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Temple Blog Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pregnancy part i
Traditional chinese medicine
The birth of life is a tremendous and magical process. After a woman becomes pregnant, she has to go through a gestation period of about 280 days, which is called “October pregnancy” in Chinese Medicine.
Chinese Medicine believes that the Yin and blood of the internal organs and meridians of women during pregnancy should be on Chong-ren to nourish the fetus. The Chong meridian is considered the “sea of blood” while the Ren meridian controls the fetus, therefore, in a situation of weak Qi and blood, kidney weakness, heat in the blood, stuck liver Qi, or external trauma could damage the functioning of the Chong-Ren meridians, and bleeding may appear during the course of pregnancy to the point of miscarriage. The whole body has “insufficient blood sense and easy to overfill”. Therefore, health care during pregnancy needs to consider all aspects of the body, psychology, diet and the fetus and be more cautious than ever.
The essence of life for fetus development
The kidneys are drawn toward the fetus. They are the source of Tian Gui, providing the essence of life (Jing) for the fetus to develop and thrive. The transfer of this essence takes place with the help of the spleen and stomach, which provide fluids and Qi so that the blood and Jing can nourish the fetus. The fetus and the pregnancy depend on the adaptation and balance between the kidney Qi (prenatal) and the spleen Qi (postnatal) and their influence on the Chong-Ren meridians. Genetic mutations in the fetus present as a failure of kidney energy at the Jing level, but this situation also includes a lack of balance or weakness between the kidney Yin and Yang. Cell division requires a fixed, liquid base of Yuan Qi which allows the cell (which comprises the Yin, or essence of life) to divide. Weakness in the Yang Qi or Yuan Qi or weakness of the Yin causes the cell to lose its true identity, its Dao, and to create chromosomal changes which cause the fetus to not develop in a way consistent with the laws of nature which desire harmony.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view, dealing with pregnancy must consider the following aspects:
Prenatal Education: The mental state during pregnancy affects the mother’s physical and psychological health and the fetus’s growth and development. “Pregnancy Collection” says: “Pregnant women rely on the mother’s Qi to live, the breath is connected, the emotions and anger correspond, and if there is a bias, it will lead to the child’s illness.” Therefore, pregnant women should cultivate their temperaments, calm their minds and desires, and have a comfortable mind. Optimism, no sadness, no worries and alarms, no big words, no crying, the joys, and sorrows can be in moderation so as to maintain a normal environment for the growth of the fetus. Chinese Medicine also believes that the fetus in the mother’s body can be influenced by the words and deeds of the mother, so she should pay attention to etiquette to have a good influence on the fetus.
Consider external and internal responses to promote the development of fetal intelligence. The concept of childbirth education in Traditional Chinese Medicine has the motto: “Sleep, bear the pain, and give birth slowly”. According to the book “Biography of Lie Nu” in the Western Han Dynasty, King Wen of Zhou’s mother was called Tai Li. When she was pregnant, she “did not see evil with her eyes, listen to lewd voices with her ears, and could not speak eloquent words”. King Wen was virtuous and wise. Fear and anxiety will make a special compound, “catecholamine”, appear in the blood. If this substance appears in the blood of a pregnant woman, it will be brought to the fetus through the placenta, making the fetus feel uneasy. If afraid, angry, irritable, and sad for a long time, it can lead to obvious changes in body functions and various endocrine hormones, changing the environment in the uterus and affecting the fetus.
By the second trimester of pregnancy, the fetal middle ear is fully developed, and the turbulent sound of blood entering and leaving the placenta, the mother’s heart sound and intestinal peristalsis, as well as external music, noise and other sounds, can be clearly heard. In response, the fetus can share joy and suffering with the mother. For example, when a pregnant woman quarrels with others, the fetus will punch and kick as if to cheer her mother. If the mother likes music when she is pregnant, the melodious music will make the little audience in the belly show soft and rhythmic fetal movements. The development of the fetal nervous system and brain is closely related to the mother’s mood and personality. Therefore, pregnant mothers must take care of their spirits during pregnancy, pay attention to prenatal education, maintain a good mood, and pay more attention to spiritual beauty, which is of great benefit to the psychological development of babies born in the future.
pay attention to work and rest
Women’s resistance to disease is reduced during pregnancy, and they should pay attention to preventing various infectious diseases. The “Dasheng Essentials” of Traditional Chinese Medicine says: “Be careful of cold and warm, and the symptoms of cold and external pathogens or typhoid fever before the fetus, stagnation of heat and unresolved, often miscarriage and abortion.” Modern perinatal Medicine has proved that viral infection in pregnant women can endanger the fetus through the placenta, among which Rubella is the most harmful. Suffering from Rubella in early pregnancy can cause cataracts, congenital heart disease, and deafness in the offspring, called “congenital rubella syndrome”. Influenza or cytomegalovirus infection can cause fetal malformations, growth retardation, and intellectual disability. Therefore, pregnant women should strengthen their health care, be cautious about heat and cold, and refrain from going to public places.
During the epidemic season of infectious diseases, they should wear masks when entering and leaving to prevent infection. Women must live a regular life during pregnancy, have normal daily life, and moderate work and rest. Traditional Chinese Medicine has the sayings of “two nos” and “two appropriates”:
- Don’t relax too much. The Qi will stagnate if you relax.
- Don’t work too hard, and the Qi will decline.
- Rest before five months
- Work after five months.
Prolonged vision hurts the blood, prolonged lying hurts the Qi, prolonged sitting hurts the flesh, prolonged standing hurts the bones, and prolonged walking hurts the tendons.
In addition, pregnant women “must be quiet in bed” and have enough sleep, but not snooze, to avoid Qi stagnation and dystocia. They can participate in suitable physical activities, such as straining the body and shaking the limbs without causing stillness, flexing and stretching the movements to transport the blood and Qi, to make the meridians unobstructed, Qi and blood in harmony, the pulse smooth, beneficial to fetal development and smooth delivery. Living with caution and moderate activities can promote the development of the fetus and the flexibility of the baby’s body in the future and reduce the difficulty and pain during childbirth. However, don’t climb high, don’t go deep, don’t go overboard, and don’t bear heavy weights.