With the Duchess of Cambridge now expecting her second baby and with the unfortunate return of her morning sickness (we’ve been there ourselves so we definitely feel her pain), we turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine expert, Mark Chern to get some advice. He tells us below how acupuncture can be a safe yet effective treatment to help mamas during their first trimester of pregnancy.
The first trimester is the most critical part of a growing embryo’s development. It’s also a challenging time for pregnant women as they adjust to the physical changes that happen to their bodies, while also coping with the mental stress of what pregnancy and parenthood may bring.
In Chinese medicine, pregnancy involves a recalibration of the organ system and an increase in heat and dampness. These changes often mean a mama-to-be’s body ends up unbalanced. As a result, many mothers experience morning sickness, bloating and constipation, as well as general malaise and aches. Some mothers even face difficulty keeping their babies.
In the first trimester, the most common complaint is morning sickness. According to Smith et al (2002), acupuncture is both safe and effective as a treatment for nausea and dry retching. In addition to morning sickness, other imbalances in the digestive system may surface, like increased flatulence, bloating and constipation.
In my own practice, I prefer to use acupuncture treatments in a holistic way – not just to reduce nausea and vomiting, but to also restore balance in the body and improve other aspects of prenatal health.
Acupuncture treatment for morning sickness includes treatments to fortify the digestive system and ultimately reduce nausea and vomiting. Mothers often report they feel better rested and more energised after a treatment.
The ‘M’ Word
First trimester acupuncture is especially useful for new mothers who have had prior miscarriages. Acupuncture can support their body through this time of vulnerability by lifting chi and regulating the flow of blood.
Acupuncture is also very helpful for new mothers who are deficient in chi and blood. These ladies often feel tired easily and can be affected by lower back and stomach pain. These deficiency symptoms are often aggravated by stress at work and a low tolerance to physical activity. A mother feeling like this is unlikely to be skipping to prenatal yoga class!
In threatened miscarriage cases, an expectant mother experiences a deficiency profile similar to the above, except that it’s usually accompanied by vaginal bleeding and lower abdominal cramping. This can often be treated using acupuncture coupled with Chinese herbs.
In all cases where acupuncture is used to maintain a pregnancy or prevent a miscarriage, your Chinese physician can confirm the type of treatment required by reviewing your medical history as well as taking tongue and pulse diagnoses.
Acupuncture can effectively treat a spectrum of conditions in your first trimester. It’s a therapy that can be used holistically, by bringing the body back to balance without drugs. Many are surprised by the difference a few needles and two supportive hands can make to how they feel and how they get through those early weeks of pregnancy.
See our Guide to Traditional Chinese Medicine in Singapore to find your nearest practitioner or you can contact Mark directly here!