The Second Trimester

For many women, this is the most enjoyable time of their pregnancy. If you have had prenatal tests, you should know the results and generally be feeling more confident and comfortable about your pregnancy. Your energy and appetite should be improving and the first physical signs of pregnancy will be starting – a lovely belly “bump” and the delightful awareness of your baby’s movements.

Common problems that are effectively treated by TCM include:


In TCM, heartburn is often linked to excessive “heat” in the stomach and can be cleared by needling specific acupoints, usually located in the arms and feet.

Helpful hints

  • Eat several small meals a day rather than two large ones at lunch and dinner. A light evening meal at about 6pm and then one small snack before bed is preferable and will enable you to sleep better
  • Sleep with several pillows to keep your upper body slightly raised
  • Limit fluid intake at meal times
  • Wear loose fitting clothing

Nutritional support

  • Snacking on raw almonds may help reduce acidity in the stomach
  • Pay attention to food combining and avoid eating acid foods (such as proteins) with alkaline foods (such as carbohydrates)
  • Seeds like caraway, dill and fennel may help promote digestion and alleviate burning symptoms; they can be added to a meal or chewed whole after eating.
  • Drink soothing teas such as lemon balm, chamomile or peppermint throughout the day


In acupuncture, there are certain points along the meridians that can be stimulated to build up the blood. If you are feeling particularly weak or tired, these points may also be nourished by heating with moxabustion.

Helpful hints

  • The three main causes of anemia are a deficiency in iron, folate and vitamin B12
  • To improve the absorption of iron, combine with vitamin C supplementation

Nutritional support

  • Foods rich in iron include: green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, cherries, dried apricots, fish, poultry, lean meats, black current & cranberry juices and nettle tea
  • Foods rich in B12 include: eggs, milk, cheese, white fish, pork and nutritional yeast
  • Foods rich in folate include: nuts, green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, legumes and nutritional yeast

Backaches, pubic bone pain and sciatica

These symptoms often occur as a result of two factors: pregnancy hormones softening ligaments and joints; and the pelvis shifting to make room for your growing baby. Acupuncture is a safe and gentle means of pain control that is effective in relieving the discomfort of backache, pubic bone pain and sciatica.

Helpful hints

  • Listen to your body and avoid doing things that cause you discomfort
  • Take rest and give your pelvis a break from the extra weight of pregnancy whenever possible
  • Swimming is a wonderful activity for strengthening and exercise
  • Chiropractic, physiotherapy and/or massage treatments may also be helpful

Headaches and migraines

These ailments may be linked to the hormonal changes in pregnancy or they may be related to stress, muscle tension or poor posture. Acupuncture effectively relieves muscle tension and can also help rebalance the underlying constitutional imbalance that may be causing your headaches.

(Note: report persistent headaches after 24wks to your midwife or doctor as they may be indicative of other pregnancy-induced conditions)

Helpful hints

  • Get plenty of fresh air and 20 to 30minutes of gentle exercise daily to help improve circulation
  • Sleep and rest as much as possible
  • If your stress levels are high, try some relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery CDs, journaling or spending time in nature
  • Chiropractic and massage treatments may also be helpful

Nutritional support

  • Be sure to drink plenty of water as headaches are often caused by dehydration
  • Stabilize your blood sugar levels by snacking regularly on foods containing complex carbohydrates and protein
  • Avoid foods that trigger headaches such as caffeine, chocolate and citrus fruits

 Constipation and Hemorrhoids

Both of these are common in pregnancy. Along with the fact that the pregnancy hormone, progesterone, slows bowel movements, many women have difficulty digesting the iron in their prenatal vitamin. There are several acupoints on the arms, legs and top of the head that can help stimulate the bowels and relieve the discomfort of hemorrhoids.

Nutritional support

  • Drink lots of water
  • Reduce your consumption of refined, processed and fatty foods
  • Increase your intake of fiber with oat bran, dried fruits, cabbage, papaya, peas, figs, psyllium and linseeds
  • Foods that are rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids will help with vein strengthening
  • Drink a cup of hot water and lemon or dandelion root before breakfast
  • Supplementing with B6 may help reduce active hemorrhoids

 Varicose veins

During acupuncture treatments, fine needles are inserted superficially around the troublesome area and moxibustion may also be applied. This treatment can be extremely effective at reducing the size of enlarged veins and eliminating the pain and discomfort that is often associated with this condition.

Helpful hints

  • Wearing support stockings can help relieve the ache and pressure sensation
  • Gentle inverted yoga postures may help ease pain symptoms. Try lying with your feet and legs raised against the wall for 10 to15 minutes twice daily
  • Alternately running hot and cold water over the affected area can help increase blood circulation and ease the discomfort of symptoms
  • Light flushing massage over the affected areas in the direction towards the trunk of the body may also help to increase circulation


Depression during pregnancy may occur due to hormonal changes or due to your personal circumstances. In either case, acupuncture is excellent in treating mood disorders and Chinese herbal medicine may also be of support during this time.

* Note: If you are feeling depressed, do not hesitatet to discuss how you are feeling with your physician or midwife – you do not have to suffer alone

Helpful hints 

  • Yoga and breathing exercises can help to balance the mind and body, promote physical relaxation and create a sense of spiritual connection and well-being
  • Seek out the support of family, friends and other moms
  • Talk with a counselor

Nutritional support

  • Zinc deficiency can affect your mood – food sources include eggs, sunflower seeds, wholewheat bread, poultry, red meat, almonds and ginger
  • Supplement with vitamin C and B complex
  • Avoiding stimulants like sugary foods and caffeine can help stabilize your blood sugar and mood



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