There are many mental symptoms that may be classified as anxiety and depression that could be experienced during pregnancy.
These include crying for no reason, overwhelming irritability or feelings of butterflies in the stomach. Other women complain of insomnia, forgetfulness, palpitations, or even extreme outbursts of anger.
Acupuncture treatment for anxiety and depression during pregnancy is commonly performed by many members of the New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists, also now known as Acupuncture New Zealand.
The treatment of anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders is taught as part of the four year full time Bachelor of Acupuncture course at the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and TCM.
What organs are involved in the treatment of anxiety during pregnancy according to traditional Chinese medicine?
Chinese medicine theory stipulates that each major organ plays a role in the expression and control of certain emotions. These are:
- Liver controls anger
- Heart controls joy and happiness
- Lungs control sadness and worry
- Spleen controls thought
- Kidneys control fear
Heart and liver organ imbalances are more commonly seen in practice and are usually accompanied by other signs and symptoms.
What other symptoms may be experienced accompanying the depression or anxiety?
We ask Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre, opposite Wellington Hospital, who sees pregnant patients both with mental issues as well as pain problems. “From a western medial perspective, the hormonal changes taking place during pregnancy are often identified as the cause of a whole host of pregnancy related problems such as sciatic pain and insomnia. In Chinese medicine different groupings of signs and symptoms will be associated with different organs. For example, the symptoms of palpitations and insomnia with difficulty getting to sleep will be associated with the heart. If there is a liver imbalance, there could be dream disturbed sleep or headaches.”
Scott goes on to explain “There may be a whole host of accompanying symptoms that could be present including thirst, tongue ulcers, tiredness and poor memory which will point to the predominant organ imbalance. Often these signs could be intertwined with reflux or morning sickness so a thorough assessment is always done at the first visit.”