TCM during pregnancy and post-delivery: Expert tips from Eu Yan Sang
Curious to know more about how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help during the long and uncomfortable months of pregnancy, we turned to the expert, Physician Ng Li Ying from Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic to get the best tips on how to safely use Chinese Herbs when you’re expecting, and post-delivery.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a healing system of Eastern medicine developed in China more than 2,000 years ago, incorporating therapies that are in some cases millennia older. Chinese Medicine has long been favoured for its medicinal-like purposes, helping treat everything from infertility and reproductive disorders to common everyday ailments.
Physician Ng Li Ying integrates both Western medicine knowledge and TCM knowledge into her practice. She shares some very useful tips so if you’re trying to conceive, are pregnant or have recently delivered, we’ve got you covered.
How beneficial is TCM for women who are trying to conceive?
There are many steps involved in successful impregnation. From the ovulation to the fertilisation and implantation, interlinking with an array of hormone interaction, TCM methods can be employed to increase chances of conceiving or solve problems leading to infertility issues. These effects can be achieved through herbal medication and acupuncture, mainly regulating the functions of the kidney and liver, which plays a main and significant role in the reproductive system.
In females who are healthy and do not have infertility issues, the womb can be strengthened for a better development of the fetus. While in those who have infertility issues, commonly involving gynecological diseases such as menstrual cramps, irregular menstruation cycles, fibroids, endometriosis etc, TCM can provide a solution to these issues, thereby resolving infertility issues. For those who are using assisted reproductive technologies such as IUI and IVF, TCM can also assist alongside these techniques, to enhance the probability of conception.
How can TCM help in terms of relieving nausea and morning sickness? Please elaborate on the process.
Nausea, giddiness, and occasional bouts of vomiting in the morning are physiological signs of pregnancy. Morning sickness usually lasts for the first trimester, with some individuals experiencing them past the first trimester. However, if there is frequent nausea and vomiting, or even vomiting right after food, loss of appetite, giddiness and lethargy, it would be a cause for concern.
TCM methods, mainly herbal medication and acupuncture, can be administered to strengthen the spleen and stomach. The common worry of pregnant patients is that oral medication and acupuncture will affect the pregnancy. However, only some herbs and acupoints should be avoided during pregnancy and it will be safe.
Can you tell us which traditional medication is useful for post-delivery symptoms like back pain, water retention and persistent contractions?
Backache: The entire duration of pregnancy from conceiving to delivery involves the kidney. The delivery process can result in weakening of the kidney, and hence pain in the lower back which is linked to the kidney system. 杜仲 duzhong, 续断xuduan are two important traditional medication to tonify the kidney and strengthen the back.
Water retention: 茯苓fuling，陈皮chenpi，大腹皮dafupi，黄芪huangqi，白术baizhu are some of the traditional medication used for water retention, working to tonify qi and spleen, which governs the distribution of water in our body.
Persistent contractions: It is a natural occurrence to have persistent contractions 1-2 days after delivery. This is due to the contraction of the uterus, and will usually last for 2-3 days. However, if the intensity of the pain felt increases over time, such that it affects your health, treatment would be necessary. Danggui当归is a herb that can be used for this condition. It nourishes blood while promoting blood circulation, and can be used whether the persistent contraction is due to a blood deficiency or a blood stasis syndrome. If it is a blood deficiency syndrome, other herbs that can be used include 熟地黄shudihuang，党参dangshen，阿胶ejiao，白芍baishao. Whereas for a blood stasis syndrome, other herbs include 桃仁taoren，川芎chuanxiong，益母草yimucao，香附xiangfu.
It is advisable to consume herbal prescription under the advice of a registered TCM physician. It is also essential to consult a TCM Physician for a correct diagnosis and suitable remedy based on your body constitution and root causes.
Want more tips? Click next to read more about the benefits of TCM!
Other than detoxification, what other TCM methods can be carried out to ensure great health?
Detoxification should be done according to the individual’s constitution. There is no general way that fits all. TCM seeks to achieve great health by inducing a balance in the body. Generally, there is either a ‘deficiency’ or an ‘excess’ in the body. Detoxification works to remove the excess from the body. When there is a deficiency, tonification should be used instead.
How has TCM personally helped you over the years?
TCM is more than just treatment. It emphasises on protection and prevention of diseases. With TCM theory as a guideline, it is easier to adopt a healthier lifestyle such as regulating a good sleeping and eating habit, with regular exercise. Protection includes keeping warm in air conditioned environment, which many enjoy in hot weather, and tend to neglect the consequences. With occasional sub-optimum health condition, which is an intermediate state where one is not healthy but have some discomforts yet not significant to be diagnosed with a disease, it is convenient to restore to a healthy condition with some medication or acupuncture administration. Having TCM knowledge is a useful skill, and the help can be extended to family and friends.
Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic offers customised TCM Health Report which allows you to discover your current dominant body constitution and focuses on preventive health treatment to manage sub-health conditions. For more information on the TCM Health Report, visit www.euyansangclinic.com.
*Pregnant women should exercise discretion and consult a licensed TCM physician before using any herbs.
*Physician Ng Li Ying is a registered TCM Physician. She graduated with a double degree in Biomedical Sciences (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (Beijing University of Chinese Medicine); she integrates both Western medicine knowledge and TCM knowledge into her practice. She is effectively bilingual in in English and Mandarin. She currently practices at Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic @ HarbourFront and Clementi.
What Chinese herbs did you try when you were pregnant? We would love to hear from you- share your comments below!