There are lots of things you may struggle with during pregnancy, so you may be wondering whether acupuncture can help. Are there risks associated with it? What are the potential benefits?
As you probably know, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine aimed at clearing the body’s pathways (meridians) of energy (qi), so that the person can experience better health. Many people swear by its effectiveness, although many Americans can’t get over the idea of having a bunch of needles stuck into your body as a way of making you feel better. So, is it worth trying it out during pregnancy?
Some folks say that acupuncture can help with morning sickness, fatigue, breech positioning of the babe, and can shorten labor time. Unfortunately, the folks who say this are usually acupuncturists, and their livelihoods depend on people buying in. Some people do seem to have found some relief from their negative pregnancy symptoms with acupuncture, although this may be a placebo effect. Since there aren’t any clear-cut studies about the effectiveness of acupuncture, all we are left with is anecdotal evidence. That being said, it is drug-free, and if you are really struggling, it might be worth a try. It seems that the main goal of acupuncture is to help a person relax, so helping the body relax may in turn help with those other symptoms.
It also looks like it may not have any negative side-effects, so if it doesn’t work out to help your symptoms, it may not hurt to try! The main damage will be to your wallet. Treatments can be quite pricey, especially if the acupuncturist recommends ongoing treatment. Some health insurance plans cover alternative therapies like acupuncture, but most don’t, so you will likely be paying entirely out of pocket.
If you are unsure, talk to your GP or your OB/GYN to see what they have to say, or if they have an acupuncturist they can refer you to. Modern acupuncture claims to work best in tandem with modern western medicine, so both approaches should be complementary to one another. You could try both modern western methods as well as the ancient eastern methods and see which works best for you, or if both work together!
Pregnancy is tough on a woman’s body, so it’s never a bad idea to try to find therapies that will help your body feel strong and healthy, and help to maintain a positive mental state. Taking time out of your regular life to lie down and be cared for (whether by an acupuncturist, massage therapist, chiropractor, or other practitioner) will almost always help you to relax and feel rejuvenated. Your best bet is to find one that works for your disposition, your body, and your wallet.
Words of parenting advice should often be taken with a grain of salt, especially when those tips come from others who don’t have children of their own. Even child raising experts sometimes fall into this category. All things being equal, the best advice comes from others who’ve already experienced similar situations. Here’s what we’ve found:
- You’ve likely entertained thoughts that you’ll be able to hold on to your treasured ideals. Some of these probably include believing that your child will never eat in front of the television; you’ll never bribe the children so they’ll be quiet; your children take first priority with your time constraints and you’ll never wave them off; other children are no basis for comparison; you’ll never ponder how things would’ve turned out if you’d remained childless; you just want them to be happy; you’ll never wish for a minimalist, neat, tidy house; you’ll never hate always getting up early because you can’t sleep with all the noise your child is making.
After you’ve done this, you’ll love your children for who they really are, enjoying them and realizing that they truly are one of the greatest things that happened to you. Later, when you’re retired and take you out for dinner, you’ll reminisce on how you raised them, you won’t regret a second of it.
- When you’re pregnant, you’ll probably say to yourself, “our baby will fit in to our lives perfectly. We’ll live as we’ve always lived”. You can forget it; your lifestyles are forever changed.
- Your lives over the next couple years will feel almost like an ongoing hangover. There’s nothing to worry about. Just roll it, and even try to enjoy it – it’ll be worth it later. Avoid listening to parenting experts that recommend you raise your children like puppies… the ones that say you need to open the bedroom curtains at 7:30am every day. Respond to your newborn’s needs as necessary. Try to ignore the hangover feeling and show them all the love you can.
- 4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. As long as both you and your little ones are in relatively clean clothes (for home use, clothes permanently marked by baby food, juice and spit-up stains are perfectly fine and in almost all cases, the usual), they are fed, happy and healthy you are doing great as a parent.
- Finally, the two pieces of advice that any new parent really needs to know: It’s fine to make mistakes. Most of those errors are minor and will have no bearing on their long term well-being. Secondly, the idea that you’ll only use washable cloth diapers is hogwash. In the event your washer breaks down, your child messes herself in a public place, or you’re not good at keeping up with laundry, you’ll be relying on disposable diapers anyhow.
Keep in mind each child is different and will always bring forth separate experiences, even within your own family. Raise them however you think is right.
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For as far back as anyone can remember, mothers have taught daughters everything they know about pregnancy and how to get pregnant. While the voice of experience is always useful, it’s also important to remember that your mom became pregnant a long time ago (in most cases). Some things seem to stick in her memory more than others, and not all of what sticks is always the stuff you really need to know.
Here are some things your mom may not have told you about getting pregnant:
- Pregnancy tests can get very expensive. Pregnancy tests on the shelf at your local drug store can be pricey. In many cases, you can get a package of test strips for less than the cost of a single pregnancy test. If you’re trying to conceive, you should shop around a bit.
- Pregnancy tests also come in different sensitivities. Some pregnancy tests look for lower levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – the pregnancy hormone. A more sensitive test can predict pregnancy earlier than a less sensitive test.
- Don’t listen to too many pregnancy stories. It’s fun, at least in the beginning, to read others’ accounts of trying to get pregnant, the pregnancy process and even their labor and delivery experience. However, in many cases, what makes these good stories is that they’re exceptional; there are elements you probably won’t experience during a “typical” pregnancy.
- Morning sickness might not be like mom remembers it. Sure, about two third of women do experience some degree or another of morning sickness. But not everyone does, and having it or not doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or your baby. On the other hand, you might not realize that morning sickness can get so severe as to actually keep you from taking in food or liquids. This condition, known as hyperemesis gravidarum, requires immediate medical attention and may mean hospitalization.
- Epidurals and cesarean sections aren’t always the best choice. It’s taken some time, but over the past few decades there’s more of a trend toward natural childbirth and treating C-sections as a last resort, as opposed to a preferred method of childbirth. Sure, natural childbirth is going to hurt, but there are all sorts of things you can do to alleviate some of the pain. In the end, you’ll probably be happier with the experience.
- Your partner can play an active role in childbirth. Here’s another trend that’s changed over the past several decades. Your partner can (and probably should) be in the birthing room with you. He can be a wonderful source of emotional support and help. Many partners, of course, serve as a childbirthing coach or Lamaze partner.
- You’re going to have mixed emotions about becoming a mom. There will be times that the thought of having a child scares you to death, right up until the time you actually give birth. This uncertainty is normal, although it’s something parents are often loathe to tell their children about.
So, what about you? Is there advice your mom gave you that, in retrospect, probably doesn’t apply? What good advice did she give you?
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if you’re pregnant, particularly in the first trimester. The first thing you’ll notice is a missed or late menstrual cycle, but there are lots of things that can cause that. You’ll want to be on the lookout for other symptoms.
Here’s a look at the ten most common early pregnancy signs:
- Morning Sickness. If you experience morning sickness, don’t worry. It’s a positive sign that the fetus is healthy. Although it’s called morning sickness, nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy could happen any time of day.
- Enlarged Breasts and Waistline. Your waistline increases because it’s building extra fat stores in order to provide nutrition before birth. At the same time, your breasts are preparing to produce milk for breastfeeding.
- Stretch Marks. Pregnancy causes your body to increase your size quickly. This rapid change causes stretch marks to appear, most often in the abdomen.
- Urination Frequency. The womb is located close to your bladder. As the fetus grows, it puts pressure on the bladder and increases how often you urinate.
- Varicose Veins. Your uterus places pressure on the large vein on the right side of your body as it grows. In turn, this increases pressure in the leg veins. This results in those veins showing more prominently.
- Fatigue. Your body is going through a number of modifications at once. This causes a feeling of fatigue and can sometimes lead to minor bouts of depression.
- Depression. Between the effects of fatigue, decreased energy and increased hormone levels, your emotional state may become slightly unstable.
- Constipation. You produce progesterone during the first trimester. This hormone tends to relax the digestive tract. In effect, your food digests slower and causes constipation.
- Excessive Gas. Another effect of progesterone, bloating is caused by a buildup of excess gas. Your body needs to release the gas through various bodily functions.
- Vaginal Discharge. Increased blood flow to the vagina and a rise in estrogen levels are part of the cause of this symptom, also known as leucorrhea. The other reason for this discharge is your body cleaning the birthing canal.
You may feel that your body isn’t quite right and may write it off as food poisoning or a cold. However, paying attention to early pregnancy symptoms can give you enough time to get your body ready to give birth to a healthy baby.
Prenatal vitamins are an essential part of your pregnancy. Chances are you’ve heard lots of people – from your health care provider to your neighbors to the clerk at the grocery store – tell you just how important they are.
Yet, it’s also important to understand exactly what you’re getting in a prenatal vitamin. What’s in there that’s so important for your health and the health of your baby?
Let’s take a look at what makes up the typical prenatal vitamin:
- Folic Acid. The typical prenatal vitamin has between 400 and 800 micrograms of folic acid. The CDC recommends that all women of child bearing age get at least 400 micrograms of folate a day, mainly because our modern diets are very low in this substance. Folic acid can help to prevent birth defects, especially those related to neural tube problems. The highest risk for developing those defects is within four weeks of conception, which means if you’re trying to conceive you should consider taking a folic acid supplement or preconception vitamin early.
- Calcium. As your baby’s body develops, it needs calcium to grow bones. At the same time, you need extra calcium to keep your bones strong. The typical prenatal vitamin contains 250 milligrams of calcium.
- Vitamin D. Most prenatal vitamins have 400 IU of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium, making it essential to bone development for your baby and bone strength for you.
- Iron. Iron is essential to preventing a number of different birth defects. Most prenatal vitamins have 30 milligrams of Iron. The iron in prenatal vitamins can aggravate morning sickness for some women, however.
- Vitamin C. This vitamin helps your immune system stay strong, helping to keep infection and other problems from your baby. A prenatal vitamin usually has 50 milligrams of Vitamin C.
- Copper and Zinc. These two minerals are both thought to help with the development of your baby’s organs. A prenatal vitamin typically has 2 milligrams of the former and 1 milligrams of the latter.
If you’re concerned about whether or not your baby is getting the nutrients she needs, talk to your doctor about your prenatal vitamin and your diet.
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About Circle + Bloom
The programs that Circle + Bloom creates are based on research that shows that visualization and relaxation can play a major role in overall health, including reproductive health. They have many different programs available that deal with various issues surrounding your ability to get pregnant including Natural Cycle, PCOS, IVF and ART and much more.