Third Trimester – Pregnancy Acupuncture

The final stretch – the third trimester

It may feel as if there’s no way your belly can get any bigger, but there’s no doubt about it —  it will get bigger over the course of the third trimester of pregnancy. A lot bigger. Here’s what to expect from your body and your rapidly-maturing baby in these final few weeks.

Some commonly asked questions about these last few weeks

How long is the third trimester?

Week 29 – Week 40 (birth)

How is my body preparing for delivery?

One of the ways your body prepares is as your due date approaches, your cervix becomes thinner and softer in a process called effacement that helps the cervix open during childbirth.  This is a normal, natural process that helps the birth canal (vagina) to open during the birthing process.

Why do I have to pee so much?

As you baby grows, the pressure on your organs will increase, including your bladder.

How is my baby growing?

  • Your baby’s bones are soft but fully formed.
  • Movements and kicking increase.
  • Body fat increases
  • The eyes can open and close.
  • Organs are almost fully developed
  • Lanugo (fine hair) begins to fall off

Symptoms you may experience

  • Your belly button may protrude
  • Hemorrhoids
  • The baby “dropping,” or moving lower in your abdomen
  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Contractions – which may be a sign of real or false labor
  • Softening of ligaments and joints in preparation of birth
  • Stretch marks

Tips to manage third trimester symptoms

  • Keep moving – gentle walks, a prenatal yoga class
  • Massage- most mums find massage extremely helpful for general aches and pains during pregnancy
  • Acupuncture for labor preparation and cervical ripening
  • Plan ahead for postpartum care. I invite all my patients to pre book their post party visit prior to labour. This ensures if there are any post part symptoms to address, they won’t be put on the back burner. Postpartum doulas are extremely helpful, to help with cooking, holding baby while you shower, offering advice about recovery, breastfeeding etc.

 

 

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

 

Second Trimester – Pregnancy Acupuncture

Second trimester of pregnancy

The next three months bring lots of changes for your growing fetus and, most likely, welcome relief from early pregnancy symptoms. Here’s everything you need to know to really sail through most women’s favourite time of pregnancy, the second trimester: weeks 14–28.

Once you enter the second trimester you may find it easier than the first. Your nausea (morning sickness) and fatigue may lessen or go away completely.

However, you will also notice more changes to your body.

That “baby bump” will start to show as your abdomen expands with the growing baby. By the end of the second trimester you will even be able to feel your baby move!

Symptoms you may experience

While most mum’s find the second trimester the most comfortable in terms of symptoms or general discomfort, here are some symptoms that you may experience:

  • Heartburn
  • Low back or pelvis discomfort
  • Mild swelling of ankles and feet
  • Varicose Veins

 

What part of my baby is growing?

  • Digestive system
  • Senses: by week 22 of pregnancy, baby is developing senses and is starting to smell, see and hear, and those little eyes are beginning to open.
  • Heart
  • Hair, Skin, Nails
  • Brain

What tests or screening might I need to get?

  • Glucose screening: About one in 10 pregnant women is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which is why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all women be screened for the condition around week 24  to week 28 of pregnancy.
  • Ultrasound/ Reveal the sex of the baby: Usually between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy, your doctor will measure the baby, check developing organs, determine the amount of amniotic fluid, and — if you like — clue you in on the sex of your baby.
  • Possibly, prenatal genetic screening: If you haven’t already and if you have certain risk factors, your doctor may suggest a genetic screening
How should I be taking care of myself during these few weeks?
  • Eating a well balanced, nutrient dense and nourishing diet. Think lots of vegetables, health fats and quality protein.
  • Making sure to move your body at least a little every day, gentle yoga, a walk around the block, a living room dance party, increasing blood flow and strengthening muscle tone is crucial.
  • Tracking your weight gain and making sure you have your doctors appointments scheduled.
  • Consider planning a baby moon. Since first-trimester nausea should be quelled (and some airlines put restrictions on traveling later in pregnancy), now’s a good time to plan one last hurrah before baby’s arrival.
  • Continuing on with your regular acupuncture treatments to keep you feeling as good as possible!

 

 

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

 

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.

 

 

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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postpartum acupuncture

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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facial rejuvenation acupuncture

What is Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture?

What is Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture?

Facial Rejuvenation acupuncture is one part of the overall treatment plan when you come in for cosmetic acupuncture.

This cosmetic treatment is an extension of traditional acupuncture.  It can naturally help make the skin look younger, smoother, and all-around healthier.

Unlike injection procedures, facial acupuncture addresses not only signs of aging, but also the skin’s overall health.

But, how does it work?

During a treatment, tiny needles are placed in acupuncture points on the face. This causes micro trauma to the skin, which signals the body to send collagen, qi and blood, directly to the area to heal.

As the needle punctures the skin, it creates a wound, which is called a positive micro trauma. This sends your body into repair mode. Similar to micro needling, which uses hundreds of pricks through a rolling device, this is a similar function… just a little less intense (using less needles).

From a western medicine perspective, the bodies responds to these micro traumas by increasing blood flow and the production of collagen and elastin for wound healing. Due to the superficial level of the needles, it may also stimulate neurotransmitter production.

From the Chinese Medicine perspective, the acupuncture needles increase the flow of blood and qi to the area of insertion which enhances colour, vibrancy and has an overall ‘lifting’ effect.

Are there any negative side effects?

Facial rejuvenation acupuncture is very safe with minimal side effects.

Occasionally the face is flushed after treatment due to the increase in blood flow.

Very rarely bruising can happen, which clears up on its own within a few days.

Facial rejuvenation acupuncture is not only for people who already have wrinkles or problem skin

Many people prefer to get started early and take a preventative approach. As with any form of treatment, the earlier the better! This treatment is very effective at reducing the signs of aging and can be used preventatively, which can slow the onset of wrinkles and problem areas and will save money and time in the long run.

 

 

To inquire about local or virtual skin consults please contact us at 1 778 400 6360 / hello@stefaniemiska.com

 

facial rejuvenation acupuncture

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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mittelschmerz

ovulation

Ovulation Phase Of The Menstrual Cycle

What is ovulation?

Ovulation (the Ovulatory phase) is the shortest phase and lasts for 2-3 days.

Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the fallopian tube, and is made available to be fertilized.

Approximately every month an egg will mature within one of your ovaries. As it reaches maturity, the egg is released by the ovary where it enters the fallopian tube to make its way towards waiting for sperm and the uterus.

The lining of the uterus has thickened to prepare for the fertilized egg. If no conception occurs, the uterine lining, as well as blood, will be shed.

The shedding of an unfertilized egg and the uterine wall is the time of menstruation.

The interlude – ovulation

The dominant follicle in the ovary produces more and more estrogen as it grows larger.

The dominant follicle reaches about 2 cm (0.8 in)—but can be up to 3 cm—at its largest right before ovulation (6,7). When estrogen levels are high enough, they signal to the brain causing a dramatic increase in luteinizing hormone (LH).

This spike is what causes ovulation (release of the egg from the ovary) to occur. Ovulation usually happens about 13-15 days before the start of the next period.

During this time, if the egg comes in contact with sperm, it is fertilized. So keep in mind that during these days you are most likely to get pregnant (remember to use contraception).

The egg will survive for 12-24 hours and will either be fertilized or will die. Your cervix becomes soft, moves up higher and opens. It moves up higher to help the egg get the best sperm – the sperm have to swim farther to get to the egg. Your cervical fluid is very clear or viscous egg-white fluid, with lots of elasticity. 

Hormones during ovulation

The two main hormones from the previous phase, estrogen and testosterone, continue to ride to their peak levels, enhancing all the benefits you enjoyed during the follicular phase.

You may notice you look, and feel, more attractive, and more confident. Your senses may feel heightened, your vision, smell and taste. You also may notice an increase in libido, or sexual arousal, again – mother nature doing its part to ensure procreation.

What to do when you are ovulating

This is a great time to connect with your sexual energy and put it towards connecting with your own body and energy, or with your partner. Ovulation phase is the optimal time to be putting energy outward, to connect with new friends and relationships, to make future plans, and plan public speaking or networking events.

This is also the best time in your cycle for high impact and intensity workouts.

 

 

Book your consults 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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