ECCM integrates fertility with pregnancy support. Patients come to us not only to become pregnant, but to sustain a healthy pregancy and give birth to a healthy baby. Preparing for conception is merely a starting point. We continue to support the mother and the fetus through the various changes both undergo at various stages of pregnancy.
First Trimester: Most physicians consider this to be the most crucial period. During this time, the woman's body undergoes enormous changes to support the growing fetus. At the same time, the fetus is undergoing one of the most important periods of its growth phase: going from a few microscopic cells to becoming a recognizable human being with a heartbeat, spinal column, arms and legs. Therefore, this stage requires the closest monitoring, and we generally recommend weekly visits.
Second Trimester: Around this time, the fetus begins to respond to the external environment. The genitalia and internal organs are maturing, with lung development being very crucial to the fetus' ability to survive outside the womb. The growth of the fetus causes ligaments surrounding the uterus to stretch, and compresses upon the diaphragm and abdominal organs. In the second trimester, we support the fetus' developing organs, and we support the mother's body through the physical changes of pregnancy. It may be necessary to prevent or address complications, such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, etc. Monitoring depends on physical exam, but is generally done once or twice per month during this stage.
Third Trimester: This is a stage of rapid growth, as the fetus will approximately triple in weight. Support at this time helps keep the placenta in good shape, and ensures appropriate blood flow and oxygenation as organs get compressed. Supportive treatments keep the uterus relaxed to prevent premature contractions. This is also a time when a number of discomforts, such as back pain, hemorrhoids, heartburn, etc., may begin to surface. Most of these ailments respond very well to treatment, and we have helped many patients with severe discomfort to have much more pleasant pregnancies. During this stage, visits vary depending on symptoms and physical exam.
Common pregnancy-related conditions that acupuncture can be effective in improving: