Pregnancy, though well documented and medically “understood”, is still largely a subjective and unique experience. Ask one woman for her experience, and her face will light up as she breathily reports, eyes glazed with starry wonder, how mystical and wonderful the experience was. And yet her neighbor will pipe up, the memory still alive in her every inch of her battle-scarred loins, that labor was the most horrific and life-threatening ordeal she has ever experienced. Variance of personal experience aside, there are some concrete ways the holistic health can benefit your pregnancy.
Massage, whether from your partner or from a professional, has been found to lower stress hormones in pregnant mothers, and thereby positively affecting birth weights. Massage, specifically in the second trimester, was also found to reduce pain and swelling, reduce depression, and encourage sleep for the expectant mothers. Beyond massage’s proven ability to help both mother and baby, it simply feels good and allows the opportunity for relaxation.
Pregnancy, by its very nature, should be a joyous and life-affirming event. However, for some expectant mothers, the extreme hormone fluctuations, pre-existing conditions or other health concerns can lead to depression and depressive symptoms. Acupuncture has been found to significantly reduce the symptoms of depression in expectant mothers. Reducing depression symptoms in the mother not only makes for a more enjoyable pregnancy, but a healthier environment for a sensitive young baby. Depressed mothers have higher levels of cortisol and norepinephrine and lower levels of dopamine, and the babies’ hormone levels are correspondingly affected. These stress hormones are related to reduced neurological development in the baby, which may lead to learning problems, psychiatric issues and developmental delays as the child ages.Acupuncture helps reduce these hormones in both the mothers’, and consequently, the babies’ systems. Acupuncture can also be used to help induce overdue babies naturally and to help turn a breech baby.
As nature’s incubators, pregnant women have to realize that what they eat, to a large extent, “Junior” eats. Every mother wants to make the best possible choices for their offspring possible, but imagine if your diet were to be restricted to what you can keep down? Nausea and vomiting, commonly referred to as “morning sickness” (despite its frequent ubiquitous nature), is especially common in the first trimester of pregnancy. The use of herbs has been found to significantly reduce nausea and vomiting in clients without any unwanted side effects.Ginger has been found particularly helpful and is safe to take while pregnant. It can be easily administered as a tea to help curb nausea.
There are many modalities of alternative medicine that help promote a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child; these are but a few. An exploration into the world of holistic health, especially during such an important transitional time, is very rewarding, and well worth the efforts.
It is a proven fact that the majority of women will suffer from back pain or sciatica during their pregnancy. Chiropractic care during pregnancy is a safe and effective technique to help reduce back pain, speed up delivery times and assist in preparation for labor. The Webster Technique is a common technique used among chiropractors to help prepare the pelvis for labor and aid in getting the baby in the proper position for delivery. Prenatal exercises prescribed by a chiropractor can also be helpful in the prevention of low back pain and to prepare the mom and baby for delivery. Chiropractic care is a safe, natural and effective part of prenatal care.