Acupuncture and Early Pregnancy
Is there anything more hopeful, yet more stressful, than a positive pregnancy test? Particularly if conception was difficult or even achieved with the help of IVF, it can be hard to relax once pregnancy is confirmed.
It is common knowledge that the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are critical, and the chances of miscarriage during this first trimester are greatest. Thus, it is essential that you take care of yourself during this time.
If you have a history of infertility or miscarriage, we usually recommend weekly acupuncture treatments through the first trimester to help reduce the risk of miscarriage and manage anxiety.
There are some other things you can do in addition to acupuncture to help ensure a healthy first trimester:
- Exercise – focus on gentle exercises that do not strain your abdomen or lower back.
- Nutrition – eat a nourishing diet, focusing on fresh foods and maintaining enough protein. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as well as rich or spicy foods.
Early in your pregnancy, you should also be aware of these things:
- Lower back or abdomen discomfort is normal and is usually a signal that your body needs rest. If you feel pain, especially pain that gets sharper or stronger or feels like it is bearing down on you, seek medical attention.
- Spotting or light bleeding is normal and you should use a pad (not a tampon). If you have heavy bleeding, contact your medical advisor.
- Fumes and toxic chemicals should be avoided as much as possible, including paint, nail polish and remover, and harsh household cleaners.
- You should maintain a “warm” body temperature – avoid becoming too chilled or overheated.
- Abstain from sex for three weeks after conception is confirmed, particularly if you have a history of infertility or miscarriage.
We like to continue to treat women with acupuncture through their first trimester, particularly if you have experienced a miscarriage in the past, to help to support the pregnancy and prevent miscarriage. There is also a very powerful herbal formula that can help to prevent miscarriage. Acupuncture can also help you alleviate morning sickness, headaches and fatigue, which are often most intense during the first trimester.
Acupuncture and early pregnancy are well suited, safe and can be very helpful. While many women take a break from treatments during their second trimester because they feel wonderful and energetic, others still continue to receive acupuncture treatments because they love it.
In your third trimester, acupuncture can help balance blood sugar to help prevent gestational diabetes. It can also help to manage blood pressure, relieve the aches and pains of your growing body and changing center of gravity, and help with sleep.
Many women come in for “labor Induction” at week 40 or even 41, but we always recommend beginning acupuncture treatments at week 35 or 36 to start things moving. Acupuncture won’t cause you to go into labor before your body is ready, but it can certainly clear stagnation and remove blocks that could prevent labor from starting on its own.