From a western medical viewpoint, certain pregnancy related symptoms like heart burn, nausea and general stress may be contributing factors leading to sleeping problems during pregnancy.
The medical treatment for insomnia that is experienced during pregnancy, is very limited and women are usually just advised to relax and to try maintain a regular lifestyle. On the other hand however, acupuncture treatment for insomnia experienced during pregnancy has been used for hundreds of years.
The treatment of women’s problems with acupuncture and Chinese herbs was already classified as a specialist field by 1200 AD.
Dr Debra Betts, PhD, has a chapter devoted to insomnia in her book The Essential Guide to Acupuncture and Childbirth.
According to tradition Chinese medicine diagnosis, what can cause insomnia during pregnancy?
The two most commonly seen scenarios seen in the acupuncture clinic are yin depletion and qi and blood depletion. These are diagnostic terms according to traditional Chinese medicine terminology and are explained in another post Acupuncture for Insomnia during Pregnancy.
Which acupuncture points can be used to treat insomnia during pregnancy?
We ask Serena Joe, a Wellington based acupuncturist who sees many women’s health related disorders. “First most importantly, we need to pay attention as to what stage of the pregnancy the woman is at, as there are some acupuncture points that are contraindicated during the early stages of pregnancy and others that are not used in the later stage of pregnancy. I always exercise gentleness and caution when first seeing any new patient as I determine how strong constitutionally the patient is“.
Serena goes onto to explain “The acupuncture point on the back of the neck, anmien is one of my favorites and the acupuncture point Heart 7 shenmen on the wrist is also most useful if the cause is from qi and blood depletion. If the patient has become particularly stressed because of the insomnia I use Du 20 baihui on top of the head“.
There are many other acupuncture points that can also be selected.
Are there any Chinese herbs that could be helpful?
A simple herb like lily bulb, bai he , which is often easily obtainable from a Chinese grocery store, can be added to any soup or cooked on its own. It has the traditional use of soothing irritability and treating insomnia.