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Pregnancy Phases with Chinese Medicine

Updated: Mar 11

Preparing a body to bring life into the world and helping it heal afterwards is one of the most rewarding tasks of Chinese Medicine. Being more sensitive, the pregnant woman responds quickly to treatments, and the baby does as well!

Pregnancy is generally divided into 3 trimesters, but I'm going to include pre-pregnancy and post-pregnancy as very significant phases as well. Chinese Medicine is a wonderful companion to have at each phase, and here are the reasons why:

Phase 1: Preparing the body for baby- This is the time where the blood needs to be nourished and hormones ready for the changes that will ensure once conception occurs.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs assist with this phase due to their ability to treat the roots of any issues that would make it difficult for a woman to conceive. They helps clear up discomforts or challenges that would make pregnancy difficult if left unchecked. A woman's best time to be carrying a child would be after conditions like persistent digestive irregularities, sleep disturbances, or nagging headaches are resolved.

Phase 2: The 1st Trimester- This time can be almost unnoticeable for some yet unbearable for others. Acupuncture excels at treating nausea, hormone-related conditions, and appetite fluctuations, which can completely wipe out the energy of the newly expecting mother and keep her from managing her daily life.

The baby's brain, spinal cord, limbs and organs are starting to form. It's imperative that the mother be cautious with her habits, what she exposes herself to, and be sure not to overexert herself.

Dietary and Lifestyle Counseling is crucial at this stage so that the mother can care for herself and developing baby in the best possible ways. She receives helpful resources about easily digestible foods and meal plans.

Phase 3: The Second Trimester- A woman's body is shifting rapidly at this time, which could cause pain and discomfort in areas being stretched out and put under new pressure. She needs a good balance of movement and rest as well as nutrient-dense foods for fetal growth.

The development of the middle ear in the fetus is happening now, which provides an incredible opportunity to welcome it's first sense of sound vibrations in the healthiest ways possible.

Tuning Forks and other harmonizing sound therapies are used to nourish the vital aspects of the baby's vestibular system, which provides their sense of balance, direction, coordination of eye movements, posture, and appropriate nerve signaling. It's recommended that mothers listen to relaxing and uplifting music and sounds tuned to 432 hertz, which is in tune with the natural vibration of the Earth.

Weighted tuning forks are helpful in relieving muscle tension, joint pain, and nerve pain that occur during this phase.

Conditions commonly treated and relieved by Chinese medicine

Phase 4: The Third Trimester- In this final stage before birth, it's important for expecting mothers to cultivate inner peace and and confidence in their body's natural capabilities, mental state, and spiritual connection. Knowing how to find sanctuary within herself and her own special way of communicating with her baby smooths the transition from womb to outside world.

Brain growth is occurring in the fetus and the mother's diet will be focused on meeting these needs and eliminating foods that could cause discomfort during labor.

Acupressure techniques for her and her family to perform when she needs it are taught to assist her specific needs. This can be incredibly helpful during labor.

Between week 33-35, Chinese medicine providers can even help turn breech babies with simple, non-invasive methods.

Phase 5: Labor and Delivery- Chinese medicine has helped women for thousands of years with natural labor and delivery assistance. My first acupuncture treatment was given to me to help induce my two weeks "overdue" second child. Sure enough, I went into full labor the very next day and delivered her that night! When the mother and baby are ready for birth but there is a need or challenge with moving it along, acupuncture safely helps.

Phase 6: Postpartum and Newborn Care- After the birth, there's a rush of the hormones oxytocin, which helps the uterus contract, prevents excessive bleeding, and strengthens bonding with the baby, and prolactin, which helps with lactation. The mother can need assistance with adjusting to her sudden physical and mental changes that ensue.

Moxa/Mugwort is used in a treatment called "mother roasting" to help her body recover and regain strength, blood, close up the uterus, and have proper circulation. It even helps postpartum depression. A moxa stick or direct moxa on salt is used over specific acupuncture points for up to a few minutes. The skin is not burned but simply warmed up comfortably.

Tuina/Chinese Medical Massage is used to treat infants to help them adjust to the world and ensure healthy feeding, eliminating, sleeping, and movement. The mother is taught specific techniques to help her baby's unique and general needs everyday. This helps prevent colic, difficulties breastfeeding, emotional insecurity, and more common conditions infants can face. This also helps bond the mother with the baby, as well and the rest of the family that participates in using them . The more healthy touch a baby is given, the better it grows in every possible way!

Connected Family Medicine

This interactive guidebook for parents and kids is a perfect introduction to Chinese medicine and raising a family naturally. Several activities, including a tuina massage chart, are included to help you and your family enjoy life in harmony with the elements of nature and each other!



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