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The Treatment of Insomnia with Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture During Pregnancy

Insomnia is a common problem that affects almost everyone at some point. During pregnancy, some women fight with the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.  The obvious reasons would be heartburn when lying down or having difficulty falling back asleep after waking to urinate. Stress or emotional imbalance must always be considered.  The many physical and physiological changes throughout pregnancy or the thoughts of upcoming labor and birth must always be considered.  Some who have experienced difficult sleeping prior to the pregnancy may also suffer from this imbalance but there is no definite reason as to why this symptom persists.   Nonetheless, acupuncture is able to restore the body’s natural sleep cycle.

Chinese medicine views this imbalance during pregnancy as for any individual experiencing these symptoms with the addition a few considerations. There may be some underlying deficiencies of the liver, kidneys and heart as these are the organs that produce blood and qi, as well as provide for the growing fetus. During pregnancy, the body holds more heat than normal and this heat may be too consuming and responsible for insomnia. The spleen’s activity in making blood for the baby after birth may also be affected by its tendency to be impaired with excess worry and pensiveness. Every organ is related and injured by over indulging in specific emotions. 

Insomnia should be addressed as to prevent exhaustion. Women should have a strong constitution and a rested mind when preparing for labor, childbirth and post-partum recovery.  Acupuncture treatment should be consistent for 2 weeks and then scheduled as needed.  In conjunction with the acupuncture treatments, daily daytime exercise and evening relaxation is suggested. Women are asked to create their own nightly routine incorporating meditation, music or visualization.

Insomnia night time homecare:
Soak in a warm bath using essential oils:

    • Scents of lavender, sandalwood and nutmeg help you shrug off the ill-effects of stress. Lavender is probably the most useful of them all for relaxation. It is a sedative and a tonic. It helps you to relax while easing aches and pains.
    • Patchouli oil helps eliminate anxiety and lifts the mood.
    • Ylang-ylang is euphoric, regulator, sedative, and tonic. Use it in moderation as it can cause headaches in some people.

Complete tasks that you find the most therapeutic.

    • Some women love to cook or prepare meals for the next day.
    • Lose yourself in a great book.
    • Write about your day in a journal.

Create a play list of relaxing music and find some time away from distraction.
Use techniques, helpful CD’s or books, that teach visualization and hypnotherapy.
Whatever you choose to create your nightly routine, be sure to be consistent and generous with your time.

During the daytime hours, light physical activities such as pre-natal yoga, Tai qi or qi gong are recommended.  As little as 15 minutes a day can make a recognizable difference in sleep patterns.  Women who show great concern and worry toward the upcoming birth should be directed to complete tasks, like organizing the house and baby’s room, scheduling her work absence and prepping the family, will allow the final weeks of pregnancy to be more relaxed. And, of course, allow acupuncture to be a tool during preparations for labor and childbirth.