Even when you’ve meticulously planned your journey to pregnancy, arriving at your destination can catch you by surprise. Now that you’re expecting, what’s next?
Nurturing a Healthy Pregnancy
Birth is often likened to a marathon. It’s a big event with big demands on the body. A little training and prep work goes a long way. Here are a few ways you can get your body in the zone for a healthy birth.
In the first 2 months of pregnancy, weekly acupuncture sessions lay the foundation for the body as it begins this new project of building life from scratch. From 8 – 35 weeks monthly check-ins are recommended to give the nervous, endocrine, and muscular systems a tune-up as they work to keep up with the changes happening as baby grows. At 36 weeks you can start coming 2-3 weekly for labor preparation. During these sessions your acupuncturist will gently invite your body to transition smoothly from latent to active labor.
Your muscles and tendons will thank you for the bit extra love they’ll get from a good prenatal massage. They’re working hard to keep you and baby supported, but sometimes they can get a little cranky along the way. With the hormone relaxin pumping through your body, allowing it to softly shift as baby grows, it’s easy to overstretch and aggravate muscles during regular activity. Luckily an experienced prenatal massage therapist can soothe those aches, and even stay ahead of any potential strains along the way.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine we always consider food the frontline of medicine. During pregnancy your blood volume increase by about 50% as a human is grown from scratch and an entirely new organ (the placenta!) develops alongside.
Food provides the essential building blocks necessary for all of this to happen. Meal planning and prep can also be a great way for a partner or to take a leading role in supporting the daily development of your baby.
But sometimes the push and pull of morning sickness, cravings, body image, and conflicting information around weight gain,can make it hard to figure out how to maintain a nourishing diet. Your acupuncturist can help you navigate these challenges by discussing what foods are right for you and your pregnancy, or connecting you with a nutritional coach specializing in pregnancy. And at the end of the pregnancy journey, those nine months of conscious nourishment provide the energy reserves your body will draw from through labor and into the postpartum period.
Keeping up with regular exercise is a great way to maintain a healthy mindset and to prepare for a smooth labor. But it’s crucial to acknowledge that a pregnant body has different abilities. From being more flexible due to hormone changes to having different breathing patterns because of blood volume and that baby that’s kicking your diaphragm. There are plenty of options – yoga, guided movement, strength training – but working with a prenatal fitness professional is a must. In addition to introducing you to the muscles and movements involved in the labor process, they can guide you through a safe and rewarding prenatal routine that will keep you active without worrying about new injuries.