Acupuncture helped me tackle my post-partum pains

I found acupuncture for my fifth child after a talk by an acupuncturist at Bradford Choices meeting.  I had had really really bad after pains and I was dreading them coming back, for me the pain for these few days was worse than anything in labour!

After pains are when the womb contracts down to its original size after the birth –  and it has a lot of reduction to do. It is usually second and subsequent pregnancies when women experience it. Some women just feel a bit of a pull when breastfeeding and that is all, other women (and we don’t know why) can experience unbearable pain. I was told that it would get worse with subsequent pregnancies – my personal experience was that it was really bad to start with and could not and did not get worse!

The acupuncturist said that he would need to start treating me in the last few weeks of pregnancy to work with this – which he did. Acupuncture is a wonderful experience. I was struggling with fatigue and a loss of concentration: the acupuncture really sorted that out and I felt alert and good. With the sessions he taught me, and then my partner, the pressure points for easing pain in labour. It enabled us to understand why I experienced so much back pain and where to press to ease this – this particular set of points was AMAZING during birth. David’s hands ached for days after pressing so hard for so long!

The after pains started a few hours after the birth. David used the pressure points but obviously he could not do that on a permanent basis. We rang the acupuncturist who did a home visit that evening. He gave me a treatment which he said would get the womb contracting more effectively. He recommended getting a tens machine and showed us the acupuncture points to place the tens on. I had a really bad night for pain but the tens machine arrived the next morning – and what relief – by the end of the day I was fine. Just occasional boosts at the beginning of a feed. After three days I stopped wearing the tens machine at all.

In previous births I had suffered really bad pain for three days with it slowly easing after that. With acupuncture and the tens machine used as instructed I had effective pain relief within 12 hours. I think that night after the treatment my womb contracted heavily because within 24 hours it was clear that the major work had been done and the tens machine was needed less and less.

I also used acupuncture for back and pelvic girdle pain experienced post-partum which gave a lot of pain relief.

I really cannot recommend acupuncture enough and the knowledge of acupuncturists with maternity specialisms.

You have the right to choose where you give birth!

Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Adviser at the NCT shared this with me recently after a case where a GP was apparently choosing the place of birth for the women in their care!

“It was confirmed in Parliament this year that Maternity Matters™ (2007) remains maternity policy for the current government. It says:

The national choice guarantees four national choice guarantees will be available to all women and their partners. By having these guarantees, women and their partners are given the opportunity to make informed choices throughout pregnancy, birth and during the postnatal period:

  1. Choice of how to access maternity care. When they first learn that they are pregnant, women and their partners will be able to go straight to a midwife if they wish, or to their General Practitioner. Self-referral into the local midwifery service is a choice that will speed up and enable earlier access to maternity services.
  2. Choice of type of antenatal care. Depending on their circumstances, women and their partners will be able to choose between midwifery care or care provided by a team of maternity health professionals including midwives and obstetricians. For some women, team care will be the safest option.
  3. Choice of place of birth. Depending on their circumstances, women and their partners will be able to choose where they wish to give birth. In making their decision, women will need to understand that their choice of place of birth will affect the choice of pain relief available to them. For example, epidural anaesthesia will only be available in hospitals where there is a 24 hour obstetric anaesthetic service.

The options for place of birth are:

  • birth supported by a midwife at home
  • birth supported by a midwife in a local midwifery facility such as a designated local midwifery unit or birth centre. The unit might be based in the community, or in a hospital; patterns of care vary across the country to reflect different local needs. These units promote a philosophy of normal and natural labour and childbirth. Women will be able to choose any other available midwifery unit in England.
  • birth supported by a maternity team in a hospital. The team may include midwives, obstetricians, paediatricians and anaesthetists. For some women, this type of care will be the safest option but they too should have a choice of hospital. All women will be able to choose any available hospital in England.”

If you have to stand up to get your rights respected, there’s also a Birthrights fact sheet that might help you prove your point.