Carrying an unborn child is usually a joyful and satisfying experience for a woman. You (and your partner) are looking forward to meeting this miracle of conception and growing your family. But pregnancy is also a time when a woman’s body goes through many changes that can affect your physical and emotional wellbeing. These discomforts are usually caused by new hormonal balances and the growth of your baby.
Health concerns during pregnancy
Here are some of the discomforts many, though definitely not all, pregnant women experience: nausea and vomiting, especially in the first trimester; aversions to the smell and taste of certain foods; food cravings; tiredness and fatigue; burping, belching or heartburn; skin changes; constipation; worsening hemorrhoids, leg swelling or varicose veins; acute and chronic back pain, sciatica, rib side pain, symphysis pubis pain or carpel tunnel pain; gestational diabetes; anemia and nutritional deficiencies; hypertension (pre-eclampsia); anxiety, depression or insomnia; etc.
The good news is that most of these conditions are not life-threatening and are expected to resolve (mostly) on their own after pregnancy. However, conventionally trained physicians and midwifes are hesitant to prescribe medications to relieve many of these concerns because most pharmaceutical drugs have never been shown to be safe during pregnancy and nursing. This is one of the reasons why many pregnant women seek me out for advice and treatment.
Natural therapies for relief of pregnancy discomforts
As a holistic doctor, I primarily recommend and use these three treatment strategies to help women experiencing pain, discomforts and other health concerns during pregnancy: acupuncture, botanical therapy, and homeopathy. All three can be very effective individually or in combination, are safe for most women when chosen by a knowledgeable and experienced provider, and can be cost-effective alternatives to medical interventions to provide comfort throughout this sometimes challenging time.
Acupuncture is particularly effective for relieving pain, such as mid- and low back pain, sciatic pain, headaches and neck pain, rib side pain, symphysis pubis pain, carpel tunnel pain, and foot pain. I avoid points that have a strongly moving or stimulating effect and use gentle needle insertions that have a balancing and calming effect. We also have bolsters and positioning strategies that allow pregnant women to lie comfortably during the treatment so that we can access the most useful acupuncture points. Many of my pregnant patients enjoy the addition of aromatherapy while they’re resting.
Years of studying and using homeopathy, specifically in the context of women’s and children’s health, allow me to recommend a wide range of homeopathic medicines to relieve certain discomforts in pregnancy. I find this approach particularly helpful for heartburn, headaches, anxiety, and sleep issues. Sometimes, a widely available complex medicine provides sufficient relief. At other times, it is necessary to take a more comprehensive homeopathic case to select appropriate individual homeopathic medicines. Homeopathic medicines are very safe and quite affordable.
Most traditional medicines around the world emphasize the use of botanical therapy for a wide range of ailments. With my extensive knowledge of both Chinese herbal medicine and Western naturopathic medicine, I am able to choose botanicals that can help relieve symptoms, regulate digestion, and nourish the pregnant or nursing woman when appropriate. Luckily, we have access to more and more good research and high-quality products today so that we can consider botanical therapy as an alternative to pharmaceutical intervention and as a complement to appropriate nutrition, for example in the case of digestive complaints or to manage gestational diabetes.
Women are longing to experience a natural, healthy pregnancy and childbirth. They go to great length to eat well, avoid stimulants, rest and exercise, and prepare a welcoming home for the baby. Sometimes, things are not perfect or health challenges arise unexpectedly. You don’t have to suffer through this period quietly, though. Discuss your concerns with your physician or midwife and consider adding a holistic doctor to your team, who can support you with natural therapies such as acupuncture, botanical therapy or homeopathy. Feeling well during pregnancy is not a pipe dream.
© 2019 Christiane Siebert