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PREGNANCY CARE AT LIVEWELL ACUPUNCTURE

Over the years I have had the pleasure of treating patients through pregnancy with Massage, Reflexology and Acupuncture and have completed further training in Obstetric Acupuncture and the use of Acupuncture for gynecological conditions. Often patients come to see me if they are having problems conceiving, for these patients it is a natural progression to keep receiving acupuncture throughout their pregnancy once they conceive. However many women just choose to use acupuncture through pregnancy that have never experienced it before, often because it is a gentle and natural way of treating the body without having to resort to medications.

Acupuncture is my main area of practice although I often draw on other areas of therapy to help with specific ailments and needs. Often localised massage is used alongside acupuncture, and many expectant mums also choose to have separate reflexology sessions to enhance their well-being. Separate coaching on the use of Acupressure (touch not needles) is also offered as self treatment at home for both mum and birthing partner and if massage is something couples wish to use whilst birthing their baby then individual aromatherapy blends are often made up to use during delivery with appropriate guidance on how and when best to use them.

Here at Livewell Acupuncture the greatest care is taken to insure the comfort and well-being of pregnant ladies whilst receiving treatment. There is a soft electric couch with extra width allowing easy maneuvering and plenty of room to lye comfortably on one side, there are plenty of pillows available to support the hips/back and neck areas, including a maternity and triangular pillow, there is also the option to sit up right using the couch or a chair. Gentle relaxing music is played during treatment and there is an I-pod dock if you wish to bring your own choice of music, especially if you have chosen something particular for the birth of your baby, it is useful to use this piece of music during treatment because the body deeply relaxes, and builds a familiar association with relaxation and the piece of music you have chosen.

 

HOW CAN ACUPUNTURE HELP DURING PREGNANCY?

 

The aim of Acupuncture treatment through pregnancy is to provide nourishment and wellbeing for mother and baby. Ideally as long as everything is progressing well and no major symptoms occur a minimal amount of treatment is needed to maintain balance. Usually resulting with only one treatment at around 12 weeks, another at 24 weeks and then pre birth treatments that commence at week 36 and continue weekly until your expected due date.

The treatment at 12 and 24 weeks are simply to stabilize the Mothers energy, nourish blood production and strengthen the foetus. Pre birth treatments provided later are aimed more specifically at preparing the cervix and pelvis for birthing, encouraging cervical relaxation and the softening of ligaments, whilst also promoting optimal position of the baby for birth. If the Mother is experiencing any uncomfortable symptoms during pregnancy then more regular treatment may be needed to bring the body back into balance and manage symptoms accordingly. General fitness, diet and lifestyle also play a role in maintaining a well pregnancy and are addressed during treatment sessions.

SYMPTOMS THAT CAN ARISE DURING PREGNANCY

• Morning sickness
• Small for date babies
• Oedema
• Anxiety

• Dizziness
• Constipation
• Heartburn
• Haemorrhoids
• Back pain
• Leg cramps
• Fatigue
• Anaemia
• Insomnia
• Sinusitis

• Thrush

• Symphysis Pubis Syndrome (SPD)
• Pregnancy induced hypertension

 

THE USE OF ACUPUNCTURE FOR NATURAL INDUCTION

 

Natural induction treatment is only given if the mother has gone over 40 weeks of gestation (her estimated due date) usually with a pending medical induction looming. The idea of Acupuncture treatment for induction is to use points on the body that naturally help to induce labour, meaning it will only be effective once the body and baby are ready and properly prepared. It helps the body to achieve this by encouraging muscles and ligaments to relax, as well as reducing anxiety, tension and stress hormones, these are all components that can delay the onset of labour due the body’s energy not being in the right place. Our body is the baby’s surrounding environment and once it is where it needs to be at the right time it encourages the descending movement of the baby and a gentle progression into labour. Sometimes only one treatment is necessary other times more treatment and self-acupressure at home is needed.

 

BREECH BABY

A technique involving a herbal warming stick known as Moxa to help turn your baby naturally is becoming more and more recognised by midwives and other health professionals. It is often recommended by midwives if breech presentation occurs as it provides another option to manual manipulation. Traditionally treatment for breech or malpresentation involves one session with a practitioner using a Moxabustion stick (warming stick) to warm a point at the end of the little toes on both feet (no needles are used). Then instructions for self-treatment at home are given and should be carried out for 20 minutes everyday for about 10 days for optimal results. Standard acupuncture may also be used to help with this within a routine treatment.

 

ACUPURESSURE (TOUCH THERAPY) IN LABOUR

 

Acupressure (applying pressure to acupuncture points) can be a useful tool to use throughout labour. There are certain points on the body that are easy to find and when used correctly can help with relieving discomfort in the lower back and abdomen as well helping with anxiety and maintaining a calm and peaceful energy for mother and baby. Other points can also promote optimal position of the baby this is especially useful if cervical dilation is slowed during labour due to the baby’s position. It is a great tool to add to your list especially if hoping to achieve a natural birth in hospital or at home. Towards the later stages of pregnancy this can be discussed during a treatment session and the practitioner will talk through the Acupressure points with you and your birth partner and how to locate and apply pressure correctly as well as provide a useful booklet to take away with you.

 

POSTNATAL CARE

Post natal acupuncture is not to be under estimated, Labour is called labour because it is hard work and requires a lot of the body’s energy and stamina. After the birthing process is complete mothers do not really have the time they need to recover and restore their energy as motherhood is upon them and immediately more energy is required for sleepless nights, milk production, adjustment and general healing. Post natal acupuncture is a wonderful way to rebuild and support the strength of the mother after birth and with treatments only taking 1 hour at the most it should most definitely be considered as a natural option to help the body heal. Of course new mums are welcome to bring their little ones with them to treatment until that they can have some time independently to experience their acupuncture sessions. Treatment is purely devised for the individual depending on many factors such as the general health of the mother and the kind of labour experienced. Aside from general well-being sessions mums often find post natal treatment useful for a variety of ailments than can occur post birth:

• Mastitis
• After pains/cramps
• Night sweats
• Perineal discomfort
• Insufficient lactation
• Postnatal depression
• Baby blues
• Fatigue
• General well-being
• Lower back pain
• Anaemia

Please don’t hesitate to contact Shelley at Livewell Acupuncture if you have any questions about receiving treatment through pregnancy or post pregnancy.