Here’s your GinSen Guide to surviving and thriving during your first trimester
You’re pregnant, congratulations !
…but am I meant to feel like this?
The first trimester of pregnancy is an exciting and nervous time for all mothers. In this article we will provide an overview of what to expect as a new life begins to unfurl within you and we will discover that it is not all plain sailing as some mothers experience some pretty horrid side effects. Luckily Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is at hand and is helpful at reducing these side effects. Read on to discover how TCM can help you to not only survive - but thrive - during your first three months of pregnancy.
Why is the first trimester so important?
The first trimester begins on the first day of your last period and lasts until the end of week 12. By the time that you know for sure you’re pregnant, you might already be five or six weeks pregnant! These first three months are a busy time where a lot of changes happen. The fertilised egg rapidly divides into a ball of cells, which implants in the wall of your womb where it continues to develop. This ball of cells goes on to create an embryo.
During the first trimester of your pregnancy your baby will develop faster than at any other time. At six weeks old it is usually possible to detect a heartbeat. By 12 weeks your baby’s bones, muscles and all the organs of the body have formed and will now look like a tiny human being called a foetus.
What can you expect to feel during your first trimester ?
Your body is bringing a new life into being. This is an incredible feat. Your first trimester of pregnancy will be marked by your body going through a series of amazing transformations, some of which will not be visible on the surface. It is so important that you are aware of what to expect so that you can face the months ahead with confidence.
Bring Your Balance Back with TCM
We will now share some of the most common ailments that are experienced during the first trimester, and describe what is happening from a TCM perspective.
Nausea & vomiting in pregnancy is very common and half of all pregnant women experience this in early pregnancy. Around 80% of women will experience some sort of nausea at some point during her pregnancy. To help relieve nausea, avoid having an empty stomach. Eat slowly and in small amounts every one to two hours. Choose foods that are low in fat and avoid food or smells that worsen your nausea. Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids and try to eat food-containing ginger – this can be very helpful.
TCM views nausea and vomiting
TCM view it as the result of the Stomach’s energy – its Qi – flowing in the wrong direction.
What is the direction of Qi is Wrong ?
TCM view it as the result of the Stomach’s energy – its Qi – flowing in the wrong direction. The natural and correct way for your Stomach Qi to flow is downwards – the acupuncture meridians start on the face and work their way down the body ending at the feet. In early pregnancy your Stomach Qi becomes depleted and this means that the energy flows upwards instead of downwards. This makes us feel nauseous and causes the reflux.
Constipation is a very common complains during the first trimester and nearly 40% of women suffer with the condition. During the first few months of pregnancy your body is flooded with hormones, particularly progesterone, that encourage the relaxation of your body’s muscles – including the muscles of your large intestine.
This means that they are less effective at squeezing out waste products.
During these early months your uterus is rapidly expanding which means there is less room than usual for your bowel – this cramps its ability to carry out its waste removal role effectively.
TCM also interprets constipation as the result of hormonal changes. These create a relaxation of the walls of the Colon. As the Colon is not able to move as effectively this in turn leads to the Qi moving more slowly along the Colon which creates Stagnation which manifests in constipation. At the same time Yin Deficiency leads to insufficient fluid to lubricate the Colon. This creates heat that causes further constipation by drying out the Colon, making it less flexible and this in turn dries out the stool which makes it harder to pass.
Tips: To help to relieve constipation incorporate more fibre such as leafy vegetables into your diet and drink lots of water and prune or other fruit juices. Increasing your levels of physical activity also helps by encouraging your large intestine to move more.
One of the first signs of pregnancy is fatigue. This can start as early as conception and implantation. As your body starts the incredible process of creating a new human life your pregnancy hormones instantly affect your body, mood, metabolism, brain, physical appearance, and sleep pattern.
At GinSen we interpret the fatigue in terms of your body putting the needs of your developing child first. This creates an energetic imbalance where less energy – or Qi – available to nourish your body. This results in feeling very tired. It is so important that during these early months you focus on being kind to yourself, taking rest and nourishing yourself well with good home made warming food.
Tips: It is very important that you create the right atmosphere for optimal rest and to enhance your ability to recharge. Try fitting your windows with blackout curtains, turning off any digital clocks, which can shine bright lights into your room. Listen to your body when it needs to rest. Even though you might not feel like it, incorporating a small amount of physical exercise into your day can help to raise your energy levels.
Anxiety and Low Mood
It is a myth that all women feel elated and glowing during pregnancy and many women actually feel anxious and experience low mood in the early months. It is very common to feel this way during your first trimester and more than 1 in 10 women experience this.
According to TCM each of our body’s organs is connected to a particular emotion. When our organs are in need of an energetic boost the emotions that they create can be affected. At GinSen we look at the emotions that you are feeling and correlate these with any sleep disturbance, your energy levels and the colour of the tongue. This enables us to devise a tailor made treatment strategy that allows us to re-harmonise your organs – resulting in improved and more balanced emotions.
Tips: Pregnancy is a big life event and can bring up many different emotions within us. It’s perfectly natural to worry about your baby’s health and how you will adjust to parenthood. It is important to appreciate that what you’re feeling is normal and will likely pass as you enter into your second trimester.
How can Chinese Medicine help?
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine are gentle and natural treatments that work to support the optimum functioning of your Organs. Both are safe during pregnancy, even in the early days, and there is some research that suggests acupuncture helps to prevent miscarriage.
Acupuncture during first trimester :
A study evaluated of 33 women who were experiencing sever vomiting. Acupuncture on the point PC6 above the wrist on the palmar side in combination with standard treatment, has been found to prevent some types of nausea and vomiting.
In addition to correcting the underlying issues that result in some of the symptoms of early pregnancy, acupuncture treatment will also be focused on supporting the effective functioning of your Liver. In both Western medicine and TCM the condition of your Liver contributes to morning sickness, your emotional state and also to fatigue – So it pays to pay attention to your Liver!
For more information about how Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can help you to survive and thrive through your first trimester. Why not book your free consultation today?
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.