Tiredness during pregnancy usually occurs in the first trimester and again in the last trimester. Even though to experience tiredness during pregnancy is common, it should not be regarded as being normal. This is because from a Chinese medicine point of view, fatigue during pregnancy is regarded as a sign of imbalance and acupuncture can help for fatigue during pregnancy. Western medicine has the view that the growing placenta is stimulating hormonal changes and this is contributing to the tiredness in the first trimester and that this should be normal. Chinese medicine has the view that the chong meridian is responsible for the growing and maturing phases in adults and this acupuncture meridian can also be used during pregnancy. This meridian influences and regulates hormones naturally and can be used to treat many problems associated with pregnancy. There are in fact also a number of other causes that could be contributing to tiredness during pregnancy.
A weak spleen can cause fatigue during pregnancy
One of the common causes is due to spleen deficiency. There is a saying in Traditional Chinese Medicine, “The stomach takes in the food and the spleen digests the food”. Sometimes this spleen deficiency comes about because of morning sickness that was left untreated. Morning sickness naturally causes the woman to eat less to try help the nausea which then leads to a lack of fuel to be processed by the spleen.
Why do the iron supplements sometimes make you tired?
Often iron supplements are sometimes prescribed even though the iron levels may not particularly low. Iron supplements commonly lead to constipation which from a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view then cause blockage and stagnation, which then becomes another leading cause of tiredness and irritability!
Research has shown that acupuncture can improve anemia and there are also simple Chinese herbs that the female could take to improve her blood. It is better to promote good healthy blood and therefore health with regular acupuncture treatment starting at the onset of the pregnancy.
Waiting for the possibility of anemia to set in which then leads to tiredness and the prescribing of iron supplements, is like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. Prevention is the best treatment.
I am tired because I have to get up during the night
Modern medicine tells us that as the baby grows, the increased size presses down on the bladder which then wakes the mum to be and her getting up extra times during the night to urinate then leads to fatigue during the day. Western medicine says this is normal but Chinese medical theory says however, something quite different. The reproductive process is largely due to the function of the kidneys. Chinese physicians view that as the kidneys connect with the bladder and the bladder connect to the sexual organs, so the whole reproductive process is reliant on good kidney energy.
The growing baby “takes” the good kidney energy from the mother as it develops in the womb. The baby will take all the energy it can get so to say, even if it means depleting the mum’s reserves of energy. Chinese medicine says that when the kidneys are weak, it will lead to the person getting up in the night to empty the bladder. If the kidneys are strong, the bladder will be strong.
Can acupuncture help other pregnancy related problems?
Serena Joe, an acupuncturist practicing in Wellington says that a major part of her clinic is acupuncture for pregnancy-care and is pro-active in educating women about what is common and what is normal during pregnancy. Women are surprised to learn that breech baby, morning sickness, hemorrhoids and back ache during pregnancy can all be treated with acupuncture. She said “I am still surprised to learn that so many western women just take it for granted that they are destined to suffer with a multitude of complaints, including tiredness, during their pregnancy“.
Students graduating with a Bachelor’s of Acupuncture degree from the New Zealand School of Acupuncture have had extensive training in the treatment of Women’s health and pregnancy related problems as it is an extensive component of the degree curriculum. There are are over 500 members of the New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists Inc practicing throughout the country.