Becoming a mother is one of the most joyful and beautiful times in a woman’s life. However, pregnancy also comes with a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, like nausea in the first few months, backaches as your pregnancy progresses, and lots more in between.
Thankfully, alternative therapies are becoming more widely available for pregnant women. Many women are turning to things like yoga and acupuncture to relieve common pregnancy symptoms. At a time when it’s crucial to avoid medication and invasive treatments, these alternative therapies can be extremely helpful.
Let’s take a look at the top 6 alternative therapies that reduce stress and increase wellness for pregnant women.
Acupuncture is a safe, gentle, and drug-free way to manage stress and increase wellness during pregnancy. At the Yinova Center, a specialized acupuncture clinic in Brooklyn, NY, they recommend customizing each acupuncture treatment according to your current stage of pregnancy.
In the early stages of pregnancy, their prenatal acupuncturists focus on relieving the nausea, fatigue, headaches, and constipation that are so common during the first trimester. During the next stage of pregnancy, treatments are more focused on the pelvic and back pain that becomes more prevalent as your tummy grows. Prenatal acupuncture can give tremendous relief for these uncomfortable symptoms without the risks of taking medications.
As your baby approaches its full birth weight during the third trimester, your ligaments will begin to loosen in preparation for labor and delivery. Experts from the Yinova Center recommend acupuncture during late pregnancy for its ability to relieve pain and help the body prepare for childbirth by relaxing muscles in the pelvis.
- Prenatal Yoga
Yoga is wonderful for reducing stress and increasing wellness during any stage of life, and prenatal yoga is especially helpful for staying fit during pregnancy. The gentle stretches and focused breathing taught in a prenatal yoga class can reduce pain in the lower back and pelvis and might even help you sleep better.
Some women even find that yoga relieves morning sickness during early pregnancy. The postures are also fantastic for building strength and endurance in the pelvic and core muscles you’ll use during childbirth.
You will also meet other expectant moms in your prenatal yoga class, which is a wonderful way to establish a support system of women to share your experiences and anxieties with.
- Meditation and Other Relaxation Techniques
Meditation, visualization, and other relaxation techniques can be very useful for reducing stress during pregnancy, especially if they are practiced consistently. Practicing these techniques during your pregnancy can also help you focus and manage discomfort during labor and delivery.
There are several different techniques to try, and many yoga classes also include a few minutes of meditation instruction. You can also find guided meditations online or download an app to help you get started.
- Prenatal Massage
Everyone loves a therapeutic massage for easing stress and relieving aches and pains! Well, it turns out that prenatal massage offers a variety of additional benefits during pregnancy. A certified prenatal massage therapist receives specialized training to adapt every session according to the changing needs of a mom-to-be throughout each trimester.
Prenatal massage offers a safe and gentle way to relieve the pelvic, lower back, and sciatica pain many women experience as their baby bump grows. It can also reduce the swelling, digestive issues, and muscle spasms that accompany the third trimester.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, studies show that receiving regular prenatal massage during pregnancy can help with labor and childbirth, too! The benefits of massage even continue after your baby is born by providing a drug-free way to relieve the emotional anxiety that many women experience as a result of the hormonal changes of post-pregnancy.
Taking a warm bath is fantastic for relieving stress and soothing aches and pains at the end of a long day. Light some scented candles, turn on some soft music, and add some bubble bath for a spa experience right in your own bathroom!
Hydrotherapy can be used in other ways during pregnancy, too. If you can’t manage to get in and out of the tub during late pregnancy, warm showers can be just as nice. For aches and pains in your shoulders or lower back, try a warm compress.
And, utilizing hydrotherapy during labor and childbirth is very effective for helping laboring moms relax, easing pressure on the spine, and even reducing the pain of contractions.
Just keep in mind that hot tubs and hot baths are not advised during pregnancy. Stick to water that’s just comfortably warm, never hot.
Reflexology is an alternative therapy that many women find beneficial not only for relieving stress, but also for reducing digestive issues, fatigue, headaches, backaches, and nausea during pregnancy. The technique involves applying pressure to specific reflexology points on the feet, ears, and hands. Each point is believed to be associated with a specific area or organ system in the body.
Keep in mind that some reflexology points in the feet can stimulate contractions in early and late pregnancy. If you’re preterm, you obviously want to avoid that. On the other hand, it might be just the thing you need to get labor progressing if you’re overdue. Either way, be sure to work with a properly trained reflexologist to minimize any risk.
How to Choose an Alternative Practitioner During Pregnancy
Of course, the safety of yourself and your baby will be your first priority, so you’ll want to do some research and get referrals from your midwife or doctor before choosing an alternative practitioner. Talking to other moms about their experiences with certain alternative therapies and practitioners can also be very helpful. Be sure to check out reviews online, too.
Here’s what you want to know:
- What are the practitioner’s qualifications? How much experience do they have in this particular technique?
- Have they received specialized training to work with pregnant women?
- Is the therapy safe during pregnancy and how does it work?
- What are the risks and side effects associated with this treatment and how can they be minimized?
Although pregnancy often comes with some uncomfortable symptoms, you don’t have to resort to drugs or invasive treatments to get relief. These six alternative therapies offer a much safer solution for reducing stress, improving overall wellness, and relieving discomfort during pregnancy.