Alongside medical care, some pregnant women seek what are known as complementary therapies or integrative medical approaches to reduce symptoms associated with pregnancy (like nausea and lower back pain).
Today, we will look at four of these alternative therapies. As you consider these approaches for yourself, always consult your doctor, midwife, nurse, or doula for recommendations and special considerations.
Based on traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into key points on the body. Primarily used as a way to reduce back and pelvic pain, acupuncture is considered safe during pregnancy when performed by a state-licensed acupuncturist. We recommend Modern Acupuncture!
One potential side effect is soreness at the place where the needles are inserted.
It is reported that acupuncture may relieve:
Stress and anxiety
Swelling and pain (including back, pelvis, and neck)
Indigestion and constipation
Chiropractic care is considered to be safe for pregnant women, and some chiropractors have been specially trained to work with pregnant women. Some of our local favorites are Life Spring Chiropractic, Grassroots Health and Wellness, and Mission Health Center.
This kind of complementary therapy adjusts a misaligned spine or joints, which pregnant women may experience as their abdomen, back, pelvis, and posture undergo changes throughout pregnancy.
Potential benefits include: relieving back, neck, or joint pain; controlling nausea; and shortening the time of labor and delivery.
Like any therapeutic massage, prenatal massage can help with pain and soreness, reduce stress, and improve sleep. It does this by relaxing muscle tension and improving blood circulation. One of our favorites is Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa.
Prenatal massage can also help with sciatic nerve pain that many women experience late in pregnancy as the baby and uterus grow, applying more pressure to the pelvic floor and lower back.
Usually, massage is not recommended during the first trimester and the abdomen is not massaged at any time during the pregnancy. Lying on one's side is the recommended position for prenatal massage.
Also, massage is not recommended for women with a high-risk pregnancy, preeclampsia, previous preterm labor, or who are experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or headaches.
Pelvic Floor Therapy
Pelvic Floor Therapy includes exercises that help your pelvic muscles get stronger and work properly, including Kegels. These exercises are done by contracting and relaxing pelvic floor muscles. Kegels can help relieve pain and control incontinence as well as better prepare the body for labor and delivery. We love the therapists at Concierge Physical Therapist.
Questions to Ask
If you are considering one of these alternative therapies. Here is a list of questions to ask the practitioner before you begin:
What are your qualifications? How long have you been practicing?
Do you have evidence that this treatment is effective?
What outcomes should I expect?
Are there any potential risks or side effects?
How long can I continue this therapy?
What is the cost? Will insurance cover any aspect of this treatment?
Tennessee Family Doulas would love to help you navigate these alternative therapies and all your other pregnancy questions! Reach out to us today.