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.
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!