On the blog this week Dr Cindy Laudan-Ho discusses how Acupuncture, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, can help alleviate a multitude of pregnancy related GI complaints! Dr Cindy heads up our Placenta Encapsulation team here at Tender Touches. She regularly sees patients for Acupuncture at Body in Balance Acupuncture, in NW Calgary. She is extremely knowlegdable on all things fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum related; and we hope today's info helps you find peace with your stomach!
~ Doula In The Wild
Sometimes moms to be come in with a digestive issue as their main complaint; especially in chronic cases such as IBS, or Crohn's Disease... but most often it is a secondary issue that can be treated at the same time as their chief reason for a visit.
Moms are commonly shocked and say “you can treat that too?!” Nausea, morning sickness, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, increased flatulence, upset stomach... the list goes on and on.
Do any of these digestive issues sound familiar during pregnancy? Oh the joys of motherhood. That being said, it is often quite simple to treat with TCM. While we may not always be able to help with some of the physical complaints, when it is due to a congenital issue, or baby just won’t move away from your diaphragm and is causing heartburn... we can help reduce the symptoms, or relieve them, if it is due to an imbalance in your system.
Some of the most common complaints I see during a woman’s pregnancy is nausea, vomiting, heartburn, constipation, indigestion... BUT TCM has commonly used treatment plans for these issues! Here are among the most common:
Nausea and vomiting is the most well known pregnancy complaint due to what we diagnose as reverse stomach Qi. This is common in pregnancy as your body undergoes profound changes that affect your TCM meridians. As menstruation is no longer occurring, the meridian which has a large impact in this area (called the Chong meridian) affects its close relationship with the uterus and stomach meridian. The chong meridian is closely related to the stomach channel because it emerges at the abdomen at a stomach point called Stomach 30. Other patterns also need to be taken into account when treating nausea and vomiting, but there is a specific point combination that often resolves or diminishes the mom-to-be’s nausea during her treatment!
Heartburn. As most of us moms know, it only gets worse as baby grows and pushes upwards on our diaphragm as we get closer to babe’s estimated date of birth. Best way to help it at this stage? Start your birth prep (induction) acupuncture treatments at 37 weeks to help make baby drop down! See my previous post on the importance of this. According to Debra Betts (and used in our clinic), there is a very specific point called stomach 44 that can be needled on its own for heartburn. Ear press needles can also be safely left in this point following treatment to help with future heartburn for mom-to-be to push on herself. Additional needles are also combined for a whole treatment.
Constipation is a common one but also complicated in the sense that we want to avoid a strong downward Qi movement to prevent early labor. Points also cannot be done locally for obvious reasons. The main acupuncture point used for constipation in pregnancy, combined with other based on your diagnosis is called Triple Burner 6 and is actually located on your wrist. Try to avoid drinking copious amounts of cold drinks which can damage the spleen meridian and heating foods such as ginger which can lead to stomach heat and worsened constipation. Drinking water at room temperature or warmer (and enough quantity of it per day, no sorry, coffee and tea do not count!), increasing your intake of fruits and nuts and drinking a cup of hot prune juice or lemon water half an hour before meals may help as well. And exercise! Massage those inner organs to help move things along, especially when it is due to a growing uterus sitting on your intestines!
While these complaints can be daunting in pregnancy, there are solutions!
Pregnancy really can be a wonderful, with or without the haemorrhoids. (Send me a note if you want to know more about pregnancy and haemorrhoids).
Want to connect with Dr Cindy?
Email her today!
By: Doula Sonja
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