Traditional Chinese Medicine and our Childbearing Journey: The Trimester, Part 1
For women and men alike
Licensed acupuncturist and herbalist Emma Lee will be following this journey through preconception to postpartum and everything in between. The first 3 months will focus on preconception time, then 2 months for each of the three trimesters, followed by 3 months for postpartum. We will focus on common problems and how Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, and Western Herbal Medicine may help.
Our Childbearing Journey: The First Trimester
When pregnancy is achieved we might feel elated, worried, confused, excited, surprised, or anxious. All of these are normal and in the first trimester there are so many changes taking place in a women’s body that emotions tend to fluctuate a lot. Babies do most of their really important development in the first trimester so it’s also a busy time for them. The most common symptoms I see during this time include:
-Fatigue. Fatigue like you may never have felt before, as in “if I don’t lay down right now and go to sleep I may die”. Continuing with our daily activities can be difficult when we feel this way, and if the option exists to take some extra time off here and there I recommend you do it. This goes for both partners, as there may be some slack to pick up when one of you is having to take naps everyday and going to bed at 8 PM. I have to be honest with you here, the best remedy for fatigue is to listen to your body and rest.
-“Morning” sickness. This is a stupid name because many women will feel nauseous all the time, and especially when they are tired, at night. I have seen a handful of women that do only experience this when they wake up and it is quickly remedied by eating. I have a few tips here and bear with me, the first one sounds wacky but I swear it works!
Tip 1: Put Ume Plum Paste in your belly button. Yes, that sweet and salty dense food found at natural food stores, put that in your belly button and keep it in there with some gauze and bandaids. In Traditional Chinese Medicine each organ has what’s called a functional direction, or the direction its energy moves in when everything is working properly. The stomach energy is supposed to move down, not up, which is what’s happening when we feel nauseous. The plum paste draws this energy back down and really helps with “morning sickness.”
Tip 2: Eat small amounts often. Keeping our blood sugar stable during this time period helps nausea. Oddly, many women develop aversions to foods they once loved and were healthy, such as all vegetables. Your baby will get what they need if you follow your body’s lead, and taking a prenatal vitamin if you can stomach it helps too. I have found that the New Chapter brand of whole food vitamins are the easiest to get down and keep down. So if you’re hungry for bagels and cereal and grapefruit and nothing else, eat those things. This too shall pass.
Tip 3: Acupressure or Acupuncture. There is a point on your inner wrist called Pericardium 6 which helps with nausea when pressed or needled. A special set of wristbands is available that have a little button which presses into this point, these can be helpful. Acupuncture may reduce nausea for at least a few hours which is a nice relief, and if you’re lucky maybe some days.
It is said that the more awful you feel, the better your baby is growing. Take solace in that. If you feel great, consider yourself lucky and your baby is still growing well regardless! Just don’t tell your friend that felt awful during their first trimester how great you feel because they might think you’re a liar or just feel a teensy bit jealous.
Next month we will continue with Part 2: The First Trimester, and discuss breast tenderness, mood swings, the acceptance of having your body taken over by another living being, and how this might affect your relationships.
If you are just catching up with the series now, and wondering how preconception can be positively impacted, check these out:
If you are on a childbearing journey and are interested in personalized support, book online with Emma!