Acupuncture therapy for Pregnancy & Postpartum care

Article by Jihae Ko

Pregnancy, and its process to childbirth is such an extraordinary life experience in woman’s health. During pregnancy, women undergo various physiological, metabolic, anatomical & psychological changes to create a very specific condition for the constant adaptation in order to host a foetus development.

ACUPUNCTURE DURING PREGNANCY

As a preventive medicine, alternative medicine treatments play an important role to support healthy condition of pregnancy and postpartum care. Especially with acupuncture treatment, many researches have been proven the positive outcomes.

In my practice, I have been witnessing and following various pregnancy conditions, I can say without a doubt that it is beneficial to receive acupuncture treatment that can support possible complication symptoms during and after pregnancy. Furthermore, acupuncture sessions allow the pregnant woman to take time to rest and relax in a quiet environment where she can feel safety and trust in her own body with her foetus.

In this article, I would like to introduce how acupuncture can support the different stages of pregnancy & postpartum care.

-First trimester (Conception -12th weeks)

Acupuncture is not recommended in this stage of pregnancy due to avoiding any kind of invasions towards the pregnancy. Some acupuncture points are counter-indicated for pregnancy. They can triger uterine contraction and unnecessary impacts. Any kind of forms of invasive body therapies are not recommended in this stage.

Second trimester (12th to 28th week)

From this stage acupuncture is recommended for maintaining healthy pregnancy as well as supporting possible complication symptoms such as

• Nausea and vomiting
• Reflux and heartburn
• Anxiety, stress and mood swing
• Insomnia
• Fatigue
• Nose bleeds
• Constipation
• Palpitation
• Circulation problems, swelling and heaviness in the legs
• Back, sciatic, abdominal and pelvic pain
• Preterm labour

Third trimester (29th to 40th weeks, till delivery)

In this stage, acupuncture can help with the following symptoms:

• Maintenance of healthy pregnancy
• Aches and pains
• Breech positioning
• Labor preparation

During the last trimester, it is possible for foetus to turn (or not turn) in such a way as to be considered a breech position, i.e. not in the accepted cephalic or head down position. If this happens and you want to avoid a C-section, Traditional Chinese Medicine may offer help in turning the baby.

Moxibustion for breeching positioning

The treatment is generally given between 20 to 39, with week 34 being the optimal time. If treatment is applied after week 38, it is not as effective. Treatment involves the burning of an herb called mugwort (moxa) over a point on the fifth toe.

When it’s time to have the baby, acupuncture helps to reduce stress hormones, dilate and ripen the cervix and prepare the body for labor to start naturally.

Acupuncture for Postpartum care

Ideally acupuncture treatment is also given once a week commencing from 2 weeks postpartum for a total of 3 weeks to promote stamina and recovery. Acupuncture can also be useful at this time to balance emotions, promote perineal healing and help with any breastfeeding problems.

Diet & Herbal medicine

After giving a birth, the first two weeks are important to keep the body warm, avoid going outside and take easy food for digestion. One of the recommended foods in Korean postpartum care is seaweed soup. Seaweed is rich in iodine, calcium, iron and fiber. So it is one of the best foods that can support women’s health after giving a birth and during breastfeeding.

Tonic herbs and herbal medicine formula can also support the recovery of women’s health in this period.

About Jihae Ko

Jihae Ko is an registered acupuncturist, energy therapist and  movement practitioner based in Amsterdam. She explores health of body, mind and spirit by integrating the knowledge of Chinese medicine, energy healing and somatic awareness in her treatment. She helps her clients to feel at rest and assist healing process where clients can connect to their own self- healing capacity.

She grew up with Traditional Korean Medicine; her father is a life long Korean medicine practitioner in South Korea. Initially she worked as a professional dancer and choreographer. She brings years of body knowledge into her practice. Her work embodies a holistic healing and somatic awareness approach to alternative medicine practice.

She is a co-owner of Medicine Body Studio in Amsterdam.