If you have seen the popular Orangutan meme on social media where the orangutan just sits there in disbelief about having been told: “Get pregnant, they said,” “You’ll glow, they said,” you would relate well to this article.
Pregnancy can be a roller-coaster ride – full of excitement on some turns and hair-raising on the others. By the time their pregnancies are confirmed, most moms expect two main characteristics: glow and Pain. Sometimes you think what others perceive as glow is really your extreme intolerance of the pain that you are trying very hard not to express in public.
The increased flow of blood tends to cause discomfort in the form of sinus infections or swollen ankles and while these may seem minor compared to the pain you are programmed to expect during labour, these minor discomforts can be very bothersome on a persistent basis.
There are various methods that one can seek to relieve these discomforts. There is an increasing awareness around the world regarding the unnecessary amounts of western medicine being prescribed, and their unfortunate side-effects. Thankfully, mothers-to-be around the world are waking up to alternative methods for pain relief such as Acupressure and acupuncture, which are far more natural and provide relief at the root of the symptoms than just superficial relief.
For acupressure, all you need is a person willing to apply firm pressure on the trigger points. Tip: Engage your birth partner or the other parent. Getting a massage from your partner is not only a romantic way to relieve pain, but also engages your partner in your pregnancy from the get-go.
The most sensitive points, and by this we mean the points most receptive to releasing pressure, include your glutes, the area up and down your spinal cord and along the shoulder blade, as well as at the base of the skull. Your partner can help you relieve discomfort by pressing down, firmly not painfully, along these points to encourage the blood flow not to accumulate and cause further discomfort.
Applying pressure at the base of the skull helps relieve headaches while the massage along the spine relieves back pain. Ensure that the touch of the person is just firm and that it releases pressure when they remove their finger. Ideally, they should press down on the trigger points for around three to five seconds before releasing.
If you are using a trusted therapist, their touch will certainly be surer and relieve pain faster. Well established therapists would also know the acupressure points to avoid during pregnancy, such as points on the abdomen, hands, and feet. Approach acupressure with a note of caution though as the person offering you the massage has to press down deeply to reach the trigger point, and if you have the kind of skin that bruises easily or are sensitive to touch this may not be the most comfortable option for you.
Acupuncture is another great option for natural pain relief, although the idea of voluntarily signing up for needles may not be the most rational or appealing option for needle phobes and those who are already tired of the many blood tests required during pregnancy. However, acupuncture is reported to be quite effective in relieving multiple pregnancy sympto ms such as nausea and lower back pain.
Acupuncture works on the same points as acupressure, except that the puncture through a needle releases the energy imbalance faster than acupressure. Acupuncture reaches nerves that are not normally accessible through plain touch, and the stimulation of these nerves through really fine needles helps the brain release endorphins which in turn allows you to feel the relieving of the pain. As with acupressure, there are certain points that are not to be used during pregnancy for acupuncture. Due to the high effectiveness of acupuncture, applying it on certain points could induce symptoms such as labour.
Both acupressure and acupuncture can be effective in relieving discomfort, but it is always a good idea to ensure that you are only getting it done from experienced practitioners and that you keep your medical team informed so that they are aware of the expertise you are seeking.
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