First Trimester – Pregnancy Acupuncture

First trimester of pregnancy

For some folks, the first trimester of pregnancy can be the most challenging. With symptoms ranging from extreme fatigue to debilitating nausea, and the sensitive (sometimes secretive) nature of this time can lead to feelings of isolation.

When I work with mum’s in their first trimester, having a safe container to speak openly about their experience is welcomed and often looked forward to.

Some commonly asked questions

How long is the first trimester?

The first trimester lasts from week 1 through the end of week 13 of pregnancy

What part of the baby is growing during this time?

Bones, hair and nails, digestive system, heart, brain, sense of taste and touch, muscle and white blood cells

Is it a Boy or girl?

You probably won’t know if you’re having a baby boy or girl for about 16 or more weeks, but sex is determined at the moment of fertilization.

Some common symptoms during the first trimester

Morning sickness: not all women experience their nausea or vomiting during the morning hours. Symptoms can be felt at any time of the day or night. Some women experience mild symptoms while some require medication to subdue vomiting.

Fatigue: a common symptom (your body is doing some pretty amazing things!) extreme fatigue should be check by your care provider.

Weight gain: if you are feeling more hungry and consuming more calories through the day, some weight gain is completely normal, a greater increase in weight will be noticed later in the pregnancy.

Tips to manage first trimester  symptoms

Rest- if you feel tired, sit down, take a nap, let your body rest. One of the most common complaints I hear in my clinic is about lack of energy in the first trimester, where working long hours, attending many meetings throughout the day, and maintaining our usual social and exercise schedule feels impossible. Listen to your body, yes exercise is important, and letting your body rest during this time is possibly more important.

Eat frequently- eating small meals or snacks consistently throughout the day can help with nausea and vomiting, mood changes and energy levels. Bland, easy to digest foods work well. Think plain crackers, congee, potato soup etc. Always a good idea to keep snacks in your purse, your desk and work and in the car.

Get acupuncture- acupuncture is extremely supportive and beneficial for symptoms like fatigue, nausea, stress/anxiety, mood swings, digestion, threatened miscarriage, etc.

 

 

Stefanie Miska is a Dr. TCM, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist with a practice focus on reproductive care. Call 1 778 400 6360 to schedule a consult.

 

Acupuncture During Pregnancy

Is Acupuncture during pregnancy safe?

Pregnancy is a transformational and exciting time in a new families life. It can bring so many different emotions and symptoms with it. From joy, anticipation, fear and worry, to nausea, fatigue, physical discomfort and more.

The first and most common question we get is “is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?”.

The answer is YES, absolutely.

By working with a trained and licensed care provider, and someone who specializes in pregnancy care, you are in good hands during your pregnancy.

With all the poking and prodding that comes along with pregnancy, getting stuck with needles voluntarily probably seems like the last thing you’d want to do. But when it comes to banishing some pregnancy woes, many moms-to-be sing the praises of acupuncture. 

A few of the benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy:

Acupuncture eases nausea

Pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting are common among women, particularly in the first and second trimesters. Acupuncture helps to ease the severity of these symptoms and support the body.

Acupuncture relieves pain

Women experience discomfort in all stages of their pregnancy, whether it’s pelvic pain, hip pain, lower back pain or ligament pain. Acupuncture is a safe, natural and effective way to improves these complaints.

Acupuncture reduces stress

Stress can have a negative impact on the pregnant body and the development of your baby. Acupuncture helps to calm the nervous system and reduce stress in the body which is beneficial to both mum and babe.

What can acupuncture during pregnancy treat?

During pregnancy, acupuncture has been shown to effectively treat the following conditions :

  • Miscarriage prevention
  • Morning sickness (nausea and vomiting)
  • Fatigue
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Breech and posterior positions
  • Edema (fluid retention)
  • Constipation
  • Acid reflux
  • Sinusitis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Pain
  • Induction
  • Cervical Ripening

 

 

Stefanie Miska is a Dr. TCM, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist with a practice focus on reproductive care. Call 1 778 400 6360 to schedule a consult.

 

 

Preconception Care – Trimester Zero

Planning ahead for the important things in life

We all know the importance of planning ahead for those big, life changing decisions. Like buying a new house, planning a wedding, preparing for your next vacation, yet often times we don’t spend very much time at all, planning for one of life’s biggest journeys – parenthood, and more specifically – getting pregnant. This is called preconception care.

Have you ever considered that most folks spend more time planning their wedding than they do planning to conceive?

Research confirms that the growth cycle of both sperm and eggs is approximately 90 days. So that means, if getting pregnant is something you are wanting or planning for in the near future, taking steps at least 3 months in advance to make sure you and your partner are healthy, is super important.

What is preconception care?

Preconception care is defined as:

a set of interventions that aim to identify and modify medical, behavioral, and social risks to a woman’s health or pregnancy outcome through prevention and management.

These 3 months prior to conception are considered Trimester Zero. An integral part of the pregnancy journey.

What you should be doing to prepare for pregnancy

Some things to include during trimester zero:

  • A good prenatal supplement
  • Family doctor or Naturopathic Doctor check up with lab/blood work
  • Regular acupuncture treatments
  • Limiting stress or incorporating mindfulness technique like meditation or gentle walks in nature

When you received regular acupuncture treatments in preparation for conception, some of the benefits include:

  • More relaxed
  • Stress management
  • Increased blood flow to the reproductive organs
  • Balanced hormones
  • Improved egg quality

Many things impact our health and ability to conceive

When I work with patients who are trying to get pregnant there are many important factors that come into play. Having support from your health care team is one of those integral factors.

We know how influential the external environment and lifestyle can be for your overall health, and the health of your eggs and unborn children. Your genetic material is influenced by these factors so taking pro active steps for you and future baby is essential!

Schedule your consult for preconception care by calling 1 778 400 6360.

 

c-section scar recovery

Acupuncture for C-section Scar Recovery

Acupuncture for C-section scar recovery

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine play an important role in c-section recovery.

The number one reason for surgery in Canada is a Cesarean section delivery, according to the the latest data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

Like many other prosperous countries, Canada’s c-section rate is rising: 28.2% of births in Canadian hospitals were performed via c-section in 2016-2017.

While there are many potential reasons for why a c-section delivery may be needed (breech, previous cesarean delivery etc), the topic today is how Traditional Chinese Medicine can help with its recovery.

Using a blend of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and moxa therapy, we are able to shorten the healing process, reduce inflammation and swelling.

How does acupuncture help scar healing?

Common symptoms of cesarean scars include swelling, local numbness, tingling and adhesions.

By administering treatment closely around the scar, the acupuncture needles cause what we call ‘micro trauma’. This creates a response in the body that sends increased blood flow, and white blood cells to the area which promotes tissue healing.

Another important piece of these treatments is the use of mugwort, or what we call moxibustion. This topical herbal application is extremely effective at reducing inflammation and swelling, and increasing blood flow.  Post cesarean birth it is used to promote healing and bring warmth back into the lower abdomen. A moxa pole looks like a giant incense stick and it made out of an herb called mugwort.

By using moxibustion, we can help to improve healthy blood circulation and speed up recovery time for both internal and external surgical sites.

When should I start postpartum c-section therapy?

As soon as possible is preferred. While it is never too late to come in for scar therapy, the longer you wait, the required number of treatments may increase.

While every treatment plan is personalized, an example may be once a week starting at 2 weeks postpartum for 6 treatments.

For questions or to book a c-section scar therapy treatment, call 1 778 400 6360.

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postpartum acupuncture

Acupuncture for Postpartum

Why get acupuncture after birth?

Pregnancy and birth are powerful, life changing experiences. Postpartum acupuncture offers physical and emotional support during this beautiful and important transition

In China, the first few weeks after childbirth are called Chan Ru (childbirth mattress) or Zao Yue Zi (sitting the month).

The concept of adequate rest to ensure women are completely recovered from childbirth is an important part of Asian societies.

Also termed the “Golden Month” or “Sitting Moon” this was a time of rest and eating specific foods to assist in recovery for 28 days.

This is not a time for absolute bed rest but rather a time where physical rest is taken at every opportunity, exercise is appropriate (not an exhausting attempt to get back into shape), and a diet that focuses on building blood and energy.

Since this isn’t necessarily possible for many women in this day and age, using other recovery tools (like acupuncture) can help recoup after pregnancy and labor.

Postpartum acupuncture works to support optimal health for mum and babe.

What does acupuncture do ?

Depending on which body points are targeted and where the needles are inserted, acupuncture can,

  •   cause the nervous system to produce painkilling chemicals, or neurotransmitters
  •    jump-start the body’s natural ability to heal itself by resetting the nervous system from its fight or flight activation to rest and digest setting
  •   stimulate the part of the brain that releases feel-good hormones and controls emotions, including depression and anxiety

Is it safe?

Yes.

(really, with acupuncture there are no/minimal side effects or post treatment down time)

Postpartum acupuncture can help:

  • Issues with lactation
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Postpartum depression or “baby blues”
  • Night sweats
  • Decreased energy
  • Mastitis
  • Persistent bleeding
  • Recovery from C-section or traumatic birth

When to start postpartum acupuncture?

Best case scenario is to begin treatments as soon after delivery as possible. For most of my patients, getting out of the house and to a treatment for the first few weeks can be challenging. For this reason, we always pre book a postpartum visit at 4-6 weeks.

It is never too late to begin treatments postpartum, even 1-2 years after delivery. If you are still suffering from symptoms like fatigue, mood disturbances, anxiety, irregular bleeding etc, acupuncture can help!

 

To ask questions or book an appointment, call 1 778 400 6360

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Chinese Medicine for Postpartum Care

Chinese Medicine for Postpartum care

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture and herbal medicine, has been successfully helping women and their reproductive health for many years. Now more than ever, for postpartum care.

Acupuncture truly excels in supporting healthy pregnancies and can help you feel great postpartum. 

Taking care of yourself postpartum

Pregnancy and birth are powerful life changing experiences. Acupuncture can support women through this important and beautiful transition by offering physical and emotional support. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine works to support optimal health for the mother and every mother should consider acupuncture after having a baby for these balancing and healing benefits!

Postpartum is a special and intense period of our lives. During this time we experience more physical and emotional demands than ever before.

Having a supporting community, including care providers, can be an integral part of this new phase and transitional time.

Postpartum symptoms can acupuncture help with

  • Encourage healthy milk supply
  • Hormonal balancing
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Stress management
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • C-section scar recovery
  • Reduce aches and pains

Why postpartum support is so important

In many other cultures, the fourth trimester, is honoured as a time of rest, recuperation and family bonding. In some countries it is customary for the new mother to spend 30-40 days at home resting while being cared for by her family and community.

Termed the ‘Golden month’ this was a time of resting and consuming specific foods to aid recovery. While 30 days of recovery time may initially sound a little excessive, it was considered essential to compensate for not only the birth but also the total experience of being pregnant for nine months. 

While this isn’t always available to those of us living in the western world, utilizing some aspect of this ancient medicine can be exceptionally helpful navigating this new territory.

Time and time again in my clinical practice, I see the attention and care for the new baby overshadow the need for support for the new mother. In Chinese medicine, there is a saying “to heal the child, treat the mother”. This is an example of the importance of caring for mother, for her health and for baby’s health.

When should I start receiving postpartum treatments?

Leading up to labor, I have all my patients pre book a post party visit for 4-6 weeks after delivery.

At this treatment, we address any of the above mentioned symptoms, or anything else that may be showing up for them. Often, this is the first time mum may have left the house alone, and typically the quiet alone time is enjoyed and welcomed.

If symptoms present themselves prior to that time, treatment will begin at an earlier date.

It is not uncommon to have health issues related to postpartum develop one or two years following your birth. Seeing your practitioner shortly after your birth can help prevent these things from happening. However, if you find yourself six months or a year postpartum and not feeling your best, we would love to help. It is never too late to start seeing an acupuncturist!

 

If you are interested in learning more, give us a call at 1 778 400 6360.

 

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Cosmetic Acupuncture

Cosmetic Acupuncture Treatments

What is cosmetic acupuncture treatment and why is it all the rage?

Cosmetic Acupuncture has been gaining popularity recently with interest growing for natural healthcare. Facial fillers and botox have become incredibly popular over the years, with millions of individuals undergoing each treatment.

Did you know there is a natural alternative that can help treat the signs of aging and help with other health issues at the same time?

Cosmetic acupuncture (also called Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture) is a unique style of treatment that helps to revitalize and brighten the complexion.

It is effective for eliminating puffiness, reducing wrinkles/fine lines and giving the face and neck a bright, healthy glow.

 

All the fresh blood and oxygen flooding the face is like a reawakening of the complexion

 

What happens during a cosmetic acupuncture treatment?

When a new patient comes in for an acupuncture facial, there are a few different tools I will use.

These tools are:

  • facial rejuvenation acupuncture
  • gua sha (lightly rubbing a small tool over the surface of the skin)
  • facial cupping
  • topical oils and serums to enhance the overall treatment

In addition too attending to the face and neck, other acupuncture points will be used to help regulate other imbalances that have been observed.

For example, ‘problem skin’ like acne, may be due to hormonal imbalances, so additional points may be used to address the underlying cause.

What benefits can you expect?

There are many visible benefits of cosmetic acupuncture. Patients report softer, firmer skin, a reduction of deeper wrinkles, better skin tone, reduced puffiness or darkness under the eyes and overall more vibrant complexion.

Cosmetic acupuncture is not only a safe and exceptionally effective way to firm up the skin, there are many benefits to this treatment that goes beyond beauty alone.

As a whole body treatment, this specialized protocol addresses the internal system, balances hormones. You may experience additional benefits such as reduced stress and anxiety, better sleep, improved digestion, which are all essential for optimal skin health.

To book your cosmetic acupuncture consult please call 1 778 400 6360.

I work with clients virtually to help address skin needs holistically, please email hello@stefaniemiska.com to inquire.

 

Cosmetic Acupuncture

mittelschmerz

Mittelschmerz – How to tell if you are ovulating

Ovulation Marker #4 – Mittelschmerz

The previous three blog posts have highlighted proven methods of detecting ovulation. The bonus marker for detecting ovulation is mittelschmerz, a German word that means ‘ middle pain’.

While this marker isn’t an accurate (a.k.a official) marker for ovulation, many women experience mittelschmerz around ovulation.

Defining the word

Mittelschmerz: Pain due to ovulation that usually occurs at the midpoint between the menstrual periods. From the German mittel, meaning ‘middle,’ and schmerz, meaning ‘pain.’

Ovulation pain may occur because that follicular growth stretches your ovary before the egg’s release. It might also happen when the cyst actually ruptures, letting loose the egg along with some cystic fluid or blood, which can irritate the lining of your abdomen.

Mittelschmerz pain usually lasts a few minutes to a few hours, but it may continue for as long as a day or two.

How to know if you are experiencing mittelschmerz

While most describe it as a slight pinching sensation, you may experience pain that is:

  • On one side of your lower abdomen
  • Dull and cramp-like
  • Sharp and sudden
  • Accompanied by mild vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Rarely, severe

Mittelschmerz pain occurs on the side of the ovary that’s releasing an egg (ovulating). The pain may switch sides every other month, or you may feel pain on the same side for several months.

Keep track of your menstrual cycle for several months and note when you feel lower abdominal pain. If it occurs midcycle and goes away without treatment, it’s most likely mittelschmerz.

If you have been keeping track of your other signs of ovulation, BBT, cervical mucus, and position of the cervix, and know you are around ovulation, then mittelschmerz is an added tell, or sign, that ovulation is occurring.

I hope you enjoyed this added bonus marker!

Book your consult by calling 1 778 400 6360 or if you are not local, we can connect virtually by booking your 15 minute here.

 

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position of cervix

Position of cervix – How to tell if you are ovulating

Ovulation marker #3 – Position of cervix

Believe it or not, the body has a pretty miraculous way of keeping your informed as to what is going on. One of the ways it does this, is by literally showing you ovulation. This changes the position of the cervix.

During ovulation, the cervix begins to show, by changing position and firmness, almost like a flower softening and opening up for reception.

How do I check the position of my cervix?

The only way to check this yourself, is by using your fingers to feel your cervix. This should be done with clean hands (and short nails), a perfect time to do this is in the shower.

It may sound like something only taught to doctors and nurses, but there’s no reason a woman can’t learn where her cervix is and how to notice changes in cervical position.

For the majority of your cycle, your cervix sits slightly lower in your vagina (meaning its easier to reach with your finger) and is a little but more firm, like touching the tip of your nose.

During ovulation, when the cervix begins to show, she gets softer ,like touching your bottom lip, and sits a bit higher up in the vagina (meaning you must insert your finger deeper).

This is one of the ways your body naturally becomes more receptive for pregnancy, by having a closer, more closed off gateway throughout the cycle, and softening and opening up during ovulation when conception may be desired.

Tips for checking the position of your cervix

Some pro tips:

Don’t expect to understand what you’re feeling the first, second or even tenth time you try—this is a skill that comes from practice and patience. Once you learn what the signs are by experiencing the changes in your cervix throughout a few cycles, you’ll be a pro.

When you’re just learning, try to check your cervical position every so many days, even when you don’t think you’re ovulating. It’s easier to find when you’re not ovulating, and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re feeling.

 

 

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Cervical Mucus

Cervical Mucus – How to tell if you are ovulating

Ovulation key marker #2 – Cervical Mucus

One of the key markers of ovulation is cervical mucus. You have likely noticed it before, whether you knew it was linked to ovulation or not.

But … what is cervical mucus?

The hormones that control your menstrual cycle, they also make your cervix produce mucus. Thats the gooey stuff on your cervix that comes out of your vagina as discharge.

Your cervical mucus changes in colour, texture, and amount during your menstrual cycle, and especially around ovulation.

Cervical Mucous (also known as CM) increases at ovulation due to the increase in estrogen levels. This helps to create a hospitable environment for sperm.

Cervical fluid can be divided into two categories, peak and non-peak mucous. While both are considered fertile mucous, peak mucous is the well known, stretchy, egg white consistency.

Cervical mucous plays an important role in helping sperm survive longer in the vagina and helping them to move upward to connect with the waiting egg for conception.

Sperm can survive in the vagina for up to 5 days. Knowing when you are ovulating, by observing cervical fluid, can be an integral part of achieving or avoiding pregnancy.

You have likely noticed an increase in discharge around mid cycle, which you can tell by the slippery consistency when you wipe after going to the bathroom, some in your underwear or an overall feeling of increased wetness or lubrication.

Cervical mucus is 100% normal

In Toni Weschler’s book ‘Taking Charge of your Fertility’, she highlights a story about a women who was convinced she was having reoccurring infections every month and would continue to visit her doctor asking for antibiotics. What she did not realize, was that the increase in discharge, which happened monthly, is completely normal, and actually a really healthy part of the menstrual cycle.

Some things to look out for, which may require a check in with your doctor, is discharge that is foul smelling, green or thick yellow.

How to check for cervical mucus

There are three ways you can check your cervical mucous

  • Wipe the opening of your vagina before your pee with toilet paper, check the colour and feel of the mucous
  • Look at the colour and texture in your underwear
  • Put clean fingers into you vagina, and then check the colour and texture of the mucous with your fingers

 

 

Book your consult by calling 1 778 400 6360 or if you are not local, we can connect virtually by booking your 15 minute here.

 

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