Posts Tagged: Women’s Health

Can Acupuncture Really Induce Labor?

Over the years I’ve gotten many calls from frantic women (and sometimes their husbands) who are 40 or 41 weeks pregnant, some who are even scheduled for medical induction in a matter of hours. They all want to know- can Acupuncture help you go into labor in order to avoid induction? The answer is yes… and no. Read on, I’ll explain.

The ideal situation is when a woman comes for regular acupuncture (1-2 times a week) beginning at week 36. I call this “Labor Preparation Acupuncture”. I have a few goals with these sessions:

  1. To help with any pregnancy related discomforts such as low back or hip pain, insomnia or swelling.
  2. To use acupuncture points which get the woman mentally and emotionally relaxed and in a place where she feels ready and optimistic about giving birth.
  3. To stimulate acupoints which aid in relaxing and opening the pelvic region as well as influence cervical ripening (dilation and effacement). I also focus on getting the baby into the optimal position, if not already there.

In my experience, women who follow this schedule tend to go into labor more or less on time (and avoid needing a medical induction) and have shorter labors with fewer complications. Acupuncture treatments gently and gradually send your body a message to get ready for labor. Your body is doing this all on its own, but acupuncture helps it happen more seamlessly and helps you to feel more relaxed and ready when the time comes. And YES being mentally relaxed has a HUGE and very real effect on the progress of labor (see this book for more information).

But what about those women who were mere hours away from being induced- can acupuncture help them? I’ve certainly had many cases where I’ve been able to use acupuncture at the last minute to help women go into labor- it’s powerful stuff! However I’ve seen much greater success, by far, with 3-4 weeks of regular sessions leading up to the due date. Rome wasn’t built in a day my friends, and acupuncture is not the same thing as Pitocin (thankfully!).

I’d also like to take this opportunity to encourage all women to utilize a birth doula as well as a postpartum doula. Read more about doulas and what they do here and here. And, the best way to avoid unnecessary interventions in labor (such as c-sections and episiotomies) or to achieve a VBAC? Choose your hospital based on its maternity procedure statistics. In New York State, they are found on the Department of Health’s website here.

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Breath, Mantra & Music: 3 Holistic Ways to Help Improve Your Sleep

The following is a special guest blog post by Maya Benattar, a music therapist and psychotherapist here in New York City. Her website is www.mayabenattar.com. Thanks, Maya!

 

There are a lot of reasons why people may have trouble sleeping- anxiety, stress, too much caffeine, hormonal shifts. We live in a fast-paced society where lack of sleep is often seen as a badge of honor.

If you’ve ever had a sleepless night (or many!), you probably know all too well the feelings that arise when you can’t get back to sleep and you really want to! Sometimes we can do everything “right”- no caffeine after 2pm, less screen time in the evenings, warm milk, lavender- and sleep can still be elusive. Read more

Managing PCOS Naturally

What is PCOS?

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It’s an endocrine (hormonal) disorder characterized by infrequent or absent periods, multiple cysts on the ovaries, obesity and high levels of androgens (such as testosterone and DHEA-S), which leads to excess facial and body hair, hair thinning or male pattern baldness and acne. Many PCOS patients have insulin resistance, which means that your body isn’t able to properly absorb and process sugars and other carbohydrates. Other complications include type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, depression and difficulty becoming pregnant. Read more

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Having A Healthy 4th Trimester: Q&A with Amber Star Merkens, Postpartum Doula

Before I met Amber Star Merkens, I had no idea postpartum doulas existed. I immediately had a ton of questions for her because I became so excited about the idea that there are professionals available to help new moms out- this is seriously something everyone needs to know about! If you think doulas are only helping during labor, think again, and read on!

 

What is a doula?

The term doula literally means a woman’s helper. Read more

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Red Wine For Cramps? Traditional Chinese Medicine Says Yes!

In the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each food has medicinal qualities and energetics. This simply means that there are reasons it would help some people and harm others. Makes sense, right? One of my goals as an acupuncturist and practitioner of TCM is to help people begin to think of their food medicinally. For example, if you have a headache or an upset stomach you don’t necessarily need to go into your medicine cabinet. There are foods and herbal teas which can solve the problem just as well. One example that not everyone would think of is red wine! This discussion of red wine will hopefully help you decide when it might be a good idea to have a glass or two, and when you might want to pass. Read more