Posts Tagged: Women’s Health

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Labor Induction Acupuncture: A New Approach

It’s a situation I’ve encountered many times: a woman calls me up because she’s been told that if she doesn’t go into labor on her own in a few more days, she’ll be induced.  Of course she wants to avoid this, and she has read about trying a “Labor Induction” acupuncture session.

After over 10 years of practice in women’s health and two years of an intensive perinatal acupuncture certificate program, I’ve learned there’s a better way to approach this issue, and it’s backed by studies as well as advice of medical practitioners. Read on to find out what I think is much more effective and relaxing than just this single “Labor Induction” session. I’ll also discuss the situations in which a labor induction treatment might be helpful. Read more

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You Can’t JUST Get Rid of Your Hot Flashes: Why A Holistic Approach Is Better During Perimenopause

When I set out to write this article, I intended to pick one symptom of perimenopause and give tips on managing it. But then I thought, “You can’t just pick one symptom and  get rid of it alone. What women need is help with minimizing hormonal fluctuations so that ALL of the symptoms improve”.

So that’s what I’m doing in this article. It’s not a totally exhaustive guide to all herbal remedies or possible treatments, but I’ll give you ideas that are easy to implement, that are backed by studies and that will help you now as well as 5 years down the road. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is always an option from your doctor, but for some women it doesn’t make sense and others would prefer to avoid medications.  These ideas are a holistic approach to hormone-balancing and can help you feel like yourself again. Read more

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What Nobody Talks About During Pregnancy: Your Postpartum Health

Prenatally, we tend to focus on mom and how she can optimize her health for her benefit and the benefit of the baby. However in the postpartum period, our culture seems to completely focus on baby and mom’s well-being is forgotten. This attitude is also reflected in postpartum medical care in the USA. Generally, the baby goes for their first pediatrician visit just a few days after birth, but mom’s first visit with her OB isn’t until a whopping 6 weeks after the delivery!

Thankfully, recently there has been more media attention to this problem (see this great guide in the New York Times). The American Academy of Pediatrics has even recommended that new moms be screened by their child’s pediatrician for postpartum anxiety and depression. In my and many others’ opinion, this is a positive step, but more support for new moms is needed. Until healthcare systems in the USA begin providing appropriate levels of support to new parents, you must develop a plan for your postpartum health during pregnancy. After the baby is born it will likely feel much too overwhelming. Read more

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Listen Up: Your Cervical Mucus Is Trying To Tell You Something

Vaginal discharge, cervical mucus, leukorrhea- it all refers to the same thing. Hereafter I’ll refer to it as “CM” (cervical mucus). It seems that generally speaking, women I see in my practice either are quite unaware of what changes in their CM mean or are worried that any CM is a sign of infection.  I hope this article will help to de-mystify your discharge and, just maybe, make you feel a little amazed by it. Possibly even happy to see it? By knowing what to look for and what it all means, you can feel more empowered and make better decisions. Read more

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Recommended Reading: Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth

I was completely blown away by this book and have been enthusiastically recommending it to every last one of my pregnant patients since reading it early this summer. As far as I’m concerned, it should be required reading for all pregnant women, whether you’re planning on a home birth with a midwife or a hospital birth with an OB.

A little background: The author, Ina May Gaskin, is a Certified Professional Midwife who co-founded a community in rural Tennessee in 1970 called The Farm. Sounds pretty hippy-dippy, right? Yeah, it is! But keep reading. These hippies know things that you need to know. Ina May as well and her team of midwives have handled over 3,000 births at The Farm, with astonishingly low rates of c-sections and other intervention (vacuum, forceps, Pitocin, etc). For more information and their complete statistics, here is the link to their website.

I loved this book because the tone is non-judgmental and the facts are laid out clearly to help you do everything within your control to get the best outcome in a situation where ultimately, you must surrender control. This includes surrounding yourself with the birth team that makes you feel the most supported.  Ina May gives you the lowdown on possible birth interventions that may be necessary so that you are already familiar should your doctor recommend them. Having the knowledge before you’re in the situation can greatly alleviate anxiety when faced with needing to make a quick decision.

This book begins with about 125 pages of the birth stories of women who gave birth at The Farm, written by the women themselves. These stories let you see how varied a normal, healthy birth can be. They eliminate the worry that “if my birth doesn’t go this way, something must be wrong”.

Ina May then delves into topics including:

  • Prenatal care and what all those tests really tell your doctor (and which ones you might be able to skip if you desire)
  • Choosing a caregiver- whether it’s an OB or midwife, plus tips on deciding who else will be present at your birth (doula, partner, other family members)
  • Facts on VBAC’s (vaginal birth after cesarean)
  • My favorite chapter: “The Sphincter Law”- it explains how anxiety and fear can actually reverse the labor progress that has been made already, and how to guard yourself against this happening! This is really amazing, useful stuff.
  • Techniques you can easily use to make your labor progress more smoothly and efficiently
  • What actually happens in labor, and what to do once you are in labor (call the doctor? Wait it out?)
  • What Pitocin and epidurals do

To summarize, this book has the ability to make women feel more empowered about giving birth. You’ll also feel less afraid of the unknown and what could go wrong (Ina May has a great way of explaining what could happen without creating unnecessary fear). In my work with pregnant women, I’ve found that everyone has some degree of fear around the process and wants to do everything they can to ensure things go smoothly (for herself and baby).

After reading this book, I truly got the feeling that birth is a normal process that a woman’s body is designed for, and felt inspired to confidently relay this information to my patients!