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Acupuncture and Acupressure for Pregnancy

Acupuncture and Acupressure for Pregnancy by Grace Ganel, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., C.Z.B.

Anecdotally, it seems like pregnant people abound these days. Now that vaccinations have rolled out, it feels as though many younger people are seizing the opportunity of increased safety from the pandemic to press play on their family planning. Did you know that acupuncture and acupressure are wonderful complementary therapies for pregnancy? From morning sickness to constipation, bloating to insomnia, Chinese medicine has a point for that!

Note that this blog post does not replace medical intervention or individual assessment. Particularly if you are experiencing severe vomiting many times per day, or if you have not had a bowel movement for 4 days, please contact your medical provider right away, as these can be signs of serious problems. If you are pregnant and develop flu-like symptoms, please contact your medical provider immediately – some infections can be very dangerous to the fetus, and it’s important that you are screened for these right away if you’re feeling sick!

Morning sickness

This affliction can happen all day all the way up through week 16. Eating frequent, small, complex meals (i.e. not just crackers. Have some pasteurized cheese on that cracker. Have a bit of nut butter with your apple slices) can help hold off the queasiness. Staying hydrated is also very important, especially if you are experiencing vomiting. You can talk to your provider about whether you need electrolytes. Barring that, eating a balanced diet and drinking enough water for you (which might be more than before you were pregnant!) should go a long way towards helping you to feel better throughout the day.

In Chinese Medicine, morning sickness is a sign of “rebellious Qi,” which means the energy, in this case of the Stomach channel, is not moving in the correct direction. The Stomach Qi is supposed to move downwards, but nausea and vomiting are upward movements. Points that help with morning sickness very gently encourage the healthy flow of Stomach Qi.

For morning sickness, you can try gentle acupressure on Bridge Gate

You can find this point half-way between your belly button and the bottom of your breastbone, at the edge of the ab muscles (about one hand-width away from your mid-line). Massage this point gently (slow, steady, small amount of pressure) to help gently pull the energy of the Stomach back down.

You can also ask a support person to very gently run their fingers down the outsides of your shin bones. When you’re feeling nauseated, it often doesn’t feel great to bend down! But phone-a-friend to very gently stimulate these points in a downward motion to ease the queasies. If the acupressure doesn’t help right away, skip these points and get in my schedule so we can find a good solution for your specific concerns!