jump on the refusal bandwagon with me! There is a deep healing that can happen when we shake off the limitations of conventional beauty standards that have been sold to us and instead create our own definitions of what is beautiful.

My personal definition of beauty includes words like health, function, movement, joy, contentment, connection, laughter, and vitality. These are the observations, questions I ask myself and treatments I use to nourish my own beauty:

cherryblosson.jpeg
  • When I am not feeling beautiful, it means that I am not nourishing myself in some way.

  • When my skin is dehydrated or rough from too much exposure to sun or wind it looks older and more wrinkled - much like earth looks when it dries up. The solution is often to drink more water and eat nourishing, hydrating foods, avoid too much direct sun, and gently wash and exfoliate the skin before applying nourishing oils like jojoba or rosehip oil.

  • When my eyes are puffy or my skin looks inflamed I turn to my diet - have I been indulging in wine or sweets? Have I lacked sleep and had more coffee than water? Is it allergy season?

  • When my eyes look dull and tired and my lips small and tight, I look at my self care practices. Have I spent time with friends, time relaxing, time laughing, or have I been overworking, stressed, grumpy, unsatisfied?

  • When my body feels stiff and tight the remedy is more regular movement: yoga, dancing, hiking, swimming. I check in with how I have been sleeping and fueling my body and make changes accordingly.

  • When I feel that I have done what I can to create balance via self-care and still need support, then I turn to my acupuncturist for hands-on treatment and Chinese herbs and to my massage therapist to support improved fluidity and circulation.

My hopes in sharing this is to inspire you to broaden how you think of your beauty regimen. Beauty does not come from a bottle, it comes from within. When we are nourished on the inside - physically, spiritually, and emotionally - we appear more beautiful on the outside. When we are inviting joyful and creative moments, allowing ourselves time to slow down, eating and sleeping well, making time for our friends and family - it is in these moments that our physical beauty will shine it’s brightest no matter our age, wrinkles, spots, dots, or chin hairs!  


“A woman is born with a certain amount of life essence and, as she ages, it transforms into wisdom. That is to say, her life culminates in wisdom, not emptiness.”
- Claudia Welch “Balance your Hormones, Balance your Life”  

Our Skin Beyond Our Skin

Our edges do not stop at the surface of our skin. There are many layers and sub layers of energy that extend out from the density of our physical body. These layers are less dense, overlay each other, and actually permeate what we would consider the physical body creating an integrated system that works all together to make up the template of a human being.  

Pregnancy - A walk through the trimesters continued...

pregnant-belly-313x207.jpg

After a ten year reprieve, I recently received the profound gift of becoming a mother for the third time. During my pregnancy, while I was thrilled with the thought of my new arrival, I definitely suffered from the inevitable pregnancy struggles of nausea, body pain, and fatigue, to say the least. During this time, I leaned heavily on acupuncture to get me through the days, weeks, and months that all seemed at least twice as long as they actually were. Although maternal health and fertility aren’t key focuses of my practice, every time I get the chance to receive acupuncture, I fall in love with Chinese medicine all over again. So, during this month for mothers, I’d like to share the ways that acupuncture helped me during my pregnancy, one trimester at a time.


Second trimester:

The second trimester feels like it can be summed up by ‘changes everywhere, to everything’. I think for a lot of women, the second trimester is when the reality of pregnancy really starts to set in. This is due in no small part to the reality of the growing pregnant belly, and the associated low back pain, leg and foot (and everywhere) swelling, frequent urination, the list goes on. And while there is usually some reprieve from nausea for most women, that is often and quite quickly swapped out for heartburn and general digestive sluggishness. Acupuncture to the rescue again!

While acupuncture, herbs, and supplements can help address pretty much all these issues, I can share that personally I found myself most often on the table for low back pain and continued fatigue. Seemingly magically (but acupuncturists know it’s not), the evenings and days after my treatments I found that my not-at-the-top-of-my-list leg swelling was minimalized, and somehow I was able to take a few less trips to the restroom. I think this was due to a two-fold benefit of having a reduction of muscle spasticity and tension around my pelvis and a gentle improvement to water metabolism and circulation, both of which acupuncture can have a profound effect on. I also noticed that I had a personal struggle with sinus congestion, perhaps related to, but not contained to pregnancy effects. I was super happy to work with my acupuncturist to figure out an herbal formula that helped me to breathe easier and that was safe for baby.

Also, one side-note related to acupuncture and pregnancy that came up for me, but I forgot to mention in trimester one, is that I had to unfortunately say goodbye to receiving cosmetic acupuncture treatment for the time being. While I was really loving the effects on my complexion, pregnancy is a contraindication for cosmetic acupuncture, as the protocols are generally too moving and stimulating. While it was a small bummer to miss out on those treatments, it’s also great to know that acupuncturists are looking out for the best for you and your baby. And it’s something I know I can go back to once I feel completely recovered from pregnancy and birth.

Trimester 3 up next!



Honoring the Postnatal Experience

Modern day prenatal care offers a pregnant woman enough options to make her head spin. Here in Portland, OR we have access to doulas, midwives, prenatal pilates, birthing centers, nutritionists, dozens of options informed by both Western, natural, TCM, and traditional or folk medical practices.

Safety of Herbs in Pregnancy

At Vitalize, we love working with pregnant mamas.  The conditions that arise during pregnancy are unique and the treatment options can sometimes feel limited.  There is always the extra step of asking how this will impact the growing babe. It is best to assume that anything you ingest will pass to the baby, and this includes herbs and supplements.  This certainly does not mean that you have to stop all your herbs and supplements when you get the BFP (big fat positive!). And it also doesn’t mean we can’t treat your nausea, fatigue, sinus congestion, swelling, heartburn, insomnia, etc. with herbs.  Our practitioners are informed about herbal safety and can guide you.

Spring Cleanse with Vitalize!

Join us! We are offering a Spring Cleanse information session on Wed April 17, 6-7:30pm at Vitalize Clinic. We will help you choose a 10, 21 or 28-day cleanse from Standard Process, a whole-food nutrient supplement company. Join acupuncturists Amber Hincks and Molly Erickson for additional support with Chinese medical dietary recommendations for healthy spring eating, recipes, simple meal-planning and group support.