There is nothing more fulfilling than to be given the chance to carry life for 37 to 38 weeks and then bringing the life out into this world. For many, it is the culmination of womanhood, a testament of their nature. It is for this reason that the pregnant woman receive the best and highest quality of prenatal care for both the individual and the unborn child in her womb. Prenatal care involves the management of certain physical complaints associated with pregnancy such as nausea and vomiting or morning sickness as well as quickening and lightening. For the first-time mother, the prenatal period is often very stressful.
As much as possible, pregnant mothers are discouraged to take any form of medication especially during the first three months of pregnancy. It is during this period that the different vital organs of the embryo are developing. Certain medications have been shown to be teratogenic, producing congenital malformations in the child. Unfortunately, one of the most common complaints of first trimester pregnancy is nausea and vomiting. And if this is not managed by medications, what can?
Thankfully, there are alternative treatments that have been proven effective and, best of all, safe for the pregnant mother as it does not involve the introduction of harmful chemicals in the body. Freedom Chinese Medicine suggests acupuncture as a means to manage the different symptoms associated with pregnancy (click here to find out more about FCM acupuncture service). Exactly how acupuncture helps in the management of pregnancy complaints requires understanding of the basic principles surrounding acupuncture.
Traditional Chinese medicine has always been based on the principle of balancing two polar opposites, the Yin and the Yang. Between these two polar opposites is the life energy or qi which literally moves between the two opposites. Balance must be achieved in order to maintain optimum health. While science cannot explain what Yin, Yang, and Qi really means in empirical terms, the effectiveness of acupuncture is strongly associated with the indirect stimulation of the central nervous system through peripheral nerve stimulation. The end result is the release of various neurotransmitters and neurohormones as well as natural endorphins which have been shown to play a role in the mitigation of the pregnancy symptoms. It is this central nervous system stimulation that acupuncture is serving its purpose. The release of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine can all lead to a much calmer effect on the anxious pregnant woman. As anxiety can heighten pregnancy symptoms, producing a more calming effect can also reduce the incidence and severity of the pregnancy symptoms.
One of the most common complaints among pregnant women is morning sickness. The nausea and vomiting associated in first trimester pregnancies have been related to the abnormally high concentrations of the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin which also leads to the elevation of serum progesterone levels. The increased progesterone relaxes the stomach and the small intestines. The diminished peristaltic activity leads to nausea and vomiting as may occur in acid reflux disorders. Acupuncture targeting the wrist has been shown to improve nausea and vomiting symptoms.
With a progressively growing fetus in the mother’s womb, it is inevitable that the lordotic posture of pregnant women will lead to low back pain as well as pelvic pain. This is especially true in the last 4 months of the pregnancy because of the growing fetus shifting the mother’s abdominal weight forward. Pregnant mothers who received acupuncture during this time reported a significant reduction in lumbar pain – both the lower back and the pelvis. In fact, 4 out of 5 pregnant women have shown improvements in their lower back and pelvic pains after acupuncture. The effects are largely attributed to acupuncture’s ability to stimulate the release of endorphins and natural opioids which act to suppress the pain sensation in the brain.
One in 4 pregnant women also suffer from depression which can affect the health and wellbeing of the unborn child in their wombs. Acupuncture has been known to stimulate the release of serotonin and dopamine, two of the body’s natural feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. This can significantly help improve the overall sense of wellbeing of the pregnant woman.
Headaches and sleep problems can also be managed by acupuncture. Both pregnancy complaints are attributed to the stimulation of the central nervous system to release natural endorphins and opioids to manage the pain. Acupuncture also stimulates the release of gamma-aminobutyric acid to induce relaxation and produce sleep.
Acupuncture is an inexpensive, effective, and very safe way to manage the different complaints of pregnancy. Don’t you think it’s about time to seek a professional and licensed acupuncturist to help you with your pregnancy symptoms?
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