By Alexandra Ratzke
Registered Acupuncturist and Certified Laser Acupuncturist
Pregnancy and childbirth is an exciting and life-changing experience. Your body creates a new human being in around 40 weeks! The process requires hormones to shift, increased production of blood, and organs physically move out of the way to provide a more suitable environment for your quickly growing fetus. The tumultuous transformation you go through as a mother can be full of twists and turns, and even before the baby arrives your body will face many challenges.
No matter what unfamiliar state your body is faced with each new day of your pregnancy, acupuncture can strengthen both your emotional and physical well being. It is an ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting hair thin needles to various energetic points around the body to create balance and homeostasis. During and after the session endorphins are released triggering a “feel good” sensation and reducing your perception of pain. The needles are left in for 20 to 30 minutes for therapeutic effect. At the end of the session a treatment protocol is discussed and will vary based on your own specific needs. When practiced by a registered and skilled professional, it is safe for both you and your baby at any stage of pregnancy and beyond.
Acupuncture is multifaceted and can be helpful in the treatment of almost any pregnancy-related concern. The transformation a woman’s body goes through in preparation for child birth can impact her health in the future. Changes can range from the physical, such as, morning sickness, gestational hypertension, fatigue and exhaustion to mental-emotional issues like depression or anxiety. These changes may last through the entire pregnancy or resolve quickly after the first trimester. Others may be longer lasting, carrying through pregnancy and affecting you postpartum.
As a practitioner of acupuncture, I consider the transformative nature of pregnancy and becoming a mother and work together with the client to develop a treatment plan that can provide relief from pregnancy-related issues. Acupuncture is a restorative form of self-care that compliments both alternative and conventional therapies. It will not interfere with other treatments that you may already be receiving and I encourage women to incorporate other practices of self-care such as yoga, meditation, massage and exercise.
Last year, I too went through the journey of becoming a mother. I found the first trimester rough with bouts of morning sickness, lower abdominal cramping and lethargy. I felt pretty good throughout my second trimester (with the exception of the lethargy) and the beginning of the third but at 34 weeks I was diagnosed with gestational hypertension and felt overwhelmed and panicked. I tried to focus my efforts on staying grounded and practicing self-care and the only thing that helped me mentally surrender to the process of pregnancy was acupuncture. Even just 20 mins of relaxation and alone time transported my body and mind to a better place when times were tough. I also found that throughout my pregnancy I met a lot of expecting and postpartum woman and helped them with their physical and emotional concerns. I feel like my road to parenthood helped me gain a new found love and appreciation for acupuncture. I love what I do and want to impart that wisdom onto other women and mother’s.
It is ideal to stay strong and healthy during pregnancy, and with the help of acupuncture women can put their worries aside. Acupuncture is safe and effective for revitalizing your energy, reducing pain and relieving stress of pregnancy-related issues. Your body is a temple that requires nurturing, in order to nourish the new life inside of you!