How acupuncture can support your perinatal journey

How acupuncture can support your perinatal journey

Acupuncture is an amazing healing modality that can be an integral part of a perinatal journey—from fertility to pregnancy and into postpartum. When I was pregnant, I started receiving acupuncture when I was 32 weeks along and continued to get weekly treatments until I gave birth. I know that the acupuncture was a major component of my smooth labor and delivery and for that I am so grateful to Aimee Ruiz, the acupuncturist-owner of East Bay Acupuncture. We asked Aimee some questions and are happy to share her answers here!

Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to become an acupuncturist!

I’ve been an acupuncturist for over 10 years now in Oakland and recently expanded to a second location in Petaluma where I spend a lot of my time these days. I became an acupuncturist after starting a career in social work and realizing that it wasn’t the right fit for me. I had an amazing experience with acupuncture myself as a patient a few years prior. So when I found acupuncture as a career option, it just clicked. Now I still get to help people and be of service to my communities and I have this beautiful offering of East Asian Medicine to give to my clients. When I was a student, one of my internship sites was on the Labor and Delivery floor at a hospital in Brooklyn. That experience ignited my passion for all things fertility, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. 

How can acupuncture help with birth prep and postpartum?

Acupuncture helps to prepare your body for labor by releasing pain and tension, promoting cervical ripening, and strengthening the birthing person and their body for labor. When a client gets close to or past their due date, there are specific points we can use to increase circulation and promote contractile activity.

Postpartum acupuncture is a great way to restore your body after the experience of birth. We can improve sleep quality, mood stability, and hormone regulation, improve milk supply, and accelerate healing. Acupuncture can help with healing incisions and resolve infections too!

When do you recommend expecting mamas to start coming to acupuncture? What about postpartum?

I recommend clients come to acupuncture throughout their pregnancy. Every trimester brings opportunities for support even with a healthy and straightforward pregnancy. Alternatively, it’s great to reach out whenever you are feeling discomfort or receive a diagnosis that you need support around. That can be anything from morning sickness and fatigue to heartburn, gestational diabetes, or breech babies and beyond. Many of my clients come to me first for fertility support and they often continue with prenatal care throughout their pregnancy. 

For postpartum care, if you are feeling okay and have an uncomplicated birth, I recommend staying home and resting for the first month postpartum before coming back to the office. If possible, get acupuncture in the comfort of your home during this time. But if clients are having milk supply issues, mood concerns, or have had birth complications, I suggest clients come in as soon as they can to receive care and promote healing. 

What do you love most about being an acupuncturist?

So many things! I love supporting people in their reproductive journeys - it is such a sweet time to be in someone’s life. And I love being able to give this gift to people who are often in physical or emotional pain and to see their lives improve and transform. Being able to support people in the integration of their mind, body, and spirit is really rewarding. 

Anything else you want to share?

I’m grateful for the renewed awareness of how important postpartum care is. New parents need so much support. I love being able to nourish and care for people who have just given birth!

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