This one’s for all the expectant mothers out there (and those of you with a mama-to-be near and dear to you). You’ve got yourself healthy, you’ve got yourself fertile, you’ve got yourself pregnant. Congrats! You’re now experiencing the miracle of life, play-by-play, unfolding in your body. Awesome! And just maybe amidst this backdrop of wonder, creation, herculean feats of anatomy and physiology, you’re actually feeling like aliens have hijacked your body. The swelling, the back pain, the nausea and the fatigue that many mamas-to-be experience can but a damper on your prenatal glow. Yes, this process is amazing, but for many women it is not easy.
Even for women who have relatively mild symptoms, there is no doubt that pregnancy radically alters the body. The uterus and pelvic ligaments stretch, your breasts gain up to two pounds, and you stew in a hormonal bath that may alter everything from smooth muscle tone (bring on the reflux!) to your sense of smell. It is a lot of change in very short amount of time.
The good news is, that there are a number of safe, natural resources available for women to help increase vitality and reduce discomfort during pregnancy. Chinese medicine, chiropractic care, physical therapy and Maya abdominal therapy all offer relief from symptoms and encourage the body’s healing potential.
As many of you know, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be incredibly effective in supporting fertility as both stand-alone treatments or in conjunction with assisted reproductive technologies. But the support doesn’t end there! You can still safely use acupuncture throughout your 40 weeks to encourage a healthy pregnancy.
Acupuncture, in particular, may help control nausea and fatigue in early pregnancy. Further along in your journey, it can help ease aches, pains and swelling in your limbs. Acupuncture can also help in manage pre-existing conditions such as insomnia and anxiety without the use of pharmaceuticals.
Chinese medicine practitioners may also offer food and lifestyle suggestions for optimal ease and health during pregnancy.
The growth of a fetus causes a significant shift in the shape and position of the pelvic organs and bones. Many women experience lower back pain in the second and third trimester dues to these pelvic changes. The sacroiliac (SI) joint, which connects the base of the spine to the pelvic bones, is particularly vulnerable at this time, and chiropractic care may offer substantial relief from the pain of SI misalignment. Many of my patients have come back from the chiropractor with a bit more lightness in their step and a smile on their faces. My go to resource for chiropractic care in San Francisco is Dr Ricky Fishman, who has helped many of my pregnant patients find relief from SI pain.
In some cases, mother-to-be experience very severe pelvic pain from excess movement of the symphysis pubis, a cartilaginous joint in the front of your body that holds together the two sides of your pelvis. Physical therapy can effectively treat this condition by offering manual therapy as well as stabilization exercises and biomechanical modifications for daily activities.
It’s important, however, to see a Physical Therapist with experience in pelvic pain. The practitioners at The Pelvic Pain and Rehab Center are masters at this work, and have a very informative blogpost about their strategies for pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy.
PT can also help with pelvic floor disorders after childbirth, helping women figure out exactly which muscles need strengthening and which need relaxation, as needed.
Maya Abdominal Therapy
Let’s not forget about post-natal care for mom. Maya Abdominal Therapy can help restore optimal circulation of blood, lymph and qi, and guide the uterus into optimal anatomical position. This non-invasive, external massage on the abdomen and lower back offers new mothers a gentle and nurturing way to thank their bodies for the hard work it has done during pregnancy and birth.
For more information about how these therapies can help you or the pregnant woman in your life, please drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org,or check out these other resources:
Dr Ricky Fishman, DC
Cow Hollow, San Francisco
Pelvic Pain and Rehab Center
San Francisco, Oakland and Los Gatos locations
In good health,