Acupuncture During Pregnancy: 3 Trimesters of Support

Acupuncture During Pregnancy: 3 Trimesters of Support

Acupuncture to support pregnancy

Acupuncture has been supporting pregnancy for centuries in China, which is today the most populous country on the planet. It is an approach that is both effective and has stood the test of time. In today’s world we provide care for our pregnant patients in collaboration with their primary obstetric care, including their obstetrician, midwife, and doula.

Pregnancy has three distinct trimesters, and each one unique for its own set of challenges.

Acupuncture During Pregnancy
First trimester – weeks 1 – 12

The main events in the first trimester are implantation of the embryo, growth of the placenta, establishing the pregnancy, and the development of the baby. By  the start of the second trimester everything is formed, and the baby spends the next six months maturing.

Our goals with acupuncture in this first trimester are to create a solid foundation for a healthy pregnancy, and we focus on supporting the mom by reducing the many symptoms that are possible in the first trimester:  nausea, vomiting, fatigue, anxiety, and stress.

First trimester support:

Creating a solid foundation for a healthy pregnancy:

  • Implantation
  • placenta
  • Stabilize and hold the early pregnancy

Supporting mom and reduce symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • stress
  • Nutritional support

Acupuncture During Pregnancy
Second trimester – weeks 12 – 28

The second trimester is referred to as the golden trimester. Moms typically feel much better than they did during the first twelve weeks.  Energy returns, nausea subsides, and the risk of a miscarriage is  now minimal.  It is a great time to discuss healthy eating and review the best vitamins and supplements to be taking for pregnancy and motherhood.

In the second trimester, we continue to support mom, and keep her batteries charged up in preparation for third trimester and early motherhood (aka the fourth trimester).  We will also address general health concerns – such as allergies and headaches – for which the mom may no longer be able to use her regular support strategies due to the pregnancy.

Second trimester support

  • Nutritional support
  • Best vitamins and supplements
  • Ongoing support of mom
  • Allergies
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Sciatica

Acupuncture During Pregnancy
Third trimester – weeks 28 – 40 (or birth)

As the baby gets bigger, the risk of potential side effects also gets bigger: swelling, hypertension,  back pain, gestational diabetes, difficulty sleeping, heartburn, and fatigue. This increased risk is due to the demands being placed on the mom’s body.

There may be more uterine contractions, either Braxton-Hicks or preterm labor. Acupuncture can effectively address all of these concerns, in conjunction with conventional health care approaches.

Third trimester support:

  • Swelling
  • Hypertension
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Sciatica
  • Insomnia
  • Heartburn
  • Fatigue
  • Increased uterine contractions

Post-partum, aka the fourth trimester

Once mom has given birth, the demands on her increase even more. New moms do best with a lot of support. This can be the most exciting trimester – the baby is here! – and also the most challenging.

Growing a baby and giving birth is draining. Moms need to be nourished and replenished. They may be exhausted from a combination of sleep deprivation and physical discomfort.

There may be post-partum complications including anemia, thyroid issues, and depression. We continue to work collaboratively with other providers on the support team including OB/gyn’s, midwives, and doulas.

Post-partum support:

  • Nourishing mom after labor and delivery
  • Recharging batteries
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Challenges with breast feeding and milk production
  • Ache and pains from holding a baby – back, neck, arms, wrists, and hands
  • Managing postpartum complications such as anemia, thyroid issues, depression
  • Guidance on nutrition -diet, vitamins and supplements

No matter where you are in your pregnancy and mothering journey, if you need support, we can help.

In addition to our own work as acupuncturists, we are well-connected within the bay area community to help you find the right team for you. On our website, you can learn more about our services, and book an appointment.  If you have more questions please call our front desk, at 510-595-1175, or email us.

Leslie Oldershaw, L.Ac.
Medical director
Pregnancy Support, Acupuncturist East Bay
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