At this point in pregnancy, most women feel they’ve cleared a hurdle and begin to feel like themselves again. Morning sickness can persist but generally becomes less intense, and energy level also improves. A few new issues may pop up during the second trimester that acupuncture can help a lot with. Migraines and headaches, common in pregnancy, respond beautifully to acupuncture treatment. Usually, once weekly sessions is enough to keep them completely at bay. Some women begin to experience nasal congestion as well. My favorite way to quickly get rid of this is to needle a point called “bitong”- there is one point on each side of the nose, where the edge of the nostril meets the face. It is reliable for draining congestion from the sinuses.
Aches and Pains
Hip pain, low back pain, sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome can all appear for the first time during pregnancy, or become worse than before. The increased weight and new location of your body’s center of gravity puts more strain on the lower back and hips, causing tightness and spasms in the muscles. The tight muscles can irritate the underlying nerves- specifically the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body and runs from the glute area down the side of the leg, all the way to the outer foot. Not all pain as a result of sciatic nerve irritation is felt all the way to the foot, but it is possible in severe cases. Acupuncture for low back pain and sciatic pain in pregnancy focuses on needling to specialized points that will decrease tightness and spasm in the muscles and relieve pain. The same principal goes for carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy- acupuncture decreases muscle tightness and swelling via improving circulation, thereby decreasing pressure on the nerves in the wrist and forearms.
In the second trimester, some women experience digestive ailments such as constipation and heartburn. This is due to increased progesterone levels, which results in decreased peristalsis (the contractions of your intestines that keep bowels moving regularly). The increased progesterone levels also relax the upper and lower esophageal sphincters, allowing acid to reflux back into the esophagus. This leads to heartburn and acid indigestion. Acupuncture can help to alleviate the discomfort of reflux and regulate digestion overall- making bowel movements more regular and decreasing symptoms like gas, bloating and discomfort.
During the middle to end of the second trimester some women start to feel heaviness or achiness in their legs. As the weeks progress, you might notice more spider veins or even varicose veins and increased swelling. Acupuncture is wonderful for improving circulation of fluids and blood throughout the body to decrease the discomfort from swelling and varicose veins.