Third Trimester

Now you are in the home stretch! This is the time when the most visible changes and growth are occurring for both mom and baby. Many women become physically uncomfortable as their weight gain continues at an increased rate during the final weeks. The importance of getting enough rest cannot be over-emphasized, especially if you, like most women, are working throughout the third trimester.

Conditions we treat

* Sleeplessness
* Stress and anxiety
* High blood pressure
* Edema, carpal tunnel syndrome and leg cramps
* Breech position of baby
* Preparation for Labour
* Cervical Softening and Ripening
* Labour Induction

Treatment for Sleeplessness

During the last weeks of pregnancy, it can become harder to obtain uninterrupted sleep due to body discomforts and frequent urination. There are different acupuncture protocols to address the variety of symptoms associated with difficulty of sleeping.

Helpful hints
  • Relax before bed and avoid being overly stimulated (i.e. watching television). Read a book, meditate with breathing exercises, have a bath, or listen to a guided relaxation CD
  • Try to get some fresh air and regular exercise daily
Nutritional support
  • Have a cup of chamomile or lemon balm tea before bed to help relax the nervous system
  • Calcium and magnesium are also thought to calm the nerves; eat almonds, yogurt or sesame seeds as evening snacks
Treatment for Stress and Anxiety

Acupuncture causes a release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel good hormones, and can be very effective at calming anxiety you might feeling during your pregnancy.

Helpful hints
  • Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation (mindfulness link)
  • Make time for yourself so that you are not overly busy and overwhelmed
  • Talk about your anxieties with your caregiver, family and friends. The reassurance and support of other moms will be helpful
  • Keep your blood sugar levels stable and avoid sugary, refined foods and caffeine
Treatment for High Blood Pressure

Both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help in the treatment of raised blood pressure. It is especially useful preventatively when the first signs of elevation are present or in women who have had difficulty in previous pregnancies.

Note: It is important that your levels are careful monitored by your doctor or midwife.

Helpful hints
  • Try to reduce your stress level as high stress can have a direct and negative influence on raising your blood pressure
  • Make sure that you get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation
Nutritional support
  • Vitamin C and E have been found to help lower blood pressure
  • Eat a diet that is low in animal fats but high in fish oils, as these oils have the effect of naturally thinning the blood

Treatment for edema, carpal tunnel syndrome and leg cramps

Acupuncture is well documented for effectively improving circulation and it can help reduce the swelling in the arms and legs commonly associated with pregnancy.

Helpful hints
  • Gentle massage may help reduce edema, improve circulation, and unblock congestion in the lymphatic system
  • Rest with your arms or legs elevated for 20 minutes, three to four times daily, to reduce swollen ankles and relieve carpal tunnel syndrome
Nutritional support
  • Drink four to six cups of nettle tea daily to help reduce water retention
  • Edema: eat foods that are natural diuretics like celery, asparagus, artichokes, grapes, blackcurrants, parsley, citrus fruits, red berries, peppers, and green leafy veggies
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: B vitamins are good for the nerves; food sources include sesame seeds, chickpeas, bananas, nutritional yeast, and hazelnuts
  • Leg cramps: take a calcium-magnesium supplement before bed and eat foods like milk products, green leafy veggies, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, soy, and dried apricots that are rich in these minerals
Breech Position

This means that your baby’s bottom is lying in your pelvis instead of its head. Acupuncture and moxabustion can help encourage the baby’s head to move down by stimulating and warming an acupoint on the foot that is connected to the uterus by the bladder meridian.

Treatment for Breech

Treatment results are most successful between 32 to 35 weeks. Acupuncture sessions are scheduled 2x/week for two to three weeks until the baby has moved position. Moxa instructions will also be given so that the warming of the acupoint can be done at home with the help of a partner or friend for 15 min/twice daily.

Preparation for Labour

During the last three to four weeks of pregnancy many women experience mixed feelings. While you are excited about meeting your baby, there may also be some apprehension or fear surrounding your upcoming labour and the life changes that parenthood will soon bring.

Acupuncture can help emotionally during this time by having a calming effect on anxiety and promoting relaxation. Physically, it can help to prepare the cervix and perineum for birthing and when appropriate, there are acupoints that can be used to stimulate contractions in the uterus and induce labour.

Note: we work closely with many doctors and midwives and are always in communication with your caregiver before stimulating an induction

Cervical softening and ripening

At 37 weeks, you are considered full-term. This is the time when weekly acupuncture sessions leading up to your due date can begin. Acupuncture can help encourage the cervix to soften and ripen in order to begin preparing for labour.

These treatments may be especially useful for women who are having their first child, as it is very common for first time moms to go past their due dates, and many require inductions. It can also be helpful if there have been complications throughout your pregnancy (i.e. gestational diabetes or high blood pressure) and there have been discussions about inducing before your due date to ensure the health of your baby. Acupoints for ripening are generally on the arms and legs, and are connected to the uterus by meridians.

Labour Induction

If your caregiver has examined your cervix and determined that it is soft and thinning – and that it is appropriate to stimulate contractions – acupuncture can be very effective at inducing labour. If a woman’s body is ready, acupuncture is a gentle and non-invasive way to ‘tip the scales’ and encourage the uterus to begin contracting. It may take one to three visits to effectively stimulate the start of labour.

Next: Postpartum >