In our recent article ‘Preventing Miscarriages with Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture here, it was discussed how early pregnancy care is one of the prerequisites in preventing the likelihood of a miscarriage.
This article focuses specifically on this topic.
Read on to learn how Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can play a role in early pregnancy care and whether these natural therapies are suitable for you.
Please note that this article speaks to the post-implantation stage. If you’re looking for information about the pre-implantation stage (i.e. egg/sperm quality, fertilisation and, please refer to the ‘Preventing Miscarriages’ article.
Revisiting what it means to have a healthy first trimester
Finding out you are pregnant can be both exciting and nervous. Your attention quickly shifts to taking the best measures to ensure normal development, from embryo to fetus.
With approximately 25% of pregnancies lost within 12 weeks of gestation, many couples seek information on what they should do to give their pregnancy the best chance of success.
There’s an overwhelming amount of information now available at our fingertips, so the first thing we advise is to only source pregnancy information from credible sources and medical professionals.
The first trimester – up to 14th week of pregnancy – is an important developmental stage and with that, it’s a high-risk period for miscarriages or development of birth defects.
Symptoms that don’t necessarily mean the risk of a healthy pregnancy
Putting genetics aside, a woman’s physical, emotional and mental health also has a play.
It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to experience nausea, increased urination, fatigue, food and heat aversions, constipation and mood swings.
These symptoms are not necessarily indicative of any concern of the embryo’s (pre 8 weeks) or fetus’ (post 8 weeks) health.
A few daily life adjustments can make all the difference during these first three months. For example:
- excessive nausea, vomiting and anxiety can be prevented by having small, frequent, warm meals that contain less spicy foods, less red meat, less processed-sugar and less chocolate, accompanied by an increase in fruit and vegetables. You should also increase your intake of fluids (except coffee).
- mindful thinking, acupuncture, and herbs can also appease nausea, vomiting and anxiety symptoms.
- moderate daily exercise and sun exposure will also enhance your mental and physical wellbeing.
Be aware of changes in your body and communicate with a healthcare practitioner to help you through your first trimester. [13,14,15]
How Chinese Medicine is used in early pregnancy care
Chinese Medicine is a natural therapy that typically combines acupuncture, acupressure and Chinese herbs by qualified Practitioners and Acupuncturists.
The practise focuses on promoting the body’s own healing ability without the use of pharmaceuticals, surgical procedures or other highly invasive methods.
Here are some of the common issues that Chinese medicine helps addresses during early pregnancy:
- blood flow
- hormone health
- stress and anxiety.
Robust blood circulation is one of the most important factors for ensuring both successful implantation and healthy pregnancy. The uterine artery supplies the embryo with blood, stimulates its metabolic processes and growth, and promotes the placental function. The blood brings nutrients and oxygen to the reproductive area as well as removing waste, making the embryo’s development directly dependent on the uterine blood flow. Acupuncture is a simple, natural and effective method to improve blood flow around reproductive areas. [25,26,27,28]
A weak body will struggle to maintain a healthy level of hormones during early pregnancy. Vitamin deficiencies and a high BMI (body mass index) or high blood pressure can have an impact on pregnancy, making a good diet and lifestyle important. Chinese herbs are often used to strengthen the body’s own ability to maintain beneficial levels of progesterone and HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). [29,30,31,32]
Stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety about recurring miscarriages can be common. Acupuncture’s calming and grounding effect can help to reduce anxiety and negative emotions, as well as promote good-quality sleep. This helps to reduce the disturbance to a pregnant body from the mind. [30,33]
Early Pregnancy care at Sustain Health
A holistic approach in supporting your early stages of pregnancy is one of many reasons why our treatments are can be effective.
If you are seeking a complement to your Obstetrician or GP, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Sustain Health. Our team of Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists have experience in treating women throughout their pregnancies.
At our clinic, you’ll also have access to a physiotherapist which may come in handy towards the later stages of your pregnancy.
13 Lou, S., Frumer, M., Schlütter, M. M., Petersen, O. B., Vogel, I., & Nielsen, C. P. (2017). Experiences and expectations in the first trimester of pregnancy: a qualitative study. Health expectations : an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy, 20(6), 1320–1329. doi:10.1111/hex.12572
14 Jakubauskiene, L., Jakubauskas, M., Mainelis, A., Buzinskiene, D., Drasutiene, G., Ramasauskaite, D., & Poskus, T. (2019). Factors Influencing Quality of Life during the First Trimester of Pregnancy: A Prospective Cohort Study. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 55(10), 666. doi:10.3390/medicina55100666
15 Lagadec, N., Steinecker, M., Kapassi, A., Magnier, A. M., Chastang, J., Robert, S., … Ibanez, G. (2018). Factors influencing the quality of life of pregnant women: a systematic review. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 18(1), 455. doi:10.1186/s12884-018-2087-4