The month of May is full of beauty, with the blooming of flowers, the warmth of the Spring sun, and the opportunity to tell the mother’s of the world how much they are appreciated and loved. In honor of Mother’s Day, this article is dedicated to all mother’s.
I am not aware of the day that my mother become a mom, but through her telling, it began long before I was actually born, nine months to be exact. My mother was young, and me, being her first pregnancy, she had know idea how to take care of her changing body and her growing fetus. She did know, however, that she loved me more than she could ever have fathomed and knew that in order for her to have a healthy baby, she needed to take care of herself with good nutrition, vitamins, quality sleep, and exercise.
Many women are not aware that there health prior to becoming pregnant is as important has their health during pregnancy. In Chinese Medicine, a woman needs to prepare a healthy womb before becoming pregnant so that the growing fetus has an environment where it can thrive and grow.
Supporting Our Essence Through Food
Daverick Leggett, in his book, Helping Ourselves, A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics, he posits that:
Essence provides the physical basis for life itself, the root stock which supports and conditions our growth and development. It is partly inherited from our parents, partly cultivated and stored through lifestyle, eating and drinking. Our Jing [Essence] is considered to be a highly precious substance, which, like an inheritance, should not be squandered… When Essence is strong the deep vitality of the body carries us through life. Children develop normally; adults are ensured of their fertility and age gracefully. Someone with strong Essence has a strong constitution, overcomes illness or injury easily and has good stamina.
Chinese Medicine recommends the following foods that are particularly nourishing to our Essence:
Almond Egg Pollen Walnut
Artichoke leaf Kidney Mussel Royal Jelly
Bone marrow Liver Nettle Seaweed
Chicken Microalgae Oyster Sesame seed
Preparing the Oven for the Bun
The health of the parents at the time of conception translates directly into the quality of the child’s constitution. Traditionally, the nine-month period of pregnancy was a time for the parents to focus on nurturing the developing baby. The mother is physically and spiritually the vessel into which the unborn child is placed, and so her state of health in every way is of the greatest importance.
In Chinese Medicine, the preparing of the womb begins with eating foods that warm the uterus. The old pregnancy expression “a bun in the oven” is all to real in Chinese Medicine. The womb of the mother needs to be warm, so that the fetus can develop properly. It is important to remove dampness and phlegm from the body prior to pregnancy, so that the mother’s body is healthy and ready to carry a baby. A healthy mother means a healthy womb, and a healthy womb means a healthier baby.
Chinese Medicine recommends pre-pregnancy women (those trying to become pregnant) and pregnant women to eat warming foods to remove cold, dampness, and phlegm. Below is a list of some warming foods:
turnip vinegar Wine (sparingly) goat
sorghum soya oil spearmint goat milk
nutmeg onion peach lamb kidney
kohlrabi lychee logan mutton
amasake basil coriander seed shrimp
ginger root black beans aduki beans chicken
lentils cinnamon bark cloves beef
basil rosemary oats lamb
spelt quinoa sunflower seed mussel
sesame seed walnuts pine nuts trout
chestnuts fennel dill anchovy
anise carraway carob pod date
cumin sweet brown rice parsnip hot pepper
parsley mustard greens winter squash butter
cabbage kale onion cherry
leek chive seed garlic citrus deal
According to Pamela Wartian smith, MD, MPH: Your diet can also effect your ability to get pregnant and how healthy your child may be. Low-fat diets are to be avoided. If your body’s fat content falls below 20 to 22 percent, it can influence your ability to have a baby. Being severely overweight also affects pregnancy rates.
Acupuncture corrects imbalances and blockages of what Chinese Medicine refers to as Qi (pronounced CHEE), the flow of vital energy through meridian pathways in our bodies. Regardless of whether a woman is trying to become pregnant or has no plans to become pregnant, acupuncture is essential for female hormonal health and the well being of the entire body, mind, and spirit.
In women, regular acupuncture treatments stimulate the production of follicles by the ovaries. Medical studies have shown how acupuncture treatments also improve the thickness of the uterine lining and facilitate embryo implantation. That’s why fertility acupuncture is often recommended to women who had a number of miscarriages or that are going through cycles of in vitro fertilization treatments.
Preparing the body with acupuncture pre-pregnancy helps to ensure a healthy and nourished environment for a new life to grow.
When interviewing Jayne Dabu, M.S.A.O.M., L.Ac., Dipl.AC., Owner and Acupuncturist of Lotus Acupuncture and Holistic Health Clinic in Virginia Beach, VA., she strongly urged women who were seeking to become pregnant, to start with acupuncture well before they plan to conceive. She also points out that it is very important for pregnant mothers to come in for regular acupuncture, to give their baby the best possible advantage and, to ensure the health of the mother.
Acupuncture During Pregnancy:
Acupuncture is recommended at a minimum of once a month to ensure optimal health of the mother and the developing fetus. Naomi Rabinowitz MD, Dipl. Ac., in her article ‘Acupuncture and Pregnancy,’ points out that, “tradition has it that Zhubin (K9), the ‘beautiful baby point’, should be needled at the end of the third and sixth months to ensure a happy, healthy, and of course, gorgeous baby. The Chinese name for the point means ‘guest house’”.
During pregnancy, many conditions may arise, that are effectively treated by acupuncture:
- Psychological issues
- Physical problems
- Morning sickness
- Back pain and Sciatica
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Rhinitis of Pregnancy
Nearing Due date:
- Breech position
- Induction for post due date
A note on Breech presentation: In Chinese Medicine, there is a technique for turning a fetus that is in the breech position, i.e., feet first. This technique is most effective usually during the 28th through the 36th week of pregnancy. The treatment for turning a breech baby into a head down position uses a non-toxic herb called “moxa”, which comes in stick form and is burned and allowed to smolder to generate heat to certain acupuncture points.
Important to note: Acupuncture is used during labor, itself, to reduce pain and boost energy. It can also help stimulate contractions without the use of drugs.
Other Acupuncture Considerations During Pregnancy
It is very important for women who plan to become pregnant or who are already pregnant, to receive acupuncture from a well trained, board certified practitioner because there are some acupuncture points that are traditionally forbidden to do during the nine months gestation.
Labor and Post-Pregnancy
According, to the Traditional Chinese Medicine WORLD FOUNDATION:
TCM views childbirth as a “gateway,” a door into a uniquely different and potentially enhanced state of health and being. A woman’s body and mind are undergoing tremendous changes at these times. Once a child is born, a woman’s body is very open. After childbirth a woman can be weakened, but if particular care is taken, it can also be an opportunity for her to be strengthened. A great emphasis must be placed on taking very good care of the new mother.
The month-long period after birth is called ‘zuo yue zi’ (literally, ‘sit this month’). During this time, the new mother should relax and do as little as possible. Because the mother is the primary source of nourishment for the child, she should be nurtured so that she can provide the very best care for the child.
Traditional Chinese Medicine states that after child birth mothers should avoid all cold things, such as, cold foods and drinks, air-conditioning, and other activities that will draw warmth from the body. New mothers should get plenty of rest and continue to receive acupuncture and take herbal supplements. Rebuilding the body is vital in a mother’s health and beneficial for nursing babies.
Acupuncture for the New Mother
Mothers need a lot of care after giving birth. The blood loss, energy depletion, and stress that is put on a mother’s body during labor weakens the mother’s Qi. Acupuncture, along with blood building foods and herbs will help to strengthen Qi and build blood in the body.
Acupuncture for Postpartum disorders
- Postpartum vaginal discharge
- Postpartum Depression
- Insufficient or Excessive Lactation
- Post operative healing
Quotes For Mothers:
“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” ~Rajneesh
“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty
Article written by: Melissa Linger for Lotus Acupuncture and Holistic Health Clinic