The only thing that makes for a bad birth experience is feeling that the choices and decisions were not your own. How can you can make safe, informed choices? How can you find the supportive care you´re looking for? Informed Choice – Making the Choices that are Appropriate for You
So, what does
informed choice actually mean? What it really means is that you have the right to ask for more information to consider if this is the right choice for you and that you have the right to say no.
If you understand about the options you might be given before you go into labour it´s much easier to make the choices that are genuinely appropriate for you. So why is it that even after you´ve done antenatal classes that so many labours still go pear-shaped? Safe Practice – Not Taking Risks With Your Health
The protocols of labour ward management are designed to not take risks with your health and ensure the safe delivery of your baby. This must always be the primary consideration. Sometimes interventions are just the right thing to do. The medical staff always have the safety of you and your baby as their primary concern.
But sometimes this can lead to just-in-case medicine where important decisions are made to try and avoid a problem that might
be there. Sometimes the labour management can send people down a medicalised track that they were not expecting. This “intervention cascade” is the very nub of why a labour may become a bad birth experience.
Sometimes the process is sacrificed in favour of the outcome. The baby is safe, but the labour was stressful and difficult, and often very long. This is why many people feel they are having a bad birth experience. Supportive Care – Continuity of Care in Your Pregnancy, Childbirth and Recovery
Having supportive care in your pregnancy can be a marvellous way to become Birth-Fit. Many women need interventions because they come into their labours under-powered, working up until 36 or 38 weeks approaching their labour with reduced energy. They´re not rested enough. Antenatal classes
, hypno-birthing, pregnancy yoga and acupuncture
are all wonderful ways to help prepare for your labour. These things give you lots of time to prepare your heart and mind for the task ahead, feeling mentally ready, knowing what your choices may be, really understanding interventions and when you might need them.
The people who support you in preparing for your labour can also be the people who support you in your aftercare as you recover from your childbirth and step into your motherhood feeling healthy and strong. Talk to Jani about a supportive care network in North London
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are beneficial in treatment of PCOS, for improving ovulatory function, aiding your fertile capacity, and improving your health and well being. Whether or not you are trying to conceive, acupuncture for PCOS is an important support for this condition. What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a metabolic condition rather than a gynaecological condition. It is a disturbance at the level of the chemical processes of the body, affecting both the digestive and reproductive hormone balances. There is a strong link between PCOS and insulin resistance.
The signs of PCOS are:
Blood Sugar, Insulin Resistance and Regular Ovulatory Function
- irregular periods, or a complete lack of periods
- irregular ovulation, or no ovulation at all
- reduced fertility – difficulty becoming pregnant, recurrent miscarriage
- ovaries showing polycystic appearance on ultrasound
- unwanted facial or body hair (hirsutism)
- oily skin, acne
- thinning hair or hair loss from the scalp (alopecia)
- weight problems – being overweight, rapid weight gain, difficulty losing weight
- depression and mood changes
Whether or not you are trying to conceive, it is important to help regulate your blood sugar balance in order to keep your digestive and reproductive health in balance.
There is a direct link between insulin resistance and ovulatory issues, and for many women with PCOS, especially those with known fertility problems, understanding the link between diet and ovulatory function can be the vital link in helping achieve better ovulatory function – so necessary for conception!
The best way to regulate your blood sugar is by changing your eating habits, modified in conjunction with your Chinese constitutional diagnosis, to increase insulin sensitivity and help your body towards regular ovulatory function. What to Expect from the PCOS Acupuncture Treatment
In addition to dietary changes, you will need very regular acupuncture treatment, according to the menstrual phases, to aid your body towards responding to the appropriate hormonal signals of each of the four phases throughout the menstrual cycle.
PCOS can be a difficult condition to treat, and we suggest you consider acupuncture and herbs for 4-6 months as a reasonable time frame to see if any ovulatory function can be regulated. Herbal and Dietary Medicine Help to Regulate Blood Sugar and Insulin
We strongly advise the use of Chinese herbs for PCOS, and the majority of our patients with this syndrome see our affiliate herbalist, Michael McIntyre (not the comedian!) who is expert in the treatment of infertility with Chinese herbs.
If herbs would not be your cup of tea, then we can also recommend our affiliate naturopathic nutritionist, Sharyn Singer, who can bring her expertise in understanding glycaemic index to helping you structure blood sugar balance through dietary advice and nutritional supplementation.
This approach to acupuncture treatment, herbs and dietary advice is going to benefit the quality of the follicles that will be able to stimulate forward for ovulation.
Keeping Breastfeeding Natural and Manageable
Breastfeeding is a natural process that can easily complicate. Many women may find it a straightforward procedure that comes very naturally, and there are also many women who find that it is a difficult and sometimes demoralising experience.
Acupuncture can address many of the complications of breastfeeding, including:
- blocked ducts
- breast pain
- insufficient lactation
- over production of milk
Western Approaches to Breastfeeding Complications
It is very important if your breastfeeding is not going smoothly to contact your midwife or obstetrician and to seek the help of those qualified to offer you the expert advice you may need to solve any breastfeeding issues.
Naturechild recommends the services of breastfeeding counsellor Geraldine Miskin
for expert advice about any difficulties you may be experiencing. Her website is a comprehensive resource for all aspects of breastfeeding. Chinese Medicine and Breastfeeding
Chinese medicine has two main contributions: acupuncture to help regulate hormones and traditional, and constitutionally specific, nutritional advice for the mother.
The effect that acupuncture has on the function and regulation of hormone balance make it a particularly appropriate treatment to balance breast disharmonies.
The food that you as a mother eat has a direct impact on the quality of your milk and therefore on your baby. The medicine of Chinese nutritional practices can have an incredibly profound effect on your energy and this will affect your child.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a common condition in which small pieces of the womb lining (the endometrium) are found outside the womb. This could be on the inside or on the outside of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, bladder, bowel, vagina or rectum. A major symptom of endometriosis is recurring pelvic pain. The pain can be mild to severe, often felt as cramping that may occur on one or both sides of the pelvis, in the lower back, across the abdomen, in rectal area and even down the legs.
The amount of pain a woman feels is not necessarily related to the extent or stage of endometriosis. Some women will have little or no pain despite having extensive endometriosis affecting large areas, or having scarring. On the other hand, women may have severe pain even though they have only a few small areas of endometriosis – and everything in between. Endometriosis is as individual as we are. Symptoms of Endometriosis
However, pain does typically worsen with severity. Symptoms of endometriosis-related pain may include:
Relief for Endometriosis with Chinese Medicine
- dysmenorrhea – painful, sometimes disabling cramps; pain may get worse over time (progressive pain)
- chronic pelvic pain – typically accompanied by lower back pain or abdominal pain pain may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting
- dyspareunia – painful sex
- dysuria – urinary urgency, frequency, and sometimes painful voiding
- bleeding from the rectum
- bleeding between periods
- irregular menstruation
- heavy menstruation
- fertility problems
Traditional Chinese medicine can be a very effective way to treat endometriosis, bringing relief from the discomforts and pain this condition may cause, by working to resolve the underlying condition through the use of acupuncture, herbs and moxibustion.
In acupuncture treatment, understanding the history of the development of the condition is vital, and we will review your menstrual history, your contraception history, and any conception history. This will be in the context of your family history and any surgical history, or possible history of any genital infections.
Our affiliate herbalist, Michael McIntyre (not the comedian!) is expert in the treatment of gynaecological problems, including endometriosis, with Chinese herbs. Acupuncture Treatment For Endometriosis – A Realistic Outlook
Endometriosis can be a difficult condition to treat, and you need to consider acupuncture and herbs for 4-6 months as a reasonable time frame to see if menstrual function can be regulated.
Diet can play a significant role in how you experience your endometriosis, and you will need to match your diet to your constitutional and differential diagnosis. We can also put you into the excellent hands of our affiliate naturopathic nutritionist Sharyn Singer should considered dietary changes and support be necessary.
Acupuncture Can Increase IVF Success By Up To 65%
Many couples can find the whole process of an assisted conception (AC) quite stressful. There may be considerable running around, back and forth from the fertility unit for various tests and scans throughout the procedure, which can take up to six or eight weeks. This stress can itself inhibit a successful outcome.
Acupuncture during this time can be very calming, many women comment on how well it helps them to cope with the strains of keeping up the pace of the AC treatment. It is recommended that both partners consider the benefits of acupuncture support in the lead up to an assisted protocol, to enhance the health of the sperm and eggs, and to promote the most receptive environment for conception. Acupuncture to Calm the Nervous System and Help the Hormones
Acupuncture works by assisting the communication between all the systems of your physiology, and between your mind/heart and your body which is which is why acupuncture brings so much relief from stress. It can help to relax the whole system and create a much more receptive capacity for conception.
Acupuncture has a well understood neurological effect, calming to the nervous system, helping your body into the hormonal cascades most beneficial for conception. Acupuncture can greatly reduce the physical stresses that may be experienced during AC, and it can have a powerful effect in calming the mental and emotional anxieties and stresses which can be experienced during an assisted cycle.
Acupuncture may also help increase pelvic blood flow and help relax uterine muscles which can have a beneficial effect during transfer treatment. Treatment after egg collection can reduce inflammation, helping to generate as receptive an environment for transfer as possible. Acupuncture Can Help in Many Types of Assisted Conception
There are many types of assisted conception, including:
- IUI: intrauterine insemination
- IVF: in vitro fertilisation
- ICSI: intracytoplasmic sperm injection
- GIFT: gamete intrafallopian transfer
- ZIFT: zygote intrafallopian transfer
- PESA: percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration
- ET: embryo transfer
- FET: frozen egg transfer
- TESE: testicular sperm extraction
- SUZI: subzonal sperm injection
- DI: donor insemination
- PGD: preimplantation genetic diagnosis
- PGS: preimplantation genetic screening
Some assisted conception protocols will involve drug therapy, used to control the body's hormone levels to try and enhance conception. Some women may find the hormone therapy can impact on their wellbeing with uncomfortable side effects.
Acupuncture is excellent for helping the system to acclimatise to the drug therapy, in many ways helping women to feel more comfortable during their assisted cycles. Acupuncture can also help to improve sperm parameters, and is a great support for couples need to have AC due to male factor fertility issues. No matter where you are on your conception journey Jani is here to help and support you
Acupuncture for a Healthy Pregnancy
Every woman wants the very best for her child throughout all the stages of pregnancy as well as wanting strong energy for herself to cope with the labour, and good reserves of energy for all the joys and demands of having a newborn. However, it is rare that things go 100% as planned at every stage of the process.
Many of the 'minor' discomforts of pregnancy are not treated in western medicine, as everyone one involved - GPs, consultants, midwives and mothers - all prefer to avoid the use of pharmaceutical drugs or intervention treatment. For many women this may leave them suffering with not much more than good advice and being asked to just put up with it. Influencing the Health of the Child Through the Wellbeing of the Mother
The ancient Chinese believed that pregnancy and childbirth should be a period of balanced health during which the wellbeing of the developing child was maximised through the health of the mother. Because of this philosophy, acupuncture treatment in pregnancy has been studied in depth and is well understood within Chinese medicine.
Working during pregnancy can be a depleting experience for some women, often leading to an increase of some of the symptoms of pregnancy and depriving them of the extra rest that is so necessary during this special time. Acupuncture is an excellent therapy for helping to build the body's reserves of energy, giving mothers that little extra to help cope with the demands of working in pregnancy. Acupuncture for the Discomforts and Problems of Pregnancy
Acupuncture is excellent for building energy reserves, and supporting all the body's systems, and in particular helping to help balance the hormonal and chemical changes required for a fluent pregnancy, delivery and recovery. This fluency is what helps you to feel healthy, calm and balanced and well energised.
Acupuncture is a tremendous way to help prepare your body (and heart and mind!) for the demands of caring for a newborn, and can help to bring a significant boost to helping you to have the energy to cope with sleep interrupted nights and the particular tired that comes with the constancy of caring for an infant.
Acupuncture is an effective way to deal with the discomforts of pregnancy in the assurance that there are no negative side effects to the baby and it can also help in turning breech presentation babies
and for the induction of labour
Starting Life With Your Body in Balance
From newborn babies to teenage, Chinese medicine is a safe and effective way to help children's bodies to harmonise themselves through strengthening the immune system and treating any presenting symptoms, helping your child to start life with his or her body in balance.
Most children, especially the younger ones, do not like needles. There are very gentle techniques that are not at all frightening or concerning for children which include massage, rubbing, tapping, the use of ‘moxa’, press balls and rollers and tappers.
There are very gentle needle techniques which many children do not find upsetting and many useful treatment techniques which you can use at home (not needles) as an ongoing way of helping. Diet can be immensely important too as 'food is the first medicine'.
Working With the Deeper Causes of Illness in Children
The presenting symptoms of a complaint give signs to the acupuncturist of deeper issues in your child’s health which, if dealt with in a natural way early on can set them up for more robust health throughout their life.
The ability of the Chinese diagnosis to understand the underlying condition is a big part of why it can be so successful in treating these conditions. Chinese diagnosis is also very effective for identifying when a physical symptom may stem more from an emotional issue that a physiological one.
Jani works with many different practitioners and so she is able to offer an assessment service if you are unsure of which therapies might be the most effective for your child, and to help you find the right kind of treatments and/or medical support to help resolve the issues your child and family may be experiencing.
Acupuncture is very effective in treating children with:
• failure to thrive (underweight)
• ear infections
• chronic cough
• recurrent infections
• sleeping issues
• digestive disorders
• behavioural issues
• concentration issues
Prepare Your Body for Labour with Acupuncture
Acupuncture can be very effective to help encourage spontaneous labour. The treatment can be done from 41 weeks gestation (one week past due date). Needles are placed in the hands, feet lower leg and lower back and left in place for 30-40 minutes. It can be beneficial to have several consecutive treatments for two to four days. We will also teach you acupressure to do following the acupuncture, so it is great if your partner can also come along to this treatment.
There may be circumstances when it would be appropriate to consider this treatment prior to 41 weeks, but only under consultation with your midwife and/or consultant obstetrician. Acupuncture can help prime your body and your baby for labour.
Encouraging A Natural Birth with Acupuncture
This treatment is particularly helpful for encouraging the hormonal cascades that instigate labour as well as encouraging the baby downward in the birth canal. Labour usually begins when the baby's head meets the cervix, and this treatment is using acupoints that greatly enhance downward movement at the same time helping to move the cervix into a favourable position for that meet.
The points we use help signal to the body that it is time to deliver the baby. These are the points that are otherwise never used during pregnancy, because they are so effective in stimulating the body to open and release.
Many mothers find this treatment reassuring; it is very gentle and safe, and most mothers find it helps to ease the pressure they may feel about having a hospital induction. In this treatment we have time to discuss your thoughts and feelings about potential induction, and we can help you to feel very clear about the physiology of the onset of labour, helping you to feel prepared about making the best choices for you and your baby.
Acupuncture Used in Conjunction with Western Induction
In our experience having the acupuncture induction treatment seems to help the body to cope better if a hospital induction becomes necessary. Acupuncture helps to prime the body’s systems and can help the body to respond more efficiently and fluently to the stimulus of the prostaglandin pessaries and/or the syntosonin drip.
As with the pre-birth protocols, this treatment is very effective at promoting optimum foetal position, helping to promote the most fluent position between the baby’s head and the mother’s pelvis, and for helping to ripen the cervix. Acupuncture also helps to prime the body with strong energy, stimulating the endocrine processes
(all the right hormones!) and can be very helpful for calming any fears and anxieties that may arise at this time.
You can use acupressure on the “induction” points at home. During your treatment you (and your partner) can be taught how to use acupressure on the “induction” points for you to do at home. This will help to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment, further encouraging your body towards labour.
Acupuncture treatment can really help to energise the mother and may help to bring the added strength needed to have an effective labour and delivery. In good heart, with expectant joyfulness that you will soon be holding your baby!
Specialization and General Practice in Chinese Medicine
Western medicine has become increasing specialized over the years and no-one nowadays would think of sending a husband with recurrent migraines or shoulder pain to see a Harley Street consultant gynaecologist because the consultant had been great during their pregnancy. Specialization in western medicine means that you become expert in a small part of the whole range of knowledge (be that obstetrics, physiotherapy or whatever).
Chinese medicine is not the same. It looks to balance the systems of the whole body: by definition to be a good specialist you need to be a great generalist. Specialization is more a window on the whole range of knowledge – as a specialist in pregnancy you are good at treating back pain, stress, digestive issues, bereavement, men’s issues, treating children, teens etc, not simply because they all relate to having children, but because to treat them with acupuncture you have to understand how to bring the body into balance, something which applicable to everyone.
Acupuncture Does Not Use Western Medical Categories
Acupuncture’s way of mapping the human body and what can go wrong with it is different to the theoretical framework of western medicine. Partly for this reason it can treat many complaints which don’t have specific western solutions or even, indeed, a proper western categorization.
Further, because of this different framework of understanding, it sees connections between symptoms that western medicine does not look for. In Chinese medicine, sighing, depression, feeling wound up, moodiness, vomiting, abdominal distention, unhappiness, and painful periods are all symptoms of the same root issue.
Common Conditions Treated With Acupuncture
Many common conditions can be treated with acupuncture:
- all digestive issues
- weight management
- diabetes and insulin management
- tiredness & fatigue
- ME & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- insomnia/sleep problems
- poor immune issues
- stress & anxiety
- smoking cessation
- backache / sciatica
- headache and migraine
Acupuncture to Support and Balance the Body in IVF
Many couples are told that they have what is referred to as "unexplained infertility". Acupuncture is a tremendous support for couples who may then choose to try assisted conception, and it is equally helpful for couples who feel they wish to first try enhancing their own fertility in hopes of a natural conception.
Acupuncture for IVF is an excellent support to help you to cope with the often stressful procedures, and to help balance any side effects of the drug therapy. Acupuncture can greatly improve the chances for a successful conception.
How Can Acupuncture Improve Fertility?
Acupuncture for fertility is an excellent way to help enhance your diagnosis, to understand more fully the reasons why you are having difficulty conceiving. Chinese diagnosis can often reveal imbalances in the internal climate that inhibit conception and treatment can often correct these, resulting in a natural conception.
Acupuncture is always ultimately about balance. When one aspect of the whole system is in distress then it can easily have a knock-on effect elsewhere. The real benefit of a Chinese diagnosis is to help understand the balance within the whole, and, using acupuncture, herbs, moxa, diet and lifestyle advice, help rectify any imbalances that are affecting your functions.
Acupuncture for fertility will help to regulate the menstrual cycle and smooth out any untoward symptoms that may accompany the period such as PMT, scanty or excessive bleeds, irregular cycles, mid cycle or intramenstrual bleeds, headaches, cramping, back ache, etc. Regulating the function of the menstruation will help to enhance the receptivity of the uterus, to enhance the quality of the ovum (eggs waiting to ovulate) and it will definitely make you feel better.
Acupuncture is an excellent support for women who have endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, PCOS or fibroids.
Stresses and Strains Can Cause Infertility
The body's natural instinct is to conceive. Next to the need for water and for food and shelter, conception is one of our foremost survival instincts. If the body does not believe that it has the where-with-all to sustain a full term pregnancy, this may inhibit conception. Acupuncture can help reduce your stress.
Conception will occur when there is enough balance between the emotional, hormonal and physical elements of a person. This is the great thing that acupuncture has to offer - that to bring balance on all levels reduces stress. When the body and mind are less stressed there is much greater opportunity to turn the energies toward conception. This applies to both natural and assisted conception.
For many people working full time with a commute is 'normal'. Add to this a diet that may not be sufficient in nutrients, a hurried approach to daily life, less than clean water, less than clean air, not enough rest, and you begin to see how the degradation of all these daily tasks and functions can add up to a reduced health within the individual and impair fertility. Chinese traditional medicine can help to reverse these factors. Talk to Jani about how Chinese medicine can help boost fertility