Women can experience an imbalance of many emotions during pregnancy including irritability, anxiety and depression. Research has demonstrated that acupuncture can help for post-natal depression so it is only natural to conclude that acupuncture for depression during pregnancy may also help. There may also be a number of other accompanying symptoms such as insomnia, lack of appetite and fatigue accompanying the depression.
What do these other accompanying symptoms mean?
These symptoms can help distinguish which type of imbalance is causing the depression according to a traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis. Women most likely will discuss their emotions with their midwife, which can be good therapy just in itself, but the midwife will most likely also refer them to a counselor.
Why did the depression start in the first place?
Sometimes it’s hard to say which came first, the chicken or the egg. Did the mum become depressed after insomnia and fatigue set in or did the depression trigger insomnia and fatigue. There are a number of organs involved in depression during pregnancy according to a traditional Chinese medicine view point and a liver imbalance is a common cause. The liver is an organ full of blood and during the growth of the baby, the blood is needed by the baby and hence a common cause of depression is due to what is called in Chinese medicine, “Blood Deficiency”. When the blood becomes weak it can’t supply the heart so palpitations can arise as a result. This can also leave an empty type feeling in the chest sometimes described as sadness or anxiety.
There is a saying in Chinese medicine that states “The tears are the fluid of the liver”. If the depression being experienced by the pregnant mum is accompanied by teariness, then most likely the liver will be involved.
Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre opposite Wellington Hospital says “I see this a lot, where the pregnant mum says she just cries for no apparent reason. There are acupuncture points to help this“.
An acupuncture point on top of the head known as baihui (One hundred meetings) can be selected as it connects with the liver meridian and has the function to sooth the stress like symptoms that the pregnant mum may be experiencing.
In fact, this point is one of Debra Betts’ favourite acupuncture points as described in her book The Essential Guide to Acupuncture and Pregnancy in Childbirth. Debra is a wellington based acupuncturist and researcher who teaches at the New Zealand School of Acupuncture.
Members of The New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists (Acupuncture NZ) Inc also known simply as Acupuncture NZ, are fortunate to have Debra Betts residing in New Zealand, as she regularly lectures to them on women’s disorders.
More and more midwives are referring acupuncturists these days.