Acupuncturist and mum-to-be Hannah O’Connell chronicles the ways in which it can make a difference
In 2017, more and more of us are turning to the side-effect-free world of acupuncture to tackle a myriad of health and wellbeing issues. Whether you approach it as complementary to western medicine – which many do – or choose to go down the holistic route entirely, the benefits of acupuncture have been widely documented. For example, I’ve written numerous features about the role of acupuncture when it comes to managing stress and anxiety and it’s becoming more and more popular as a treatment to ease the symptoms experienced by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy (to name but a few). One area that acupuncture is proving increasingly popular, however, is with pregnancy. From fertility and conception right through to the pregnancy itself, as well as life after labour, approaching this journey from an eastern perspective can be of great benefit to expectant parents. Here, acupuncturist and mum-to-be Hannah O’Connell chronicles the ways in which acupuncture can make a difference and how she works with her clients.
Fertility and getting ready to be pregnant
According to O’Connell, German researchers have found that acupuncture can increase conception rates in IVF by up to 50 per cent. “In my clinic I use acupuncture to treat fertility issues of all kinds, either as a standalone treatment or to support IVF. This can be a very trying time for a woman and indeed her partner (who I often treat also). While acupuncture is helping with the physical process of conception it is also looking after the mental/emotional health to create a feeling of support and calm which is paramount.”
From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, the health of the parents at the time of conception translates directly to the quality of the child’s constitution, hence the importance of balancing and well being prior to conception. Traditionally, the nine-month period of pregnancy was a time for the parents to focus on nurturing the developing baby. The mother is physically and spiritually the vessel into which the unborn child is placed, and so her state of health in every way is of the greatest importance. According to TCM, the child inherits ancestral Qi from the parents. Ancestral Qi is really an individual’s energy foundation; it cannot be changed and it is finite in amount. Stored in the kidney, its quality and quantity are determined by the Qi of both the mother and father (and the Qi of their respective ancestors); the nature of the mother’s pregnancy; and the time, place and circumstances of the child’s birth. This type of Qi determines the child’s basic physical and mental wellbeing and governs his or her growth and development.”
O’Connell’s advice is to look after yourselves (both partners) as you prepare for pregnancy. “It’s so important that mums to make sure their body is a healthy environment for the unborn child, making their pregnancy easier and the optimising the baby’s health. This will also positively impact on the task of rebalancing,…