Pregnancy & Postpartum
The first 12 weeks of pregnancy are crucial. While the placenta keeps growing along with your baby until about week 34, the placenta is not fully formed - and not capable of doing its job, until around week 12. Until then, the fetus is being supported mainly by the progesterone being secreted by the corpus luteal. Acupuncture can help maintain a healthy level of progesterone, as well as increasing blood flow to generate a healthy placenta. In addition, acupuncture can help with morning sickness, fatigue, headaches, threatened miscarriage, etc.
By week 12 or so, the placenta takes over and the energy returns and the woman feels much more energetic. The burden of the body to keep producing high levels of progesterone is now over, and the well-formed placenta takes over the amazing task of keeping the fetus healthy. If morning sickness and/or fatigue continues, acupuncture can definitely help. In addition, keeping the mother relaxed is a great gift to the fetus. A monthly visit to keep the mother relaxed is highly recommended.
By the third trimester, roughly around week 27, the baby weighs about 2 lbs. and is around 14 inches long. If born now, the baby would have a very good chance of surviving. As the baby continues to grow, the physical and physiological demand on the mother increases. Some of the conditions that can be seen as a result of this include: low back and/or pelvic pain, pre-eclampsia, late pregnancy (requiring labor induction), breech presentations, etc.
The postpartum period, also known as the fourth trimester, is the period after the delivery of the baby when maternal physiological and anatomical changes return to the nonpregnant state. This period is divided into three arbitrary phases: acute phase - the first 24 hours after delivery of the placenta, early phase – up to 7 days, and late phase – up to 6 weeks to 6 months. During this period, the following conditions can be observed and treated with acupuncture: birth recovery, postpartum bleeding (Lochia), postpartum depression, lactation issues, etc.