Planning A Baby?
Have you heard the term “pre-conception care” and wondered what this is all about?
Having a baby is the biggest thing that happens in many people’s lives, when you are planning to start a family you are laying the foundation for the rest of your life and that of your baby. So it makes sense to do the best you can to ensure that you and your partner are in the best possible health before you start trying to conceive. Numerous studies have shown that the health and well-being of parents at conception and, mum’s health throughout pregnancy and breast feeding,have a strong impact on the health and well-being of their baby.It’s hard to imagine that mum’s health and the choices she makes through her pregnancy can have such an impact on her child’s health as an adult but there is strong evidence that these factors can pre-dispose the baby to developing cardio-vascular disease,adult onset diabetes or struggling with obesity. Dad’s health is also very important, high stress, exposure to environmental toxins and lifestyle choices especially smoking have a big impact on sperm vitality and being able to make a baby.
Preconception care ideally starts at least four months before trying to have a baby. This is the time for identifying health issues and life-style factors that could impact on your ability to conceive a healthy baby and starting to make changes to ensure that you both are in the best possible health when the time comes. Optimizing your health optimizes the health of your eggs and sperm to give your baby the best opportunity for a healthy life.Preconception care increases your chances of falling pregnant, helps to achieve a healthy pregnancy, healthy baby and a good recovery after the birth.
Supporting The Pregnant Mother
Pregnancy is usually a wonderful time but there can be times when things are not so rosey!
The first trimester is a time many women experience morning sickness, tiredness, urinary frequency, anxiety and mood swings as her body adjusts to the hormonal changes of pregnancy. It is also a time when otherwise healthy pregnancies may fail due to progesterone deficiency. Acupuncture, nutritional and some herbal therapies are very helpful at this stage of pregnancy especially when many pharmaceutical medications are unsafe to take.
The second trimester is often the most enjoyable as the body has adjusted to being pregnant, problems here are often related to lower back, pelvic and sciatic pain as the ligaments soften to accommodate the growing baby. Acupuncture and gentle massage are wonderful for alleviating this discomfort as well as helping mum relax and enjoy her pregnancy.
The third trimester can be quite uncomfortable as the growing baby puts pressure on mum’s internal organs causing heart burn and digestive upsets, urinary frequency can lead to interrupted sleep, pressure in the pelvis can cause varicose veins that are not just confined to the legs! Fluid accumulation and excessive weight gain can put added pressure on the heart and potentially cause dangerous increase in blood pressure. Baby may have settled into a breech position which acupuncture, if used early enough, is well known to be beneficial in encouraging baby to turn. Prebirth acupuncture is great for preparing mum physically and emotionally for the time ahead and enhancing the likelihood of an efficient labour. We can also teach mums birth support person acupressure techniques can help to moderate the pain experienced during labour.
Acupuncture and Naturopathy provide safe, comfortable and cost effective treatment for many of the problems that may arise during pregnancy and help prevent conditions becoming serious enough to need medical treatment.
Supporting The New Family
Welcoming a new baby is the most joyous time… it is also a time of big adjustment for a new family. Mum is often getting used to breast feeding, dealing with broken sleep and learning to cope with the fact that she is no longer an individual and able to do as she pleases. Dad is recovering from celebrations, dealing with broken sleep and getting used to the new family dynamics, and baby is getting used to being here and often getting days and nights confused!
Breast-feeding can take some time to get established, milk can be over-abundant causing breast tenderness and possibly mastitis or lacking in supply and baby may become colicky and unsettled. Dietary and lifestyle advice is very valuable ensuring mum is eating enough of the right foods to support milk production and helping identify foods that may be causing baby tummy pain. While we advocate working along-side your breast-feeding consultant, acupuncture and herbal remedies are a great help both with building supply and coping with many of the issues associated with breast-feeding. Mastitis and breast pain unfortunately are often the cause for many new mums abandoning breast-feeding which is sad given the many benefits for both mum and baby, especially when these situations respond well to treatment, good support and advice.
Now that people are speaking more openly we are becoming more aware of postnatal depression which can range from mild to severe. The important message here is to act early before things get out of hand. While it is quite common for women to get a bit teary or bluesy in the first week after giving birth this should resolve fairly quickly, if you find these feelings are ongoing and affecting you bonding with your baby it is important to reach out for support.
Naturopathy and acupuncture offer great support for many of the health issues that may arise for your new family and massage is always fantastic for aching muscles and a little bit of well deserved spoiling.