So despite conceiving earlier than expected I have not forgotten my New Year’s resolution to try 12 new things this year. This months ‘new thing’ was acupuncture. Now as a real pain whimp I never thought I would see the day where I would pay for someone to stick needles all over my body! However I have to admit I’m converted…
I originally was planning to start acupuncture this year anyway to help with fertility as I have known a few people with PCOS who use it to balance their hormones and ease their symptoms. The lady I was recommended has also worked with friends of mine throughout their pregnancies as it’s known to reduce the length of labour. Anything that can reduce Labour I am game to try.
With my first session it’s fair to say I was a little anxious and probably for a few reasons, I was scared it would hurt, I thought it would be too ‘hippy’ for me and I was worried I would find it patronising. However Lauren was wonderful she made me feel at ease straight away and did a full assessment of my history with PCOS, my journey up till getting pregnant and symptoms I have had throughout my pregnancy. Perhaps reassuringly Lauren herself has PCOS as do her sisters and mother so it’s always more comforting when someone can relate to you and it’s not like I have it really bad as I don’t have cysts etc. I did explain I was suffering from heartburn and in last few days had started developing lower back pain (mainly from sleeping in awkward positions I think) and she assured me she could help to reduce these and together we would work on my pain threshold and prepare me for labour.
So I willingly led there as she stuck 4 needles in my head, 3 in my face, 5 in my ear, 2 in either wrist and a few in each foot and leg and wondered when I would feel something. Most of the needles I couldn’t even feel, didn’t feel them when they went in and didn’t feel them when they were in, apart from my wrists. The ones in my wrists although didn’t hurt I was aware they were there and could feel them the most, Lauren explained these ones were for heartburn so I was obviously struggling with it a lot. She also did some reflexology on my feet to help with my back pain. Now that hurt. A lot. I thought I was going to kick her in the face at one point. She taught me some slow deep breathing. It sounds stupid and obvious and probably something most people think of doing by themselves but seen as I avoid pain at all costs it wasn’t obvious to me. The breathing helped and I felt more in control, it still hurt but I felt I could manage it. As Lauren pointed out this would be like labour, if I can stay calm and feel in control then maybe I can manage a bit better and longer?!
Ultimately, I left feeling intrigued, calm and keen to book my next session. I found Lauren not in the least bit patronising but reassuring and comforting, she made me want to be a hippy!
Since that first session I have not had a single bit of heartburn. And I’ve tested it. I had pizza, I had diet coke, and I’ve had oranges. All the things that would give me heartburn and nothing. I’d never realised how much the heartburn had been annoying as I thought I was just living with it, until I didn’t have it anymore.
My 2nd session was much the same really, but a couple of the needles felt stronger and I was aware they were there. Apparently, each session can produce different feelings and can be more intense the more sessions you have. This time at the end of the session Lauren placed a few seeds in my ear and one either wrist. These keep the acupuncture points open and I just need to wear them for a few days and just press on them until I feel them pinch/burn for a few seconds throughout. The ones on my wrists were painful, I’m not denying it, I would push on those and it would be uncomfortable but the ones in my ear not so bad. The seeds are tiny and in my ear they just look like little gold studs so I just looked like I had a few trendy piercings!
Now I’ve signed up to acupuncture every 2 weeks in the lead up to my due date in the hope this will keep me balanced and in line, even if it just reduces my heartburn and other symptoms its worth it for me. Since starting acupuncture I have had no pregnancy symptoms at all. Sure, my bump is growing and hopefully in a few weeks I’ll start feeling baby kick but right now I just feel fat! I feel so well and healthy that sometimes I forget I’m pregnant. It brings me comfort in the fact that when labour does come I know I have done everything in my power to prepare for it.
I cannot recommend acupuncture enough, its totally changed my life and I think something I will likely continue after pregnancy. It’s fascinating and can be used for a whole host of things - my dad is even thinking of going for his back and I am trying to convince Tom to try it to help with his sleeping.