TCM for Pregnancy
History- The practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been utilized for over 2000 years in the treatment of a vast number of ailments.  TCM works by balancing energies in the body called “Qi”, using several treatment modalities including Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Moxibustion and Massage, to ensure optimal health.  The beauty of this medicine is the ability to treat the whole body in order to address an individual concern.  TCM is an extremely safe and highly effective treatment option for the entire family.

Acupuncture for pregnancy-  Acupuncture is a wonderful care option for use in pregnancy for several reasons.  First, it is a drug-free option so it is extremely safe for both mother and baby, an especially important fact since the use of pharmaceuticals are often contraindicated in pregnant women. Second, it is a cost-effective and restful treatment for many of the problems that are common during each phase of the pregnancy. 
 
Common issues of pregnancy which can be helped with acupuncture and TCM:

First Trimester care- Acupuncture is used to balance hormones by regulating the endocrine system.  Optimal blood flow to the uterus is maintained, thus helping to prevent miscarriage and allow for healthy fetal development. In the first trimester, women are usually seen once a week, or twice a week for stubborn conditions. The use of TCM in the first trimester helps to prevent and control symptoms from:

Morning (all-day) sickness/nausea
Hyperemesis (persistent vomiting)
Fatigue
Headache (including migraine)
Bleeding/spotting 
Bloating and digestive concerns (constipation, lack of appetite)
Threatened miscarriage

Second Trimester care- Treatment is focused on digestive complaints and maintaining balance in the nervous system.  Pre-existing musculoskeletal conditions often flare during this time and can be alleviated through receiving care. In the second trimester, women are seen once a month for maintaining the pregnancy balance, or weekly depending on their situation. The use of TCM in the second trimester helps to control symptoms and prevent the following:

Heartburn
Anemia
Hemorrhoids
Constipation
Gestational diabetes
Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Insomnia
Rhinitis of pregnancy
Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) "small for dates"
Musculoskeletal conditions (pelvic pain, round ligament pain, sciatica, low back pain)

Third Trimester care- During this trimester TCM continues to support the structure of the body to provide relief from pain, optimal positioning of the baby and prepare the mother physically and emotionally for labor.  Any conditions remaining from the previous trimesters will continue to be managed (i.e. gestational diabetes, PIH, insomnia etc.).  Women without acute symptoms are seen monthly until 32 weeks then bi-monthly until 36 weeks, then weekly for pre-birth acupuncture, until delivery.  Common conditions that improve with TCM during this period include:

Sciatica
Pelvic pain
Anxiety 
Edema (swelling)
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Breech/posterior presentation
Pre-birth acupuncture
Induction for post due date (ripening for labor)
Labor support/broken waters without contractions/pain management **

**Birth Point Acupuncture Group ( www.birthpoint.org ) may be used for these conditions.   Call (831)429-7676 for the on-call provider.  An on-call Birth Point provider is available for telephone advice (M-F 7 A.M to 9 P.M.) .


Post-partum care –the use of TCM and acupuncture post-partum along with mother warming (AKA " mother roasting") - is beneficial because it helps provide a more complete recovery after birth.  It helps the uterus to return to its pre-pregnant state, control bleeding, reduce fatigue, encourage adequate milk supply, and prevent post-partum depression.  Home visits are encouraged for the first one to two months after delivery to help with following:

Fatigue
Postpartum depression
Postpartum bleeding/discharge
Mastitis (breast infections and clogged milk ducts)
Insufficient or excessive lactation
Post-operative healing
Night sweating/hot flashing

Whole family Care during pregnancy- It is very common for partners and siblings to feel the effects of their partner/mother’s pregnancy.  The stress from the unknown with a first pregnancy can be very troublesome as the non-pregnant partner readies for parenthood.  Partners are encouraged to receive treatment to maintain their well-being during this time.  Some reasons partners and siblings-to-be seek care:

Stress/anxiety
Insomnia
Headaches/neck pain/tight muscles
Tummy aches
Acting out/disruptive behavior
Night terrors
Bed wetting


TCM for Children

Acupuncture and TCM for Children-
TCM has been used for centuries to treat the many conditions of childhood.  Shonishin, a needle-free 
technique, utilizes a series of movements using small
tools to stimulate the qi’s flow through the acupuncture meridians.  At Birth Works Acupuncture this is called “dusting.”  Shonishin combined with herbal therapy and acupressure is sufficient to care for most 
childhood aliments.  In stu
bborn and complicated cases needles may be used, however only in children 12 years or older are they retained for any length of time.  Conditions that respond well to TCM/Acupuncture:
Asthma/allergies
Frequent colds
Digestive complaints/constipation/diarrhea
Diaper rash/yeast infections
Rashes/hives
Anxiety
Night terrors/insomnia
Headaches
Full-moon Shonishin treatments are offered each month to maintain a healthy immune system in the well child
For teens- stress management, hormone balancing, depression