The Third Trimester

Now you are in the home stretch! This is the time when the most visible changes and growth are occurring for both mom and baby. Many women become physically uncomfortable as their weight gain continues at an increased rate during the final weeks. The importance of getting enough rest cannot be over-emphasized, especially if you, like most women, are working throughout the third trimester.

Common problems that are effectively treated by TCM include:


There are different acupuncture protocols to address the variety of symptoms associated with the difficulty of sleeping including, trouble falling asleep initially; dream-disturbed sleep; sleeping lightly/restlessly and waking frequently; or waking in the night and then being unable to fall back to sleep again. During the last weeks of pregnancy, it can become harder to obtain uninterrupted sleep due to body discomforts and frequent urination. Severe difficulty beyond this, however, should be addressed as ongoing fatigue can start to have an affect on your mood.

Helpful hints

  • Relax before bed and avoid being overly stimulated (ie. watching television). Read a book, meditate with breathing exercises, have a bath or listen to a guided relaxation CD
  • Try to get some fresh air and regular exercise daily

Nutritional support

  • Have a cup of chamomile or lemon balm tea before bed to help relax the nervous system
  • Calcium and magnesium are also thought to calm the nerves; eat almonds, yogurt or sesame seeds as evening snacks

 Stress and anxiety

Although your pregnancy and upcoming birth are full of joy and anticipation, this time is also full of unknowns. Pregnancy and becoming a parent are two of the greatest life changing events we can experience, and change of any type is almost always accompanied by stress. Acupuncture has a deep relaxation effect and can be a very helpful support in easing feelings of nervousness and anxiety.

Helpful hints

  • Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation
  • Make time for yourself so that you are not overly busy and overwhelmed
  • Talk about your anxieties with your caregiver, family and friends. The reassurance and support of other moms will be helpful
  • Keep your blood sugar levels stable and avoid sugary, refined foods and caffeine

 High blood pressure

Both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help in the treatment of raised blood pressure. It is especially useful preventatively when the first signs of elevation are present or in women who have had difficulty in previous pregnancies.

* Note: It is important that your levels are careful monitored by your doctor or midwife.

Helpful hints

  • Try to reduce your stress level as high stress can have a direct and negative influence on raising your blood pressure
  • Make sure that you get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation

Nutritional support

  • Vitamin C and E have been found to help lower blood pressure
  • Eat a diet that is low in animal fats but high in fish oils, as these oils have the effect of naturally thinning the blood

 Edema, carpal tunnel syndrome and leg cramps

Acupuncture is well documented for effectively improving circulation and it can help reduce the swelling in the arms and legs commonly associated with pregnancy.

Helpful hints

  • Gentle massage may help reduce edema, improve circulation, and unblock congestion in the lymphatic system
  • Rest with your arms or legs elevated for 20 minutes, three to four times daily to reduce swollen ankles and relieve carpal tunnel syndrome

Nutritional support

  • Drink four to six cups of nettle tea daily to help reduce water retention
  • Edema: eat foods that are natural diuretics like celery, asparagus, artichokes, grapes, black currents, parsley, citrus fruits, red berries, peppers, and green leafy veggies
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: B vitamins are good for the nerves; Food sources include sesame seeds, chickpeas, bananas, nutritional yeast and hazelnuts
  • Leg cramps: take a calcium-magnesium supplement before bed and eat foods like milk products, green leafy veggies, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, soy and dried apricots that are rich in these minerals

 Breech position

This means that your baby’s bottom is lying in your pelvis instead of its head. Acupuncture and moxibustion can help encourage the baby’s head to move down by stimulating and warming an acupoint on the foot that is connected to the uterus by the bladder meridian.

Treatment results are most successful between 32 to 35 weeks. Acupuncture sessions are scheduled 2x/week for two to three weeks until the baby has moved position. Moxa instructions will also be given so that the warming of the acupoint can be done at home with the help of a partner or friend for 15 min/twice daily. research


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