Are you considering utilizing acupuncture during your pregnancy, labor & birth? Check out this guest blog post to get some common questions answered.
We are happy to have Njemile Carol Jones L.Ac.
Fellow, American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine contributing her expertise!
Njemile practices at Body In Balanced Center at 1423 Powhatan Street, Suite 7 Alexandria, VA 22314
You can reach her at 703-887-3783, her website: fertileliving.com or Nejemile at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In my 16 years of practice as a licensed acupuncturist, there is nothing I enjoy more than helping a woman prepare for labor and birth. Thanks to Liz Oldham and the doulas at Balanced Birth Support and others in the DC area, I’ve had wonderful opportunities to offer acupuncture treatments during pregnancy.
In my practice, I treat women throughout their pregnancies — for all kinds of conditions, including nausea and vomiting in the early stages. In the second and third trimesters, acupuncture helps relieve many other discomforts like heartburn, headaches, sleep problems, back pain, edema, and carpal tunnel. The treatments give you a nice, gentle energy boost, and are relaxing enough to relieve day to day stress.
“I can assure you that the treatments are for YOU, to help you create the internal conditions that will support your baby’s birth.”
In the last month of your pregnancy, before your due date, regular acupuncture treatments help prepare your body, mind and spirit for labor. Beginning at week 35 or 36, the treatments are focused on cervical ripening, which encourages your cervix to soften, thin, and gradually open before birth. I gently placie 4 or 6 hair thin, painless acupuncture needles on your forearms and lower legs, while you lie on your side with a fluffy comfortable body pillow, or if you prefer, you can sit upward with strong support for your back and head. Before we begin the treatment, I like to take a few minutes to ask you some questions about your medical history, health during your pregnancy, During the session, you’ll be able to rest comfortably – either lying on your side with a body pillow, or reclined upward with lots of pillows on the massage table. Music and low lighting help create a relaxing atmosphere, where you’ll have some quiet time to connect with your baby. Some women I treat have a restful nap, others experience a deep connection with their baby. I often hear women say that the treatments are gently energizing.
You may be wondering, how can the placement of hair thin acupuncture needles benefit me? Doesn’t acupuncture hurt?!? Will it harm my baby? I can assure you that the treatments are for YOU, to help you create the internal conditions that will support your baby’s birth. We treat you, not the baby. I do my best to honor your baby’s wisdom with supportive treatment, by not forcing contractions nor the onset of labor.
Women I treat once a week for 3 or 4 weeks before their due dates, also tell me that they notice their bodies getting ready for labor, especially as the baby drops, but say the acupuncture treatments help them feel strong and confident. Even at 40 or 41 weeks gestation, the labor preparation treatments encourage the onset of labor. But I only offer these promoting treatments at the appropriate time. Again, these treatments are designed to support the onset of labor, when your cervix is ripe, soft and opening.
Whether you’re pregnant with your first child, or planning for a VBAC, acupuncture treatments are a valuable asset to your birth planning. I’d love to talk with you more.
Author: Liz Oldham
Elizabeth is an experienced birth doula and childbirth educator serving the DC metro area. She is passionate about family centered birthing, believing that families will always remember the support and communication surrounding their births. She currently lives in Virginia with her Husband 4 children and crazy dog.