There are a number of causes of anaemia with iron deficiency anaemia being the most common. During pregnancy, women can be more prone to iron deficiency anaemia at the 20 week period and in the last four to six weeks.
Factors such as poor eating habits or having a history of repeated miscarriages may be contributing factors to anaemia. Women can be prescribed an iron supplement such as Ferrous Sulphate or a plant based extract. In addition, certain foods like molasses and spinach are also recommended.
From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective anaemia is associated with a diagnostic pattern called “blood depletion.” There are a number of organs involved in the production of blood and a weakness in one or more of them can lead to blood depletion.
What organs are related to anaemia during pregnancy?
In Chinese medicine there is saying that states that the stomach takes in the food and the spleen digests the food. In this case, the spleen processes food to produce the blood. The kidneys may also play a role in blood production because they are an organ involved with fluid transportation and a part of the blood is said to be made up of fluid.
What about organs that store and move blood like the liver and heart?
Chinese medicine has the view that when the liver and heart have insufficient blood, symptoms like paleness, tiredness and palpitations could result. These symptoms are also associated with anaemia.
Could the acupuncture actually improve the blood tests?
Dr Debra Betts, PhD, in her book The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth, reveals that she has had discussion with midwives who have observed that the acupuncture and moxibustion had increased the haemoglobin and ferritin levels. In some of these cases the women were shown how to use self administered moxibustion on specific acupuncture points.
Is there a best acupuncture point to treat anaemia during pregnancy?
We ask Laura Callaghan of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre opposite Wellington Hospital who sees many women with related pregnancy and gynaecology problems. “Unfortunately, there is no best acupuncture point. A successful outcome is dependant on an accurate diagnosis and the creation of a treatment protocol that suits the patient.”
Laura goes on to suggest, “In addition to the acupuncture, specific Chinese herbs such as red dates cooked with ginger in a rice congee could be considered. Western dietitians might alternatively recommend oats cooked with apricots”.