Reply To: Shanghai Maternity Care with Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is well know and established for maternity care. Reproductive health system in women relies primarily on the energetic function of the kidneys, liver, and spleen. These energetic organs differ in function from the anatomical organs of western medicine.

According to TCM, the kidneys store prenatal essence and govern growth, development, and reproduction. The liver stores and moves blood during menstruation, regulates flow of Qi in the body, and keeps a balanced emotional state. The spleen which is considered the main digestive organ, produces Qi and blood from the food we eat, and ensures that blood flows within its normal pathways.

An imbalance in the functioning of these organs can lead to reproductive disorders in women and discomforts during pregnancy and birth. It is a good idea for women planning on becoming pregnant to address any current irregularities in menstruation before conceiving as doing so may help avoid discomforts during their pregnancy.

Once a women is pregnant the physiology shifts. Menstruation stops, causing Qi and blood to accumulate in the uterus. As a result, the spleen is under greater stress to produce and supply blood and Qi to aid with the pregnancy. The kidney lends its Yin and essence to the development of the fetus, and the liver blood nourishes the uterus.

Heat in the body becomes common later in pregnancy. The reason for this is that the uterus becomes bigger and causes unavoidable stagnation of Qi and blood. There is also less Yin and blood available for the rest of the body, causing a relative excess of Yang. This also manifests as symptoms of heat. Stagnation of Qi and blood may cause symptoms such as pain, numbness, swelling, reflux, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, or constipation.

Besides herbal medicine, acupuncture is widely known in maternity care as being as equally effective. Pregnant women often looking for help to treat conditions developed during pregnancy as nausea, morning sickness, swollen ankles, back pain, constipation etc. Acupuncture can even be used to relieve pain during labor & delivery and should start 6 weeks before due date. If the baby is in the wrong position acupuncture can help to turn the baby and has to start before the 30th week.

There would be a lot more which you could write about but finally it is important to say that you have to check with your gynecologist to find the best way for you and the baby and get ready to begin the new role as a mom.

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