CASE STUDY 7.2
Vicki has been pregnant seven times (including two miscarriages and twins in her fourth pregnancy). On each occasion she suffered from preterm labour and/or an irritable uterus that kept on contracting, and had to be repeatedly admitted to hospital from 20 weeks on for complete bedrest. Throughout the last three pregnancies, I have given her a weekly treatment from about 8 weeks of pregnancy.
Vicki's main problem is Kidney Yang deficiency, and Blood deficiency.
When the uterus is contracting, I needle the Penetrating Vessel PC-6 on the right side and SP-4 on the left side, as well as LU-7 and KI-6 to ease the abdominal pain and calm any anxiety in the patient. This treatment was really helpful in Vicki's case and I was able to treat her again 3 days later, when I added further points, BL-17 and 23, to tonify and build up her Blood and Kidney energy. On this occasion I used moxa on the points.
In her most recent pregnancy, Vicki was not admitted to hospital until 32 weeks (as opposed to 20 weeks in her previous pregnancies), and she delivered normally at 38 weeks.
Annabel was an IVF pregnancy with a history of infertility. She came to me at 24 weeks suffering frequent contractions and an irritable uterus. Problems with contractions are often linked to Kidney deficiency and an excess of heat. However, in Annabel's case, she was also very angry and frustrated by the contractions. She was suffering greatly from back ache and a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen: she felt like the baby was going to drop out. She also had a number of Yin symptoms, such as a dry mouth, thirst and heat at night. Movement made the contractions worse so I treated her at home.
I treated the Girdle Vessel points GB-41 on right side and TE-5 on the left side, PC-6 on the right side and LR-3 on the left side. After obtaining Deqi, I left the needles in for 45 minutes. The aim of the treatment was to calm her anxiety and move her Qi. I finished treatment by tonifying BL-23 and KI-6 to nourish her Yin.
I feel there is nothing to be lost by treating a woman with acupuncture in preterm labour, and possibly much to be gained (see Case studies 7.1 and 7.2).
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