(This is a re-print of a newsletter I wrote two years ago. Having just celebrated my son’s fourth and my daughter’s 2nd birthdays, I wanted to share with you the memories of those births. Enjoy!)
“That was AWESOME!”
Those were the first words uttered by my wife immediately following the birth of our second child. It was a beautiful experience for both of us. It is in that spirit that I wanted to share with you how acupuncture and shiatsu massage helped in the birth of our two children. Both Caleb and Amelia received the benefit of both modalities, helping them and my wife to have an easier, and thus better birthing experience.
Caleb and Amelia
During the months of pregnancy as the babies got larger and larger, my wife’s back and pelvis region became more sore and tight. Shiatsu massage was a regular relief for her. There are pressure points along the spine and down into the sacrum and glutes that are incredibly relaxing for the birth mother. Light hand and finger pressure on these points can release muscle tension, relax joints, and promote a greater sense of peace. Breathing becomes less labored and more deep, helping the the expectant mom feel more relaxed and have a better night’s sleep.
As the due-date arrived, I began performing acupuncture to help bring on the labor. Now understand, promoting labor through acupuncture is very different from western medical induction methods. Acupuncture treatment is designed to bring the pregnant woman into greater balance, thus easing her into labor naturally. My wife had enjoyed a very normal and healthy pregnancy. After receiving the go-ahead from our midwife, I performed points to inspire contractions. There are many acupuncture points that have been used for thousands of years to “grease the skids” and help the body on its way to labor. While some points are on the lower back, others on the legs & feet, and even up on the shoulders. These points can help dilate the cervix. Some points are designed to “simply” relax the expectant mother, the reason being that as she relaxes more, labor will arrive more quickly and easily. My wife really enjoyed these treatments, as they also helped with her discomfort and anxiety.
When labor was in full swing, my role (beyond being the supportive husband) was to promote contractions, ease her pain, and calm her nerves. Again, there are an array of points to help the birth mother with all these natural parts of labor. And to stress again, acupuncture is working WITH the body to promote contractions. Natural endorphins are released by the body to help the mother better cope with the pain of labor. Acupuncture continues and even speeds along this process of contractions and natural pain suppression, rather than short circuiting it. Points to calm her nerves are actually found on the ears. It is like giving her a nice warm bath. By helping my wife relax, the labor process was allowed to progress more smoothly.
After our beautiful children were born, I used a number of techniques to help in my wife’s recovery. Her favorite was a technique called “Mother Roasting”. This is a process of applying heat to the abdominal area to warm and promote movement of all the internal organs once displaced by the baby. I used acupuncture points to help stop uterine bleeding, stimulate the production of blood, and help with the after-pain. Caleb, our first child, was a big eater from day one. To help satisfy this appetite, I did points to help promote increased breast milk production. Shiatsu also was a great way to help my wife to relax and recover.
I am passionate in my belief of natural child birth. Western medicine is great, and in some cases absolutely necessary. However, I do believe that more births could be done without medical intervention. I’m happy and proud that both Caleb and Amelia were born in their own way, at their own time. The body knows what to do. It’s been doing this for millions of years. Educate yourself. Ask questions. Always have a doctor and/or midwife. Have faith, belief, and trust in yourself. And most of all, take good care of yourself.