Hurray! I’m so excited! Soon, a darling baby will be born, and Chinese Medicine helped all along the way. I want to share a story with you that is both happy, and illustrates how Chinese Medicine works. The mother has given her permission, but names have been changed to protect privacy.
Over two years ago, Melodie came to me to work on fertility. She was 31 or 32 at the time, still a prime age to get pregnant, and very hopeful. However, she was only menstruating every 3-4 months. This had been her pattern her entire adult life, ever since starting to menstruate. A very few women do only menstruate this often, so we assumed at the time that this was the way she was set up. Her idea was that since she had fewer chances to get pregnant, she wanted to enhance them by being as healthy as she could and promoting her fertility.
On examination, I found her to be generally very healthy, she had no major complaints, and her OB/GYN exam was normal. Other than the occasional headache, a normal amount of stress in her life, and these sporadic periods, she didn’t seem to have a lot of health problems. I mostly had to go by her tongue and pulse signs, which can be major indicators of health to an experienced Chinese Medicine practitioner. Even these were not too out of the ordinary, exceptthat her pulses did show a weakness in the Kidneys, which from Chinese Medicine point of view is very much related to the reproductive system. The Kidney energetic system governs the reproductive system as well, and the Kidney Yin, Yang, and Essence have to be strong in order to reproduce.
The entire case study would be long and probably only interesting to another practitioner, so suffice it to say, we started treating. Melodie came almost every week for acupuncture, and I quickly got her to start cooking Chinese herbs at home. We used the acupuncture at first to encourage her organs and hormones to work as best as possible, once a week. She was also very dedicated about cooking the herbs at home. These were very important to nourish the Kidney “essence”, basically “fertilizing the ground”, and making the eggs nice and healthy. Since Melodie’s Kidney deficiency was probably long standing, this can take a long time, months, to over a year.
Interestingly, as time went on, Melodie started having periods more often. From every 3-4 months, she started menstruating closer together, down to every 2 months, and after about a year she was menstruating every month. Once Melodie’s menstruation became normal, we could use the acupuncture to regulate her cycles, doing different treatments at different times of month, to in turn nourish the growth of the endometrium, encourage ovulation, and maintain the endometrium.
After a couple more months, Melodie still wasn’t pregnant, though, and it’s true that coming every week and cooking herbs every day can take some time. She got a little discouraged, and decided to take a break and also take pills instead of cooking herbs. During that month, she didn’t have a period, and she realized how important the cooked herbs were. After a nice Christmas break, she came back to both the acupuncture and herbs, and within 2 months, she was pregnant!
You can only imagine how excited she and her husband were, and I along with them. It always feels so good to see these positive results from the Chinese Medicine, and getting pregnant is one of the happiest occasions. At the beginning of her pregnancy, Melodie didn’t have much nausea or other symptoms, so took a break from acupuncture. If she had had nausea, or morning sickness, I would have had her come in, because acupuncture is one of the best ways to alleviate it. Half way through her term, she came back, and we’ve used the acupuncture to help alleviate the heartburn, low back pain, and edema that can come in the later months. Then, at about 33-34 weeks, Melodie found out the baby was transverse, was not taking the head down position needed for a baby to be born normally. Again, there is acupuncture that can be used to encourage the baby to turn. We did the normal protocol, and 10 days later, voila, the baby was head down.
Now we’re in the home stretch, the baby could come any time in the next few weeks! I’m doing acupuncture that helps boost Melodie’s Qi, making sure she has plenty of energy for the intensive labor and delivery. Since she has been coming nearly every week for the last trimester, I anticipate things will go well. Patients who have gotten acupuncture weekly in their last trimester have almost always had a smooth labor and delivery. If only I’d known about all this when I was pregnant 20 years ago!!!!