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Acupuncture and Pregnancy

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Interview with Jill Blakeway, LAc and Dr. Sami David

Watch this clip with Dr. Sami David and Jill Blakeway, LAc, discuss their book Making Babies:A Proven 3-month Program for Maximum Fertility on Parents TV. [youtube][/youtube]

Dr Sami David is a reproductive endocrinologist who has been working with Jill Blakeway, LAc for several years. Dr. David discusses concerns about IVF and why acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are a healthier alternative to fertility drugs. Jill Blakeway explains the types of people who come in for treatment, and how they have come up with a way to find the "type" of people who come in for treatments.

1.Tired 2. Dry 3. Pale 4. Stuck 5. Waterlogged

Jill gives specific advice about each type, and explains that in Chinese medicine, we treat each person individually. Each type and each person will have specific treatment plans tailored exactly to what they need. Jill also reminds couples that it's not always the woman who may be the reason a couple is unable to conceive, and that men should also get checked out. If you are curious about your "type" go to the Making Babies Program website and take the test (I took it- it's easy!). I also recommend checking out the YinOva blog for a great post on how men can boost their fertility potential.

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Morning Sickness and Chinese Medicine

Why oh why is it called "morning" sickness? For so many women, this part of an otherwise joyous experience lasts all day, sometimes through the night, and occasionally in the afternoon. Many women I've spoken to say that they either had no symptoms, a little nausea, a lot of nausea, or were just constantly sick. The consensus seemed to be that the majority of the nausea was over by around 12 weeks, but for some it lasted 20 weeks (halfway through the pregnancy).

There are often changes with the symptoms as the levels of hormones change, and the body begins to adjust to life with extra hormones and blood. The hormone HGC (human chorionic gonadotropin) is said to be the possible cause of the heaving and nausea. Others say the shifting hormones make you out of balance, which is very close to the way we see it in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the early stages of pregnancy, a woman's body is Yin. When egg is fertilized, it begings to bring more Yang into the body, which in turn causes something of an upheaval and imbalance of the Yin and Yang within the body, leading to nausea.

Acupuncture practitioners have wonderful tools to help ease this sometimes difficult transition. Besides using acupuncture needles, a common formula for nausea is Gui Zhi Tang, which contains cinnamon bark, red dates, white peony, and ginger- a great combination to warm and ease the stomach as well as help balance out the struggle with the Yin and Yang of the body. Once this balance is achieved, the nausea should improve. There are other formulas that may be helpful, and acupuncture treatments are very safe and effective if you are worried about taking formulas or anything besides prenatal care. Also, keep in mind that this formula may not be for everyone- ALWAYS check with a practitioner before taking formulas during your pregnancy.

Common tips from women were:

-eat small meals frequently,

-try to eat a little protein in the morning

-keep crackers, dry toast, and clear soda near the bed to avoid getting hungry (which may lead to nausea)

-take prenatal vitamins on a full stomach

*If you experience a fever, or are vomiting so severely you cannot keep food or liquids down, contact your health care provider immediately*

I welcome any more tips for discussion! Chinese Medicine is a great tool, and I feel that sharing the wisdom passed down from women is the best way to learn more about how we can help each other at this special time. Also, check out Blossom Clinc's recommendations for morning sickness!



Babies and Birthing Naturally

Pregnant Belly by kellyandapril

When the words "It's time!" are spoken by a pregnant woman, panic will often follow. But it doesn't necessarily have to! That is, if the baby decides to take a little time for the mother to be where she planned....

The ideal situation for an expectant mother is to make a birth plan, and to then be able to let her plan unfold completely. But babies don't always know our plans, and they sometimes have a sweet little agenda of their own.  There are some great websites for you to check out if you are looking for some advice on a birth plan, or are still deciding how you would like to deliver your baby.

A new site to check in with regularly is Natural Baby Pros. They also have a great article for the birth plan called " The Essential Birth Plan," which discusses things you may not have thought of, like epidurals, pitocin drips, and Hepatitis B Vaccines. Go to the site to read more about why they bring these topics up for parents-to-be.

My Best Birth is a site where women can share their birth experiences, read about other births, and join discussion forums.  They also have a link to a movie called "The Business of Being Born." This is definitely a movie to watch if you are seriously considering a homebirth. The film follows a midwife through several pregnancies and homebirth, and details the interesting (if not horrifying) history of birthing.

If you are considering a homebirth but want a little more information on the statistics, check out the result of this study from Birthing Spirit. The study found that birth at home with a midwife was as safe as birth in hospital and homebirth was associated with fewer adverse outcomes for mothers and babies! Two books that divulge first-hand experience and advice about homebirth are: Ina May Gaskins "Spiritual Midwifery," and Peggy Vincent's "Baby Catcher." I found both of these books to be incredibly empowering in terms of women who had many successful homebirths.

Lucky for those of us in Portland, we have Birthingway, where midwives learn their skills. Choosing midwife (or an obstetrician) is a decision that should be given careful thought. Interviewing is a great way to see if you will be able to feel comfortable with a practitioner, and if they will be able to meet your needs. Also, if you decide to have an acupuncture practitioner to help with labor, it's also a good idea to set up an appointment and see how you feel about using needles during labor.

-The Birth of an eco-mom- the story of a mother who, after the birth of her third child, realized that she needed to become a little more "green" to make a difference in the world of her children. Very inspiring!

Happy Birth-day :)

Sleep Like A Baby by peasap


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Acupuncture and Heartburn in Pregnancy

Pregnancy Photo by J. Star The Chinese Medicine Times recently reviewed a study of acupuncture for symptoms of heartburn in pregnant women with positive results. The outcome of of treating 36 women - half with the standard treatment (medication and dietary advice), and half with acupuncture.  Those receiving acupuncture were treated once or twice a week with drastically reduced symptoms.

The reason heartburn occurs in pregnancy is due to the hormone changes, mainly pregesterone, a hormone produces by the placenta. Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscle of the uterus, but is also relaxes the sphinter that keeps stomach acid out of your esophagus. The growing baby also pushes stomach acid back up where it wasn't before. Even women who have never experienced heartburn may feel uncomfortable during pregnancy.

Besides treating heartburn, there is a long list of conditions acupuncture can treat during pregnancy (fatigue, morning sickness, and constipation to name a few). I recommend reading the article by Naomi Rabinowitz, Dipl.Ac., at to read her views on how to treat these symptoms. It's also important to find a pracitioner who is comfortable treating pregnant women, check out or

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