It was my absolute pleasure to present to a lovely group of midwives at the Passage to Motherhood Midwifery Conference last week. Not only did I get to have a chat to many midwives and hear about their experiences with acupuncture, acupressure and moxa, but I was also able to learn more from an osteopath, aromatherapist and homeopath, and massage therapist on the techniques they each use through pregnancy, birth and lactation support.
The HealthWise Clinic, where I practice from, is surrounded by three fertility clinics who often refer their patients to us for acupuncture support (yes, research was published in the British Medical Journal in favour of acupuncture increasing IVF success rates). We also see many patients who are looking for pre-conception care or natural fertility support. And upon those positive test results, I have the wonderful opportunity to assist many women through the ups and downs of their pregnancy to birth journey.
During an acupuncture treatment for a pregnant lady, I would usually focus on the following as needed:
- promote relaxation (not just the treatment itself, the treatment room is also a calm oasis away from husbands, bosses and housework)
- bring the woman’s body into balance (Qi or lifeforce, Blood, Yin & Yang, Hot & Cold)
- support the pregnancy
- address any other health concerns (eg. morning sickness or back pain)
There is research to support acupuncture as a safe therapy in pregnancy (of course, this is when performed by a qualified acupuncturist). Other research supports the use of acupuncture in:
- morning sickness
- musculoskeletal pain (including pelvic pain)
- turning breech position
- shorter labour times
- promoting birth sooner once the due date has passed.
And pregnant ladies, if you have an opportunity to learn some acupressure techniques for use in labour for pain relief, do. During a longer consultation appointment, I make sure to have the woman and her birth partner together and we do a practical training session for both partners on the location and use of the acupressure points.
I really enjoy working with pregnant women. Acupuncture has a long history in gynaecology and obstetrics care. It’s an honour to be able to continue to offer these thousands-of-years-old techniques, which have now been subject to scientific research, to the modern woman. And then, as an added bonus, it is absolutely delightful when a patient brings in her new little bub to the clinic for cuddles.
For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture). Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.