Your pregnancy is often a time of great excitement and anticipation. It’s a journey of transformation and wonder, until…it’s not. Your body is changing to accommodate the growth of your baby and upcoming labour, delivery and breastfeeding. Sometimes uncomfortable stuff crops up that can put a damper on your excitement, but at BodaHealth, we’re here to help. The most common issues associated with pregnancy include:
- Backache. Your expanding uterus and changing center of gravity often puts pressure on your low back and sciatic nerve. This can translate into low back pain and/or sciatic pain that’s deep and achy and radiates down one or both legs.
- Constipation. A couple of things are happening here. Your bowel function slows down to ensure you’re absorbing enough nutrients for you and your baby. In addition, rising levels of the hormone progesterone relax the smooth muscles of your small and large intestine. However, sometimes things slow down a little too much, causing constipation, discomfort and reabsorption of toxins.
- Edema. This is the build-up of water in your tissues that causes swelling of your feet, ankles, hands and wrists. Edema happens because the growing fetus causes enough pressure to force water into your tissues. In addition, progesterone causes your body to retain water. Together, this can cause swelling in your extremities, sometimes to the point of numbness when the swelling puts pressure on certain nerves. A common swelling/nerve issue during pregnancy is carpal tunnel syndrome, when the swelling puts pressure on the median nerve in your wrist, causing numbness, pain and tingling in your hand.
- Mood swings and emotional symptoms. Feeling weepy, irritable, nervous, anxious or sad? You’re not alone—major hormonal shifts can play havoc with your emotions.
- Nausea and vomiting. While this typically is an issue in the earlier months of your pregnancy due to hormonal shifts, for some women it can persist past the first trimester.
- Heartburn or acid reflux. As your uterus expands, it pushes upward onto the diaphragm and stomach. The result? Heartburn, acid reflux and slow digestion. Ugh.
- Fatigue. Your body is building a baby, and that’s a lot of work which can make you tired. And if you’re not sleeping well it can compound your fatigue.
While these issues can arise, it’s important to know that it’s also common to go through pregnancy with little or minor discomfort. Whether you have nuisances or major issues, the good news is our team at BodaHealth is ready to help. We offer a number of treatments that can help ease your way through your pregnancy, and follow evidence-based research on the safety of using each therapy during pregnancy. They include:
-Acupuncture. A great deal of research on both the physiological changes and clinical effects of acupuncture concludes that it can help with muscle and nerve pain, balancing hormones, depression, anxiety and mood issues. Acupuncture is also an effective way to treat fatigue, sluggish digestion and heartburn.
-Chinese herbal medicine. Each herb exerts certain actions, such as metabolizing water, supporting and moving digestion and calming your emotions. Your practitioner combines several herbs into a formula to fit your specific needs. An herbal formula is a good way to support and extend the healing properties of your acupuncture treatment at home.
-Cold laser treatments. This is a gentle therapy involving light that penetrates deep into your tissues to stimulate healing at the cellular level. Cold laser can be used for aches and pains, nerve pain and a number of other health concerns.
-Nutritional therapy. What you eat is important, and during your pregnancy, it’s more so. Not only are you growing a baby, but eating the right foods can help minimize some of your pregnancy-related issues. Our acupuncture practitioners are well-schooled in Chinese dietary therapy, and as an extra bonus, we have a holistic nutritionist on staff!
-Naturopathic medicine. At BodaHealth, our naturopathic doctor is ready to help assess and treat any issues that arise. In addition to diet, nutritional issues and lifestyle, they can run lab tests and prescribe pharmaceutical medications if necessary.
-Massage therapy. Pregnancy massage is a unique focus for many of our therapists. They’re trained and experienced in working with pregnant patients to help relieve symptoms and make your pregnancy more comfortable.
At BodaHealth, our goal is not just to help you become pregnant, but to support you through every phase of your pregnancy journey. We understand that as exciting as this time can be, it can also come with some challenges. If you want to know more about how we can help you during your pregnancy, please give our clinic a call.
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Registered Acupuncturist in Vancouver. She is also a Registered Herbologist and the founder of BodaHealth.