The health of the parents at the time of conception translates directly into the quality of the child’s constitution. 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.
Traditional Chinese medicine is particularly concerned with the balance of yin and yang, qi (energy) and blood during the pregnancy at which time the woman’s body changes radically.
Through the different stages of pregnancy, the body may experience numerous signs and symptoms including nausea, vomiting, tiredness, lower back and hip pain, swollen legs and ankles, insomnia, iron deficiency and leg cramps, etc.
The body will also experience many physical changes such as uterus size and shape, hormone levels will shift, circulation – the direction of the flow of blood alters the heart causing it to work harder. As well, the body will experience changes to the fatty tissue and muscle.
In Traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture, the health and illness are described in terms of the relationships between certain substances and functions within the body. A person’s health is assessed according to all symptoms experienced, including mental, emotional and physical.
As a result, certain parts of the body (organs and meridians) need to work harder such as the Liver, Spleen, Stomach and Kidney in order to ensure adequate circulation to the uterus.
Reproductive health in women depends primarily on the energetic function of the Kidney, Liver and Spleen. These energetic organs differ in function from the anatomical organs of western medicine.
The Kidneys store prenatal essence or “jing” and govern growth, development and reproduction.
The Liver stores the blood, moves blood during menstruation, regulates the flow of qi (energy) in the body and keeps a balanced emotional state.
The Spleen, which is the main digestive organ in Chinese medicine, produces qi (energy) and blood from the food we eat and ensures that blood flows within its normal pathways (meridians).
An imbalance in the functioning of these organs can lead to reproductive disorders in women and discomforts during pregnancy and birth. It is recommended that a woman planning on becoming pregnant addresses any current irregularities in menstruation before conceiving, as doing so may help avoid discomforts during pregnancy.
Once pregnant, a woman’s physiology shifts. Menstruation stops, causing the qi (energy) and blood to accumulate in the uterus. As a result, the Spleen is under greater demand to produce and supply blood and qi to help secure her pregnancy. The Kidney lends its essence to the development of the fetus and the liver blood nourishes the uterus.
Later in pregnancy, “heat” in the body becomes common with the feeling of excessive warmth, as well as having excessive thirst, irritability, flushing, insomnia, anxiety, hypertension, night sweats, heartburn or constipation.
Qi and blood stagnation can cause symptoms such as pain, numbness, swelling, reflux, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath or mental depression
A root cause of both “heat” and stagnation is often qi and blood deficiency which can also cause fatigue.
As complicated as it may sound, it is actually quite simple. The bottom line is that during pregnancy disharmony occur within specific organs mentioned above. Because of these disharmonies or imbalances, symptoms will occur. Traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture work towards bringing about balance.
Acupuncture uses points along the channels and meridians to regulate and boost the function of these energetic organs, thus bringing relief of these symptoms. Also, by resting and eating easily digested and nourishing foods, and lowering the stress level, the expected mom can support the increased need for reserves of qi and blood and to aid in the circulation more effectively – thus experiencing a more pleasant pregnancy.
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