Pregnancy Acupuncture 101

Ashley Gordon, FGHG Acupuncturist takes us through the basics of acupuncture during pregnancy and explains why it’s such a good idea.

Is it your first pregnancy? Maybe your second or third? Whichever is the case, when you are looking for pregnancy advice, if you Google it you will be inundated with pages of links and information overload. If you don’t have time to navigate the extensive library of information, here is a short spiel on pregnancy acupuncture, the best bits, to save you some time!

I’ve had many questions asked of me about acupuncture, but undoubtedly the most common is “Does it hurt?” and specifically for pregnancy acupuncture, “Is it safe?” The answer to the second question is YES, it is safe! The first question, is a bit more troublesome as it is based on an individual’s pain tolerance, which is subjective, but in general acupuncture doesn’t hurt. Sure, we are puncturing the skin with a needle, so there has to be an initial prick, but there should be no unwanted sensations after that. Some patients even fall asleep, or use the time to meditate while the needles are doing all the hard work for you!

The next most common question is “Is pregnancy acupuncture beneficial?” During the first trimester, it’s very commonly used to treat and alleviate symptoms such as nauseaheartburn and fatigue. Acupuncture aims to maintain health and restore balance within the energy flow of the body – this is crucial due to the multitude of amazing changes that occur during pregnancy. Not only do we need to give the body some credit for the incredible task it has ahead of it, but also give you as much assistance as we can to help the pregnancy move forward with ease and grace.

Equally as important as the first trimester is the third trimester. This time can be used to prepare the body for labour. This is all about blood flow, ensuring the body is well nourished and all of the key organs active in labour are supported and regulated – this is what is called birth preparation acupuncture.

But why is birth preparation acupuncture important, you ask?

Think of it as training. Would you front up to a marathon without any training? Probably not. The #1 reason for birth preparation treatments is to promote a smooth labour. Birth preparation acupuncture consists of a series of weekly treatments from 34-36 weeks onwards and can help to prepare the body for labour. Due to this preparation, your body will not be a stranger to acupuncture if used for labour promotion and will be more receptive to it’s effects. When the time arrives to assist in helping your baby engageincrease cervical ripening and dilation or strengthen contractions, acupuncture is here to help.

Here at Fertile Ground, not only do we have skilled acupuncturists, but we also have Naturopaths, massage therapists and Osteopaths to further assist you and your body throughout the incredible journey of pregnancy. It’s the wholistic approach that we love the most here at Fertile Ground and it would be our pleasure to help you on your way…

 

Ash Gordon colourAshley Gordon, FGHG Acupuncturist

Ashley is an experienced acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist who is passionate about utilising the innate healing qualities of the body in achieving the desired outcomes, be that in fertility, pregnancy or general health. He has developed a strong focus and passion for pregnancy, birth preparation and pre conception care, and is motivated by being apart of each individual journey and the emotional and physical changes of these experiences.

Top Tips for Nausea During Pregnancy

by Tina Jenkins, FGHG Naturopath

Early pregnancy is an exciting time however, it can also be a challenging time as many women often experience some associated nausea. The nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (known as NVP) often tends to kick in around the 7-8 week mark of the pregnancy and typically tends to start to ease off around the 10th week. This usually means that for many women there is often around 4-6 weeks where they will experience some degree of nausea on a daily basis.

Is there anything that can help?
There are many options that are available that may help reduce nausea during pregnancy. Often it is a matter of finding what works for you; which may not be what has worked for a friend. Nausea during pregnancy is complex and there is usually no one solution that suits everyone. This means that you may need to try a few different things before you find something that provides some relief.  Most options will not completely remove the nausea however, they can often make it less frequent, less severe and thus more manageable.

Top tips to reduce nausea

  • Eat small amounts of food more frequently (every 2-3 hours). Don’t go for longer than 3 hours without eating. This helps reduce fluctuations in your blood sugar levels (particularly drops in your blood sugar) which often tend to trigger nausea. Eat before you are hungry, because when your blood sugar levels drop, you will feel nauseated and fatigued, and the motivation to prepare any food (let alone nutritious food) will be over taken by the desire to lie down or vomit.  The grazing approach to food is appropriate for all stages of the pregnancy.
  • Always keep a good healthy snack in your bag (e.g. almonds, piece of fruit etc) to avoid any delays in eating and so that you have quick and easy access to good food when you are out and about.
  • Keep a nutritious snack next to your bed and eat this before sitting up in the morning. E.g. wholegrain crackers or nuts
  • Ginger is an old nausea remedy. Make ginger tea by grating half a teaspoon of fresh ginger into a mug of boiled water and infuse for 5-10 minutes and drink 3-4 times a day – add lemon juice or a little honey occasionally for a change. Or try 2 teaspoons of ginger added into your meals, pickled ginger or sucking on crystallised ginger (inch square by a quarter inch thick).  Alternatively ask your naturopath for ginger liquid extract or tablets.
  • Whilst ginger tea is often helpful in reducing nausea, some women respond better to other herbal teas such as Chamomile. I remember seeing one patient who had tried nearly everything to help reduce her nausea to no avail, however, once we introduced a good quality chamomile tea she experienced significant improvement for this time in her pregnancy. ** Always make sure you source a good quality raw herbal tea for the best therapeutic action.
  • Wear travel sickness prevention bands. They are positioned over acupuncture points on the wrist that reduce nausea (from your chemist or Fertile Ground Health Group)
  • Try acupuncture. Many women experience relief from their nausea after a session of acupuncture.
  • Talk to your naturopath about a Vitamin B6 supplement. Research supports the use of vitamin B6 during pregnancy to help reduce nausea. Clinically I find that appropriate doses of Vitamin B6 will often take the edge of the nausea and make it a lot more manageable.

Keep in mind
If vomiting occurs more than 3 times a day, and this is not relieved by self-help or natural remedies, then medical help should be sought. Prolonged vomiting can lead to dehydration and threaten the health of the mother and baby.

If you have gone off or are unable to stomach a lot of different foods it may be worthwhile to consult your naturopath for a dietary assessment to ensure you are covering all of your nutritional requirements. Naturopaths are often able to suggest alternative dietary options to improve your nutritional intake and support a healthy pregnancy.

 

Tina-Jenkins3Tina Jenkins is a highly qualified naturopath bringing more than 20 years of experience to FGHG. Tina has always had a special interest in helping couples with fertility problems and has particular success in treating women with PCOS, irregular and/or absent periods as well as problems with ovulation. Over the years, Tina has treated thousands of patients providing her with a wealth of clinical experience, which coupled with her extensive qualifications, brings enormous benefit to Tina’s patients especially in the area of infertility. Tina has also assisted numerous parents regarding children’s health care problems and as a mother herself, has experienced firsthand the many benefits natural health care can bring to young children.