Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Oedema is a something I often seen in the clinic, with about 1 out of every 3 patients I see presenting with some form of it. Oedema is the excessive collection of body fluids in the tissue, and is a common occurrence in pregnancy. Often manifesting in the later stages of pregnancy it results in puffing and swelling around the areas of the hands and feet. For the most part, due to gravity the major impact is around the feet and ankles and is made worse by standing for long periods of time, warm weather and generally progresses as the day goes on. For the most part it can be relieved by rest overnight, with the feet slightly elevated.
Mild cases of oedema are considered normal, a natural response to the increased fluid taken on during pregnancy. It can become a concern however if the swelling does not settle after rest and is accompanied by rapid weight gain, and swelling in the face. This could be an early indication of High Blood Pressure and possible Eclampsia, a serious medical condition that can lead to convulsions that seriously threaten mother and baby. For more information on that condition, please see my article on Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Hypertension.
Again, as with many problems arising from pregnancy the standard western medical approach is simply rest and wait. However, given the discomfort Oedema can cause and along with the possible risks of High Blood Pressure, I prefer to take a more proactive approach to resolving this condition using Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Oedema treatments.
Form a Traditional Chinese Medical point of view Oedema is seen as a weakness of the Stomach Spleen to transport food and fluids. A weakness of the Kidneys to absorb and re-distribute fluid may also be present. Often in association with regular acupuncture I teach my patients to use Moxa, a stick of mugwort that is burnt to produce a soothing heat. This can be used daily to warm and invigorate the Spleen and Kidneys and often resolves any swelling within 5-7 days.
I also encourage that alongside Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Oedema treatment women limit standing for long periods of time, and when resting elevate the legs slightly. Of course, any exercise that induces movement in the ankles, from simply moving them in circles 5 times or so, to yoga, swimming etc will help shift excess fluid buildup. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day is also helpful as this tells the body it is receiving plenty of water, so there is no need to hold to it. Nurturing the Spleen through warm soups and stews, and avoiding cold and child foods is also important. Finally I am also a big advocate of Barley teas and barley water which is a simple preparation, easy to make and does wonders for the Kidneys.
If you are pregnant and are suffering from swelling of the hands and feet or fluid retention, I strongly encourage you to undergo Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Oedema treatments to relieve any excess fluid and discomfort and possible prevent the onset of High Blood Pressure and Eclampsia.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Oedema treatment protocols that I provide or wish to start a course of treatment then please feel free to contact me or make an appointment where we can discuss any specific concerns or questions you may have.