Twin Pregnancies or Multiple Gestation Pregnancies
Twins, Triplets, Quadruplets – Oh my!
“What? I’m carrying more than one baby”? Congratulations!
A multiple gestation pregnancy is one where the mother carries more than one fetus. According to March of Dimes, 3 percent of women will experience a multiple pregnancy each year. Most multiple gestation pregnancies are with twins.
Unique Prenatal Care and Support
All pregnancies are unique, however, women who are experiencing a multiple gestation pregnancy will require special prenatal care and support such as more frequent health visits and testing. At times, it may be recommended that maternal-fetal medicine is used, especially in cases of higher risk pregnancies. Acupuncture offers a natural addition of support by taking care of the mom to keep her and the pregnancy healthy. In Chinese medicine, there is a saying, To help the child, treat the mother. In pregnancy this is especially true. Keeping the mother-to-be healthy from the beginning to the end of the pregnancy will strengthen and promote good development of the baby.
Multiple gestation pregnancies experience higher rates of complications than single gestation pregnancies. Most commonly, women experience preterm birth, defined as delivery before 37 weeks’ gestation.
Other multiple gestation pregnancy complications that can affect the mother include:
- Gestational diabetes
- Preterm labor – labor before 37 weeks
- Severe morning sickness
- Miscarriage and stillbirth
- Postpartum depression
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- First Trimester of Pregnancy
Weekly acupuncture treatment during the first 12-14 weeks of pregnancy is beneficial for alleviating morning sickness, preventing miscarriage and helping with fatigue.
Many pregnant women experience some morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy. As most women are reluctant to use conventional pharmaceuticals to help alleviate their symptoms, acupuncture can be a safe drug-free treatment to reduce nausea and vomiting.
Fatigue is normal during the first trimester of pregnancy. The restful and rejuvenating effect of acupuncture helps pregnant women feel rested and much less fatigued. Acupuncture treatment also helps with insomnia, which can contribute to fatigue.
Acupuncture helps prevent miscarriage by reducing stress, improving circulation and blood flow to the uterus and fetus, and strengthening all the organ systems of the body. It also helps prevent autoimmune reactions like increased natural killer cells and antibodies that might contribute to miscarriage.
Second Trimester of Pregnancy: Promote Baby Development
Most women feel good during their second trimester of pregnancy. We recommend weekly acupuncture throughout pregnancy for twin or multiple gestation. At this stage some women have minor symptoms, such as constipation, heartburn, hypertension, insomnia, sinusitis and anxiety. All can be helped with on-going acupuncture treatment.
Third Trimester: Pre-Birth Treatment, Labor Preparation & Pain Relief
On-going acupuncture treatment throughout pregnancy can be incredibly supportive. The month prior to the birth, weeks 36-40, is the best time to prepare your body for labor and delivery. We call this pre-birthing treatment and it helps prepare the mother-to-be for an efficient labor with less anxiety.
Supporting study: An acupuncture study of 167 women in New Zealand found that acupuncture once per week for the four weeks prior to delivery promoted an efficient labor with less medical intervention, decreased labor time, reduced caesarian section rate, reduced pain medication during labor. The women received fewer epidurals and there was less need for the use of the drug oxytosin to speed up contractions.
Acupuncture treatment for labor promotes readiness of the cervix, increases the strength and frequency of contractions, reduces fear, anxiety and exhaustion, and helps with pain management.
Loss of blood from childbirth, hormone fluctuations, exhaustion, anxiety, depression and physical recovery are part of postpartum. All women experience this, although some experience severe reactions. We recommend acupuncture should continue through postpartum period with 1-2 treatments per week for the first month. Any complications involving breastfeeding are also addressed.