Pregnancy is a very sacred and beautiful time where new life is being developed and hopes for the future are abundant.
However for the expecting mom, this 40 week or so duration can be an overwhelming time of change, anxiety, pain and discomfort.
The duality of this wide spectrum full of positive and negative emotions, ups and downs and highs and lows is all natural and expected and in some way prepares the mother, in mind and body, for the tumult, spontaneity and responsibility that comes with parenthood.
Pregnant women prefer to have no health problems during the 9 months of gestation. This is unrealistic and tends to be a source of anxiety. Any health issues may occur during pregnancy and many are specific to pregnancy.There is much acupuncture can do to support women through their pregnancies in their various stages.
Some tips from traditional chinese medicine …
From class given by Holly Guzmán, OMD, LAc
What not to do…
-don’t expose hands to cat litter or gardens that may have cat waste- danger of toxoplasmosis
- don’t take too much vitamin c as high doses are linked to miscarriage in forst trimester and be careful of rutin that may be mixed in some bioflavanoids.
- don't let your body get too hot or take hot baths as a core temperature of a few degrees can cause developmental problems.
- don't worry about substances you may have taken in early early pregnancy causing problems such as a drink you might have had.. Too early to cause concern.
- be aware of your stretching uterus and its instability: so don't pull upwards like starting a pull chord motorboat, don’t lug heavy bags up the stairs, don't lift heavy things from overhead.
-don’t do activity that rhythmically and persistently pounds and jostles the uterus- such as running…situps..
-don’t worry too much about supplementing iron and calcium in the first trimester. These can be constipating and cause nausea and the fetus is too small to need large doses.. If you are tolerating them well, that's fine to take them
- don't take stimulant laxatives that cause peristalsis and cramping.
What To Do
-eat lots of small snacks, preventing an empty stomach which can cause more nausea. That’s why most nausea cases begin in the morning before eating.. Too many hours without food ..
- remember that most morning sickness is from week 8 to week 12, peaking at week 10.. So just get through that one month and try not to distress.
-check if your morning sickness is more settled with alkaline ( crackers, kudzu), acidity ( grapefruit, umeboshi), warmth (ginger tea), or oxygen ( get outside, walk.) Understanding what helps can be so rewarding.
-Do take folic acid. Some women don't metabolize folic acid easily . to be sure, take it in a completely available from, L-5methytetrahyrofolate.
- folic acid is the foundation of prenatal vitamins ( many don’t have enough, can take an extra folic acid pill) and important for perfect cell division and is helpful in preventing neural tube defects and spinal bifida as well as other early developmental issues.
- for nausea, consider vitamin B-6, which helps liver keep up hormone metabolism
-keep the bowels moving: eat cooked, dark, leafy greens, acidophilus, fruits, warm water; eraly pregnancy hormones naturally interfere with peristalsis and regular bowel movements.
- common weeks for spotting: 4, 8, 12.. Take extra caution
What can help:
-Black haw for acute uterine cramping
-curing pills after a meal to prevent vomiting
-collinsonia if supplementing for constipation
- tonifying with tiger warmer- gentle heat on st line, pc6, sp6
-gua sha du16 for nausea ( medulla oblongata)
- acupuncture can help hold baby up, energy up, relieve nausea, support , stress and fatigue relief.
Week 14-27, 4-6 months
What not to do..
What to do:
- magnesium- helps with constipation, helps build bones, helps cramping muscles, calms nervous system, many different forms, dosage usually half the amount as the calcium
-protein- high protein, low sugar diets protect from pre-eclampsia; it is the fuel for growing
-fish oils- highly correlated with superior neurological development; 300 mg DHA daily for pregnant and lactating women is linked to higher brain cognition, emotional and motor skills in infants.
- vitamin E- helps prevent varicose veins, important for pregnant women over 30, use mix tocopherol, 400 iu per day.
-extra vitamin c (rutin) is ok only in this trimester
-Iron-watch hematocrit and raise up past 35 with iron if possible. Iron is best absorbed with more stomach acid so take with acidic food or protein to activate acid. Take in multiple smaller doses or time released. Try chlorella or spirulina ( chlorophyll of plants similar to blood.) Anemia cause shortness of breath, tiredness, easier to bruise and bleed excessively during birthing. Baby's liver will begin to draw and store its own iron. By 7th month the moms hematocrit often drops in response to the baby’s iron requirements. Anticipate and increase blood building before this happens.
Weeks 28- 40, 7-9 months
- herbs and acupuncture can be used to help with early labor, support muscles, gestational diabetes, step B
-mouth health: placentas have bacteria in them that most resemble oral bacteria, and are passed to the baby. Gum disease correlates to preterm birth. Keep up with oral health.