Acupuncture for Healthy Pregnancy and Postpartum Care

PreggersIn our work with women eager to conceive, we are well aware of the power of acupuncture for balancing the body and aiding in establishing the ideal conditions for conception. Western medicine is even catching up with recent studies at the University of Maryland showing that when acupuncture is used to complement in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures,  there is improved rates of pregnancy.  But we knew that!

So what about once you’re pregnant? There are a lot of fears for expectant and first time mothers to juggle when it comes to their new little ones but when it comes to acupuncture, performed by a qualified and licensed acupuncturist,  there needn’t be any concern. In fact, as we’ve seen our practice, acupuncture is one of the safest ways to combat some of the toughest health issues facing pregnant and postpartum women.

Why Acupuncture in Pregnancy?

Why not?

Besides the fact that science is finally backing up what the Chinese have known for thousands of years, you can feel the benefits for yourself — without risk. Because this treatment is a natural, holistic approach, you don’t have to worry about dangerous side effects and possible drug interactions affecting the well-being of your unborn child.

Acupuncture treatments have proven effective for:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • GERD (reflux or heartburn)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Insomnia
  • Stress/anxiety/depression
  • Constipation
  • Preterm labor
  • Breech baby

For best results, we recommend you begin treatment early and continue on monthly, during pregnancy,  increasing your sessions upon advice of your acupuncturist, as you near the end of your term. These visits help to prepare the body for labor, tonifying and balancing energy as well as optimizing the baby’s position, softening the cervix and readying you and the baby for birth. Following a protocol like this can make pregnancy more pleasant, calm and energized and childbirth easier, even extending to shorter labor times.

When used in conjunction with recommendations from your Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN), acupuncture becomes one of the building blocks (along with diet and lifestyle changes, herbal remedies and supplements) of your and your baby’s health during and post-pregnancy. Allowing you to have the healthiest, most natural pregnancy and postpartum period possible.acupuncture

After your baby is born, acupuncture can help ease the nerves of new motherhood and is extremely effective in aiding milk production. It is also helpful in reducing:

  • Postpartum depression
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Uterine infections
  • Fatigue

All of which, helps your body return, more quickly to its normal state of health.

Pregnancy and childbirth can take a toil on a woman’s body, make sure you take YOU into consideration in this equation. Every new Mama needs to focus on herself as well as the new baby — taking time to relax, breath, nourish herself with healthful foods and pleasant sensations (warm baths, soothing music, refreshing walks) as she integrates her new life, with the old. Acupuncture can also provide that quiet space and time necessary to rejuvenate.

If you’d like to learn more about acupuncture as part of your pregnancy, birth plan or postpartum care call or visit our office to schedule an appointment at 503.223.3741.




Breast Feeding Decreases Illness Risk

Breastfeeding IllustrationBabies who are exclusively breast-fed for at least the first 15 weeks of life have less respiratory illness during childhood. Those children tended to have lower blood pressure and were leaner than those who were started on solid food before four months of age.

The findings add to previous evidence of a link between adult disease and nutritional factors in the womb and during infancy.

As to weight, children who had been given solids before 15weeks were significantly heavier by age 7 than those given solids at 15 weeks or later, the researcher states. They also note that the percentage of body fat was greater among children who were started on solids earlier.
British Medical Journal (1998;316:21-25)

10 Ways to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply

Fenugreek Herb

Fenugreek Herb

1. Water: Drinking plenty of water is a direct way to increase your milk supply. Typically mothers who are breastfeeding need to increase their water consumption by one quart per day, totaling 2.5 to 3 quarts per day.

2. Oatmeal: Oats are a common lactogenic food. Start your day with a big bowl of oatmeal.

3. Fenugreek: Fenugreek can be taken in capsule (2-3 capsules 3x/day) or tincture form, and typically increase breast milk supply within 1-2days. Note: Fenugreek is often sold in combination with thyme—I recommend using the capsules of fenugreek alone.

4. Blessed Thistle: Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek work better when taken together. Blessed Thistle is also found in capsule (2-3 capsules 3x/day) or tincture form and is a galactogogue as well.

5. Mother’s Milk Tea: there are a variety of different herbal teas that help stimulate the production of breast milk. My personal favorite is “Milkmaid Tea” by EarthMamaBabyAngel. See

6. Brewer’s Yeast: aka ‘Nutritional Yeast’. 1-2 Tbsp/day added to food or water (it is bitter!!). Brewer’s yeast contains chromium, selenium and B Vitamins (except it does not contain B12). Brewer’s yeast is a natural food source that has immune enhancing, anti-oxidant, and wound healing properties.

7. Sleep: Sleep is essential to optimal health, and recovery post partum. Breast pumping offers a lovely solution to allow your partner to take over a feed and allow for you to sleep, recover and heal.

8. Breastfeed or Breast Pump more Frequently: Your body creates breast milk due to basic “supply and demand”. The more stimulation the breasts have, the more milk your body will attempt to supply. In the first few weeks post partum, I recommend breast-pumping 10-15minutes after breast-feeding, to bring in your milk, prevent painful engorgement and increase your milk supply to help your newborn baby grow!

9. Relaxation: Relaxing while breastfeeding or breast pumping is integral in how much milk your body produces. If you are pumping, try not to look and tally how much milk you are making during the process, so that your body stays nice and relaxed and your milk is able to properly let down.

10. Prescription Drugs: After speaking with your Doctor, you may decide that prescription drugs are necessary for your situation. However, make sure you check and understand all side effects before taking this route. The presence of an appropriate level of the hormone prolactin permits lactation to proceed normally. There are several prescription drugs that have been used to increase milk supply: Metoclopramide (Raglan), Domperidone (Motilium), and Sulpride (Eglonyl, Dolmatil, Sulpitil, Sulparex, Equemote).

Dr. Meaghan H. Woodruff ND, LAc