At the Fertility and Pregnancy Acupuncture Clinic I support my clients through all stages of their pregnancies. In the earlier stages of pregnancy the most common complaints are nausea (morning sickness), constipation, insomnia, heartburn, anxiety and fatigue. In the second trimester back, hip and pelvic pain can become an issue for many which can affect their daily lives. In the third trimester breech presentations and preparing for birth are the most regular reasons women seek acupuncture treatments.
Common pregnancy conditions
80% of women experience morning sickness during their pregnancies. It ranges from mild symptoms to severe and protracted vomiting (hyperemesis). Usually it will resolve early in the second trimester but for some women it will remain an issue through-out their pregnancy. There are numerous ways which may help with the nausea and vomiting, ranging from natural remedies or supplements (such as ginger or B6) to prescription medication which your care provider (midwife, GP or obstetrician) can provide for you. Check out this article for more information which may help you or your loved one cope with this common complaint.
Fatigue or feeling exhausted is really common in all stages of pregnancy, but especially in the first 12 weeks. I think it is almost a universal experience for my clients during the first trimester. The hormonal changes which take place in the first trimester play a big role, especially the rising progesterone levels. The good news is that it is also one of the first complaints to resolve. The placenta will start working around the 9-10 week mark and often women energy’s levels improve around this time. Rest is the best remedy when it’s available. Naps at this time are great, especially if sleeping at night is difficult. Other things which might help are eating small, frequent healthy meals, doing a little bit of exercise, such as a brisk walk around the block at lunchtime or afternoon tea if you are having trouble staying awake at work, and going to bed earlier. And remember, it will pass, take it easy on yourself, you won’t be able to do everything you could before you were pregnant and that will be okay.
Heartburn or indigestion is a very common complaint during pregnancy. It can be very painful and can really interfere with a good nights sleep. Often my clients will tell me they are sleeping in a chair or propped up on pillows to try to cope. There are lots of ways to try to alleviate the symptoms, including avoiding spicy foods, eating early in the evening, not eating a large evening meal or close to going to bed. There are also over the counter and prescription medications available if the simple methods don’t work for you.
For many women pregnancy might be their first experience of constipation and it’s not fun! It generally rears its ugly head early in the first trimester. It’s probably due to the increased progesterone levels which warms your body up and slows everything down. A lot of women also eat differently at this time due to morning sickness and food aversions. Luckily there are lots of remedies, both natural and otherwise, to help. As always prevention is better than cure. Here is a link to my article which discusses all the ways my clients have found which help them cope with this complaint.
Insomnia or sleep disturbances are common in pregnancy. Between the frequent trips to the toilet, heartburn, trying to learn how to sleep on your side and having to completely wake up to reposition yourself there is numerous reasons why pregnant women sleep poorly. Annoyingly, most pregnant women get more sleep during their pregnancies but he quality is far lower, making you feel tired all the time. Some women will have trouble falling asleep, whilst others will have trouble staying asleep and some will experience both. Some ways to ret to improve your sleep are to develop a good bedtime routine. Avoid screen time before bed and read a book instead. Make sure you drink enough water during the day but minimise fluid intake after 7pm and avoid caffeine after midday. Eat you evening meal early and a light snack before bed to avoid both feeling hungry and heartburn. Try to do some exercise during ht day. Make yourself comfortable and buy a pregnancy pillow sooner rather than later. These can help you stop worrying about sleeping on your side and help you get comfortable. If you are lying awake it might be worth getting up for a while and reading a book until you fall tired enough to fall back asleep. And lastly, try to nap during the day if you can.
Swelling of the lower legs, ankles, feet and fingers is more common in the later stages of pregnancy but can occur throughout pregnancy. For some it just looks bad and for others it’s very painful. It is often worse at the end of the day. It is due to the extra fluid you body needs for the pregnancy and the pressure from the growing uterus.
Hip, back and pelvic pain
Back pain affect 50-75% of women at some stage during their pregnancy. It can occur during any stage of the pregnancy and range from a mild niggle to debilitating, with some women using crutches or wheelchairs to cope with it. It is due to a range of reasons, including hormonal and structural factors. Here is a link to my article which explores ways you may be able to help relieve your back, hip or pelvic pain.
Breech presentations refers to when a baby is not head down during a pregnancy. In the earlier stages of pregnancy it doesn’t matter which position your baby is sitting in. However, by 30 weeks most will have settles into a head down position and will remain there until they are born. Some babies might sit in a breech or transverse position for a known reason, such as a differently shaped uterus (such as bicornuate or one with a septate). But for many women there isn’t an apparent reason for it.
There are interventions available which you can try to see if your baby would like to turn. These include positioning techniques, chiropractic techniques, certain massages and you care provider may offer you an external cephalic version (ECV) if it’s applicable for you and your baby.
Preparing for labour
For women who are planning a vaginal birth there are many things which may help you prepare for your imminent birth. Most have limited research and evidence but have stood the test of time and are unlikely to cause harm. These include eating dates, using clary sage oil, using acupressure points, or drinking raspberry leaf tea. Click on the links available to find out more about these things.
Frequently asked questions
Are you experienced with pregnancy?
Yes, I am very experienced with pregnancy. I have been working as an acupuncturist in the fertility and pregnancy field since 2010 when I graduated as an acupuncturist. Before that I was a Registered Midwife working here in Brisbane at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the Mater Mothers Hospital. I spent more than 10 years working in antenatal clinics, birthing suites and postnatal wards. As such I am very familiar with the pregnancy, its many and varied challenges, the various models of care women choose to use when they are pregnant, and both the western medical and alternative medical help available to pregnant women.
Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?
Many women worry that acupuncture might not be safe whilst they are pregnant. There are certain acupuncture points which should only be used during certain stages of pregnancy. If you are concerned find an acupuncturist who is experienced with pregnant women.
Will I be comfortable during my pregnancy acupuncture treatment?
The Fertility & Pregnancy Acupuncture Clinic has been designed to cater for women in all stages of pregnancy. The clinic is equipped with electric massage tables so women can comfortably hop on and off the table. We also have pregnancy specific tables so that regardless of how many weeks pregnant you are you will be able to lie face down during you treatment if your condition requires it.
Where will the needles go during my acupuncture treatment?
It depends on the reason why you are coming in for an acupuncture treatment and where you are in your pregnancy. You may either be lying face up, face down or on your side which will determine which points I use. I then choose points based on the reason for your presentation. The points I would use for morning sickness differ from those I would use if you were preparing for birth. Mostly points will be on the arms, hands, legs, feet and back if you are lying face down for your treatment.
Is there free parking?
Yes, there is free parking outside of the building. If that is full there is more free parking when you drive up the laneway to the left hand side of the building. There is also lots of 2-12hour metre parking in the surrounding streets. If you are coming by public transport, Milton Train Station os a short 600metre walk away.