Bringing a child into the world is one of life’s greatest gifts. But, along with the anticipation of that little bundle of joy, often comes some physical challenges and discomfort that can make for a long nine months. Did you know that acupuncture has been shown to address several issues that come up during pregnancy? Here’s what to know about the benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy and what the research actually says is true.
One of the most difficult aspects of pregnancy for many women is morning sickness. For some women, it can be severe and last throughout the day. The medical term for this severe form of nausea and vomiting is called hyperemesis gravidarum. A 2021 review of 16 previously published studies concluded that acupuncture was effective in dealing with severe nausea
Aches & Pains (including Labor Pain)
The human body changes in amazing ways during pregnancy and that often brings with it pelvic and back pain in the second and third trimesters. A 2021 and a 2018 study both found acupuncture to be safe and effective in addressing lower back pain.
Overall, acupuncture has been shown by many studies to help with labor pain management. For example, a 2020 review examined 28 more recent studies and found that acupuncture was effective in helping to manage labor pain and reduce the need for other pain medications including epidural.
One of the largest studies conducted involved more than 600 pregnant women and compared those using acupuncture during labor to those who used other methods like traditional pain medications or transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation. Researchers found that those in the acupuncture group had a lower chance of using other pain relieving measures.
Researchers have also found that acupuncture can be a great treatment option when a baby is breech. Studies show that stimulating acupuncture points BL67 and Sl1 between weeks 32 and 35 might help turn babies so they can present headfirst. In this study, participants were given 30-minute treatments for 3 days in a week and it was combined with moxibustion, another Chinese medicine treatment.
Anxiety and depression can be difficult to address during pregnancy but are more common than most women think. A small study performed in 2010 found that both acupuncture and massage helped women who had developed depressive symptoms. Researchers found that those in the acupuncture group had a reduction in overall symptoms as compared to women who underwent more traditional depression treatments.
Overall, studies have shown acupuncture to be a safe and effective alternative to dealing with many of the challenges that come with pregnancy. Acupuncture has also been shown effective in dealing with fertility issues, so you may want to begin treatments even before pregnancy to optimize your fertility and overall well-being.
Head to https://yaelacuwellness.janeapp.com/ to book your free consultation, so we can discuss a treatment plan that is right for you and your pregnancy journey.
If you have any questions please feel free to reach out, I would love to help you in any way that I can. You can call 914-575-6285 or visit my website at www.yaelacuwellness.com.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an effective medical treatment that has evolved into a complete holistic health care system. Practitioners of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have used this noninvasive treatment method to help millions of people become well and stay well.
Acupuncture promotes natural healing. It can enhance recuperative power and immunity, support physical and emotional health, and improve overall function and well-being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical conditions.
Acupuncture meridian points activate the body’s innate healing abilities that acupuncturists call Qi (pronounced “chee”). According to TCM, Qi is the vital energy that animates the body and protects it from illness. Qi flows through pathways called meridians and provides nourishment to the body’s cells, tissues, muscles, organs and glands. When there is an imbalance or blockage in the flow of Qi, symptoms associated with the condition or illness may appear. Acupuncture is just one aspect of TCM. There are many modalities within TCM that may effectively contribute to restoring the body’s natural healing ability.
How does Qi move?
Qi flows through specific pathways called meridians. There are 14 main meridians inside the body. Each of these is connected to specific organs and glands. Meridian pathways are like rivers flowing inside the body. Where a river flows, it transports life-
giving water that provides nourishment to the land, plants and people. Similarly, where meridian pathways flow, they bring life-giving Qi that provides nourishment to every cell, organ, gland, tissue and muscle in the body.
How is Qi disrupted?
When Qi becomes disrupted in one part of the body, the flow becomes restricted in other parts. This blockage of Qi can be detrimental to a person’s health, cutting off vital nourishment to the body, organs and glands.
Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, accidents, or excessive activity are among the many things that can influence the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.
Normally, when a blockage or imbalance occurs, the body easily bounces back, returning to a state of health and well-being. However, when this disruption is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, illness, pain or disease can set in.
Acupuncture and Modern Science
From a modern scientific perspective, stimulation of acupuncture meridian points causes the release of nervous-system chemicals in our brain, spinal cord, and muscles that help restore the body’s ability to heal naturally.
These chemicals provide tremendous health benefits, whether it is influencing your body to heal more quickly, or simply altering how you may be experiencing your pain. Regardless, the healing and regenerative properties of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are truly amazing; the only way to find out if acupuncture is the perfect treatment plan for you is to give it a try.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are safe, effective and drug-free therapies that can help address a wide variety of common ailments and problems. During the initial exam, an acupuncturist will take a full health history. They will ask questions regarding your health, symptoms and lifestyle. An appropriate physical exam is also conducted, which may include pulse and tongue evaluations.
Gathering this information enables the practitioner to effectively diagnose and detect any specific imbalances of Qi that may be contributing to a person’s health problems. This enables the practitioner to create a well-structured treatment plan.
Once imbalances of Qi are detected, an acupuncturist will place fine, sterile needles at specific acupuncture points located along your meridian pathways. The safe and often painless insertion of these needles can unblock any obstructions and rebalance Qi in these pathways. When Qi can circulate freely throughout the body, it provides adequate nourishment to cells, organs, glands, tissues and muscles. This circulation can eliminate pain and restore balance as well as the body’s ability to heal itself ultimately leading to optimal health and well-being.
Interested in giving acupuncture a try? Head to https://yaelacuwellness.janeapp.com/ to book an appointment.
If your child is struggling, get help right away!
Constipation can lead to stool accumulation in the rectum, which exerts pressure on the bladder. This pressure can result in urinary leaks during daytime and sleep, causing the feeling of urgency like "I have to go now! I can't hold it anymore!" or the unpleasant realization of an accident, saying, "Oh no, it came out."
Bedwetting in older children can stem from various causes, and constipation is one of the most common culprits. It's important to note that children can experience constipation even if they have a daily bowel movement. It's also essential to rule out other potential causes, such as sleep apnea, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, and family history.
At Westchester Pelvic Health, our team of experts at Physical Therapy 4 Kids specializes in helping children improve muscle coordination, enhance bowel emptying, and resolve urinary leaks and bedwetting issues. Understanding this is not a behavioral problem is crucial, as no child willingly wants to soil themselves.
If you find yourself frustrated with these symptoms, it's time to seek our 1:1 care in a private setting. Our appointments are tailored to provide dedicated attention and last for one hour.
Please note that the information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. If you are concerned about your child, don't hesitate to contact us for an evaluation. We're here to help.
Prana Practitioner Wendy Kaplan-Lager, PT is the Owner and Director of Physical Therapy 4 Kids.
I want to address something that comes up in our prenatal yoga classes a lot, more than people probably realize. Pregnancy is hard, and for some reason our society downplays how hard it is. And we’re made to feel guilty or even ungrateful if we don’t love every single second of it, because it’s been so romanticized. In turn we feel we can’t outwardly communicate what’s going on and how we’re feeling, so we hold it in or just say “I’m fine” or “I’m okay.”
We are suffering in silence which is not okay.
There has been a lot of coverage on the tragedy surrounding Lindsay Clancy in Massachusetts and her children, and my heart goes out to everyone impacted by this. This unfortunately isn’t the first time something like this has happened, but I think part of the reason why people are so taken aback by this particular incident is because for all intents and purposes, this mom “had it all together.” Beautiful healthy children, loving and supporting husband, nice house in the suburbs, great job as a labor and delivery nurse. Someone in her family was quoted as saying that they spoke to her last week and nothing seemed amiss. Another family member said they had a beautiful life.
I think we all need to remember that women of every single culture, race, age group, income level, education level, and marital status develop perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Whether you breastfeed, formula feed, have healthy babies or those with medical challenges, first time parents, or those with more than one child…there is no exemption. We need to stop thinking “it can’t happen to me.”
If you’re currently pregnant or have had a baby within the past year, please utilize your local resources. Do not suffer in silence. This is especially true for women of color who statistically speaking are at a higher risk of postpartum depression than Caucasian women. We need to let go of this superwoman notion where we feel it’s our responsibility to do everything on our own. Here at Prana Prenatal Yoga we partner with some of the best maternal mental health experts in Westchester County, including Dr. Layne Raskin and Dr. Kira Bartlett. Consider hiring a postpartum doula, even if just for a few weeks. We also have a new moms support group and a toddler parent support group. There’s also The Motherhood Center of New York, Shades of Blue Project, Just Birth Space, Every Mother Counts, Ashe Birthing Services, and The Flourish Fund.
A big takeaway from all of this is that we need to check on our strong friends. Those people in your life who seem to have it all together, the ones you never have to worry about, everything is great and they have everything under control. Those are the ones who almost always are suffering in silence. If someone in your life recently had a baby or is about to have one, gift them a meal. Drop it off on their doorstep or if you don’t live in their area, send them an UberEats gift card. Or better yet, organize a meal train for them. Drive them to an appointment or to run their errands so that they can rest in the backseat with their baby. Be prepared to visit briefly with the baby and spend the bulk of your time there cleaning the house. Or be prepared to hang out with the baby while the mom enjoys a long, hot, uninterrupted shower. Encourage them to use the resources I mentioned and tagged. Actively listen to them. Educate yourself on what baby blues and PMADs are and what some of the signs are. All of that goes a long way, a lot further than we even realize. Because I promise you, every single new mom would beg, borrow, and steal if she had to in order to make sure her baby has diapers, wipes, and nourishment. But at the end of the day, who is holding the mother?
Please follow and share the resources mentioned above, and remember that we cannot continue to suffer in silence. We are not meant to navigate pregnancy and the fourth trimester alone.
Yael is a doctor of Chinese medicine, licensed acupuncturist, nationally certified herbalist, and diplomate of Oriental Medicine. For more information, click here.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture, which is the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to influence the flow of qi through the body, is one of the oldest forms of healing in the world. It originated in China about 5000 years ago, and the first medical text about acupuncture was written over 2200 years ago. The fact that acupuncture continues to be practiced today is strong proof of the power of this medicine.
Acupuncture is the best known of the modalities that make up what is known as traditional Chinese medicine, but actually, Chinese medicine has 4 pillars. Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Moxibustion, Tui Na/body work/cupping/Gua Sha and Nutrition. It is one of the tools that we use in order to bring balance to the body in order for the body to function optimally and be able to heal itself.
The theory on which acupuncture is based is called meridian (or channel) theory. Meridian theory describes the flow of qi (vital energy, life energy or prana) through the body. Qi connects all the tissues and organs of the body, circulating from one area of the body to another along certain pathways (called meridians or channels). For the body to function properly, qi must flow freely and in the correct strength and quality through each of the meridians. When the flow of qi is interrupted or unbalanced, illness of the body, mind and/or spirit will occur resulting in symptoms such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, etc. which are signs that the body's qi is imbalanced.
What are some benefits of acupuncture?
The benefits of acupuncture are quite simple yet extremely profound. It unblocks any blockages you might have in your body, increases blood flow, releases serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins which are 10-200 times more potent than morphine working on both intensity and perception of chronic pain. This is why acupuncture is so amazing for all gynecological issues from PMS to fertility, chronic illness, and most pain issues.
When should I start acupuncture? How often should I go?
This is a great question. The best results happen when you address your issues from the very start rather than waiting for your condition to worsen. The longer you have an issue, the harder it is to heal. As far as fertility is concerned, the most optimal results are obtained if you start acupuncture as soon as you decide to start a family. I usually like to see my patients once every week, unless the issue is extreme. If it is something very difficult to treat, I usually prescribe twice a week for a few weeks and then we can start doing treatments once a week. Each case is unique, which is why I require an initial consultation to figure out each patient's needs and plans.
Does it hurt?
This is a very individualized response. Most of my patients don't feel any pain, but they do feel sensations. Sometimes these sensations are big and sometimes small depending on what we are treating, but all sensations only last a few seconds and then you enter a blissful relaxation that is deep and extremely restorative. I would say that the majority of my patients fall asleep during a session and feel very rested at the end. During an acupuncture session, because your entire nervous system is stimulated and brought from a flight and fight into a rest and digest, your body begins deep healing.
Last month, I joined forces with mental health advocates, medical practitioners, organizational leaders, parents, and caregivers from across the country to advocate for change during Black Maternal Mental Health Week. I had the honor of presenting at the Black Maternal & Mental Health Summit in Houston, Texas.
Hosted by The Shades of Blue Project and The UT Health School of Public Health, the summit was dedicated to promoting health equity for more Black birthing individuals across their birth experience. The main theme of the event was collective effort, as we are collectively working for greater community impact and change.
My presentation, “Prenatal Yoga’s Impact on Mind, Body, and Baby,” tied in perfectly with the summit’s theme. I highlighted the importance of movement during pregnancy, since It’s been well proven that exercise can positively impact overall mood and has been shown to reduce anxiety and feelings of depression. I also discussed how prenatal yoga supports the ever-changing body during pregnancy while naturally increasing serotonin and reducing cortisol. I emphasized that prenatal yoga helps to develop a connection with the baby, and how studies show women who regularly practiced prenatal yoga were less likely to have pre-term labor or to deliver a low birthweight baby.
After leading everyone through prenatal-friendly breathing and movement exercises, the bulk of my presentation shifted towards one of the biggest benefits of prenatal yoga – community. Poor social support is an important risk factor for depression in pregnancy. Prenatal yoga classes improve social support by connecting with other pregnant women in a safe, supportive environment. Whether you attend an in-person or a virtual class, the connection is undeniable. There’s something powerful about being in a space with people who are facing this magical, sacred, stressful, uncomfortable, and confusing journey called pregnancy at the same time you are. A strong support system makes childbirth and postpartum easier, and with postpartum depression impacting 1 in 8 mothers and 1 in 10 fathers, we need to be doing everything we possibly can strengthen support systems in our communities.
Thank you for continuing to support Prana Prenatal Yoga and for being a part of our community. Thank you for supporting the Momnibus Act. And a very special to Kay Matthews and the entire Shades of Blue Project team for hosting this transformative event.
To find out more about Shades of Blue Project, click here.
How do we balance summer fun with sleep schedules for our little ones? Certified Sleep Consultant and Prana Practitioner Johanna Snyder offers her expertise.
The days are getting longer, and the temperatures are getting warmer. Summertime is just around the corner! In the summer months, we tend to want to let loose and relax our daily routines and schedules. We want to spend more time playing outside and enjoying the weather.
As much as we want to embrace the carefree summer months, throwing in the towel with your schedules can mean your child’s sleep suffers. It is important to enjoy the summer, but also stick the schedule (most of the time!). It is all about a healthy balance.
Make sure to have backyard family BBQ dinners, impromptu sprinkler running and bubble blowing nights, or s’mores over the firepit. Just try to keep these as special occasions, rather than the norm. How do you balance the fun with a good night sleep? If you know it will be a late bedtime one night, make sure to have an early bedtime the following night. If you know you are heading to the beach for the day and naps might be disrupted, try to have an early bedtime that night to help prevent an overtired child. If one nap is in the stroller, aim or the second nap to be a motionless one! It is all about enjoying your summer, but respecting your child’s sleep needs.
Summertime also might mean a time for a much-needed family vacation — time to head to the beach, go to an amusement park, or visit a new city. Sandy beaches, blue skies, clear water, fun rides, ice-cream cones, sightseeing, and sleepy, cranky children. Wait! One of those things does not belong. Traveling with your children can be wonderful, but when they do not get enough sleep, it can make a week at the beach more exhausting than fun.
I know it seems like a challenge, but there are ways to ensure everyone gets sleep, so you can all enjoy your time away. Here are my five tips to keep your travels fun and your little ones rested!
1. Stick to your routine. Try to honor your child’s typical nap and bedtimes. Every day/night won’t be perfect, but if your child sleeps at the appropriate time most days, she will get the most restorative sleep. Recreate the same home pre-nap and pre-bedtime routines to make things familiar and comfortable for your child.
2. Create a similar environment. Bring your white noise machine, sleep sacks, lovies, or even a favorite blanket from home. For older children, bring the toddler clock and a copy of their sleep rules. The same rules apply while you are away! This helps make a new environment feel more like home. Do not forget to pack some favorite bedtime books!
3. Keep the room dark. Light has an enormous impact on sleep. When the early morning sun creeps through the shades or it is not quite dark enough at bedtime, children will have trouble sleeping. There are lots of quick and easy solutions to darken a room. You can hang towels or garbage bags on the windows. I always bring painter’s tape with me so I can hang things without ruining the walls. You can also purchase affordable room darkening shades online. I happen to love the Redi accordion shades.
4. Be flexible. If you are sharing a room with your child, you might need to be flexible with the space. You can try to place a pack n’ play or portable crib in a quiet area or behind an open closet door (away from a window). Remind early risers to rest in bed so they do not wake everyone else. While motionless sleep is the best, if a nap has to be in a stroller nap one day, it is better than no nap at all!
5. Have fun. Everyone might sleep a little less while you are away, but you can still enjoy and explore. Try not to pack your days, allowing some time for resting and remember to smile, laugh and enjoy your time away!
Lastly, when you get back home return to your regular routines right away. This will help your child get back on track with sleep!
In honor of Mother's Day, we asked some Prana Mamas to define Motherhood. Here's what they had to say.
"Motherhood is an honor bestowed upon women. It means you will forever be connected to a child or children who will grow and learn with values and skills which you have helped create in them. Motherhood is a responsibility and a privilege. You will worry, love, care, make sacrifices, and do your best to help your children for the rest of time. Your heart grows even bigger when you become a mother. There is an indescribable bond between you and your child that you will always cherish. No matter how you became a mother, once you've become one, your life has changed forever." - Marissa H.
"Sacrifice. We sacrifice our time, our bodies, our personal wellness, our money, our relationships, etc. all in order to become and be mothers. Where is that demanded of anyone else in society?! It's in watching your children grow and thrive that makes all of those sacrifices worth it <3" - Sarah L.
"Motherhood has been my greatest blessing and my biggest challenge. I never in a million years thought I could love something as much as I love this tiny human! It's more work than I ever imagined and there are a ridiculous amount of sacrifices I make without hesitating. There are some days where it sucks your soul, and there are days where you let go of everything and dance in the sunset." - Marissa G.
"Motherhood is Divine. It is the most sacred task I was put on earth to do. It is unconditional love. It is constant growth, humility, introspection and grace. It is HARD! But it feels like the most natural thing in the world." - Sophia M.
"Motherhood is the chance to share in life's biggest expression of love with and through my daughter who is the brightest light in my life. Motherhood is the opportunity to witness my daughter be that light for everyone she interacts with. It's a divinely guided gift of unconditional love. Her name is Mia - "wished for child". Motherhood is the culmination of all things the most happy and the most difficult. Motherhood is a reflection of myself, who I was once was and who I strive to be - my "why". Motherhood is observing and celebrating all that my daughter is and who she is becoming. Motherhood is my most pure and infinite gift to the world." - Crystal
"Motherhood means patience and finding inner strength and love that are probably not accessible without the experience of motherhood." - Dr. Yael Markowicz
"Motherhood is so hard. There are a lot of silent tears, sacrifices, and guilt. It can be ruthless at times. It's also so magical. Motherhood gave me a reason to be a better human being and to let go of of a lot of the pain and hurt I'd been harboring since my childhood. My relationship with my biological mother leaves much to be desired and a lot of those feelings came up when I myself became a mother, but I'm appreciative of what my journey of motherhood has taught me about myself. I've stopped comparing myself to others, especially to those who were able to conceive easily, and have come to accept that my journey is still valid and beautiful." - Anonymous
A few years ago, I stopped making resolutions on January 1. It became overwhelming to come up with a list of things I was committing to “fixing” about myself starting on the first day of the year, when historical data showed that by the end of January I had given up on said list. Also, why does a new calendar automatically mean we need to come up with a “new” version of ourselves?
I began to gravitate towards the idea of setting an intention for myself instead of resolutions. By setting an intention, I was committing to purposefully incorporating the intention into all areas of my life as much as I possibly could. When I had set the intention to protect my peace, I constantly found myself asking if what I was doing, saying, feeling, or experiencing was in line with my intention, and I would try to react accordingly.
It’s no secret that this pandemic has taken an extremely heavy toll on women, especially working mothers. Burnout, emotional distress, and revenge bedtime procrastination are all too common. We cannot pour from an empty cup, which is why we need to prioritize ourselves and set the intention for self-care. Many people think self-care is just getting a mani/pedi or a massage. There is definitely a place for those in self-care, but it’s also so much more than that. Practicing self-care intentionally means incorporating it into your daily life. While I love a good hot stone massage, at this point in my life I am not in a position to schedule one every single day. However, it’s still important to prioritize some daily “me time” instead of impatiently counting the days until the stones are resting on my back.
Putting yourself first is hard work. I get it, we’re busy – we wear so many different hats and more often than not are unsung heroes, but the responsibility of recharging ourselves ultimately falls on us. Waiting for employers, partners, family members, or friends to prioritize our needs can often lead to miscommunication, resentment, and ultimately wasted time.
Now that the honeymoon phase of the “New Year, New Me” resolutions have most likely subsided, this is as good a time as any to set the intention for self-care. Not sure where to start? Below is a list of 50 self-care ideas you can try. Make this list your own! Some ideas might resonate with you more than others, and you might even decide to create some type of routine (#mondaymeditation). The important thing to remember is that you owe it to yourself to prioritize yourself, even if just for a few moments, each and every day.
I'd love to hear about your journey with self-care! Comment below, or email me at email@example.com
Most children learn to walk between 12-15 months of age with their feet flat on the ground. Some children who are first learning to walk may walk up on their toes or on the balls of their feet. This typically disappears within 3-6 months of regular walking. Habitual toe walking occurs with children who continue to toe walk beyond the toddler years (after age 2). By age 3, there should not be any residual toe walking. Some parents think it is “cute,” but if it persists, it needs to be watched and addressed. Left untreated, children can end up with tight leg muscles, balance and coordination difficulties and walking problems. Early treatment by a Pediatric Physical Therapist can reduce and prevent toe walking.
By: Prana Practitioners and Other Experts
Experts answer all your questions about pregnancy, birth, motherhood, and beyond.