Acupuncture in Pregnancy
At Restore we have garnered an excellent reputation for acupuncture treatment as pregnancy support. Acupuncture draws from a history of treating women in pregnancy for thousands of years. However acupuncture has also been adapted to our modern knowledge of safely and evidence based medicine. Studies have shown it to have wonderful benefits for overall wellness, and to counter specific complaints during this time. Some of these complaints include nausea, fatigue, and headaches. Acupuncture is safe and can be effective during pregnancy. Acupuncture is not a substitute for Western prenatal medical care, however it offers complementary care that has many benefits.
Due to the fact that acupuncture has very few side effects, many pregnant women now seek this alternative to drug therapy for a number of common pregnancy complaints. Studies have shown that acupuncture can help with stress, morning sickness, hip and low back pain. It also helps with breech position, mild to moderate depression, labour induction, and shortening the length of labor. It is becoming increasing common to use acupuncture in pregnancy and labour to enhance your wellness during this time.
Tom Kelton and Sally Gole work with your obstetrics team or midwife to help you through a healthy pregnancy. Restore is close to our patients care centres at RNS hospital, the Mater Hospital and North Shore Private.
Acupuncture in Labour
Acupuncture can be used as a method of inducing post-term babies, and is increasing in popularity as women with uncomplicated pregnancies seek to avoid conventional medical induction, imposition of medical timeframes, and the cascade of interventions that often follow. Acupuncture induction is safe and effective and works harmoniously with the delicate hormonal balance of pregnancy to promote labour.
While acupuncture can be effective it works according to a different, less-aggressive philosophy to Western Medicine and therefore a specific timeframe for outcome can be difficult to guarantee. This process can naturally take time depending on the readiness of both mother and baby. Generally, if a baby is mature, acupuncture will assist in promoting labour; if the baby is not ready, then induction will be difficult to achieve.
It is difficult to comment on what women can reasonably expect after an acupuncture induction treatment as no two pregnancies are ever the same and no two women come to treatment at the same stage of their pregnancy. From anecdotal experience, acupuncture is very effective in inducing women who are past their due dates, especially if they are prepared to commit to daily sessions and allow adequate time before medical induction is scheduled.
In 2008 the Cochrane Collaboration reviewed three overseas trials of 212 women comparing acupuncture used for third trimester cervical ripening/labour induction with a placebo/no treatment or other methods. The review of two of these trials suggested that women receiving acupuncture required less use of other induction methods compared with women receiving standard care alone. We therefore recommend that our patients commence daily acupuncture induction treatment from at least 4 days prior to their medically scheduled induction. This ensures reasonable opportunity for the treatment to take full effect.
Some women will have little sensation during the treatment while others experience downward movement, urinary urge and abdominal tightening during and up to 5 hours post treatment. In any event, a woman is best advised to go straight home after treatment, remain quiet and allow her body to take deep rest in preparation for the energy requirements of labour.
Acupuncture After Baby
Traditional Chinese Medicine regards the first month after delivering a baby as a time of rest and recovery for the mother, and a time of settling in for the baby. In Asian cultures, this is referred to as the ‘Golden Month’, during which time the new mother stays at home with the sole purpose of recovering from the birth and feeding her infant. This is very much at odds with what we see in the modern Western world where a woman is expected to make a full recovery within six weeks after childbirth.
Loss of blood through childbirth, coupled with poor sleep, stress and breastfeeding, is referred to as ‘postpartum depletion’ and can take a heavy toll on the mother’s long term health and well being. Postpartum treatments can help with mastitis, postpartum depression, hormone balance, lactations support, healing of c-section scars and insomnia.
Osteopathy in Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body undergoes tremendous change to accommodate the growing fetus. Apart from the obvious physical changes like expansion of the abdominal region, hormonal releases can affect the function of your body’s internal systems. As your pregnancy progresses, the extra weight creates a shift in your body’s centre of gravity. Your supporting ligaments also soften. These factors can add stress to your body, causing problems like back pain, sciatica, insomnia, shortness of breath, swelling, high blood pressure and fatigue. Your osteopath can offer advice about managing these symptoms and demonstrate self-help techniques which you and your partner can use during pregnancy and labour. Your osteopath’s aim is to assist the natural process of pregnancy and birth – maximising your body’s ability to change and support you and your baby with a minimum of pain and discomfort.
In birth, the descent of the baby through the pelvis is influenced by a range of factors. If the mother’s pelvis is twisted or stiff, it can interfere with the baby’s passage through the birth canal. Osteopathic care may restore and maintain normal pelvic alignment and mobility, helping to reduce musculoskeletal stresses during birth. After the birth, your osteopath may advise you to make return visits to help prevent or manage problems like pelvic and low back strain, pelvic floor weakness, mastitis, incontinence, interrupted sleep and fatigue. German researchers found that osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) decreased postpartum low back pain by over 70 percent in women who had given birth at least three months before beginning treatment (JAOA July 2015).
Massage in Pregnancy
Pregnancy massage is a gentle way to increase your wellness during your pregnancy. Research has shown that it lowers anxiety levels, reduces back and leg pain, and improves sleep. It works to increase levels of the “feel-good” hormones serotonin and dopamine, which are good for you and your baby. At Restore we have specialty pregnancy tables, which also allow you to lie on your stomach during your massage (a true delight in later months), or we can also treat you on your side if this is your preference. Our massage therapists are experienced, and aware of accommodations and modifications required during pregnancy. Restore also offers vouchers for pregnancy massage as gifts for pregnant friends and family.