Pregnancy and Post Natal Support

The joy a women experience’s when she finds out she is pregnant is like no other. The symptoms that can accompany pregnancy are also like no other. Acupuncture, Naturopathy and Massage can help through pregnancy in many ways from the first trimester all the way through to birth preparation and natural induction and they can assist with post delivery conditions.

No matter the Stage of your pregnancy, Essence of Health is a multidisciplinary clinic offering a wide range of treatment modalities to help you….every step of the way.

Sandra Sapio is an Acupuncture pregnancy Support Specialist and has been practicing since 2003, and has established one of the most successful Natural Fertility, IVF Support and Pregnancy Acupuncture clinics in Adelaide. Essence of Health has become one of the most referred to Clinics by our patients and other health care practitioners. Sandra is also a well trusted and highly regarded Acupuncturist, who works with Flinders Birthing Centre and Women’s and Children’s Birthing Centre patients in conjunction with their midwives to help in natural labour preparation.

Sandra specialises in Acupuncture pregnancy Support and Nutritional Medicine and Incorporates Naturopathy, to give her patients the highest level of personalised care. Lifestyle, Diet and Supplementation advice is also recommended as part of an ongoing service to ensure optimal health and nutrition in the lead up and during your pregnancy.

Acupuncture can help through every stage of your pregnancy in the following ways;

First Trimester

As many as 85-90% of all miscarriages happen within the first trimester, regular Acupuncture in the first trimester can assist with increasing micro-circulation to the uterus, which can help prevent blood flow restrictions.  Enhanced circulation provides optimal nourishment to a growing embryo and can help in preventing clotting factors and reoccurring miscarriage. Acupuncture can help by preventing unexplained miscarriage,however it will not prevent miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities.As each week progresses the rate of miscarriage drops and after the first trimester, treatment is extended to monthly, to help maintain a healthy pregnancy.

During the first trimester, treatment can also assist with morning sickness, headaches, fatigue and insomnia.

Second Trimester

This is generally classed as the‘best trimester’ for most, and Acupuncture in the first trimester can help get your body feeling better sooner.  The pregnancy experience itself is however, ever changing and so to, is the demand it places on a woman’s body.   Acupuncture in the second trimester can help in the following ways; Increase energy levels, improve sleep quality, Increase immunity, treat sinusitis,  reduce fluid retention, help treat pain and discomfort of muscle and joint issues including headaches, reduce prolonged morning sickness.

Third Trimester

The countdown is on and not long before a new and exciting chapter begins.  Acupuncture is extremely important in the final trimester as it prepares a woman physically, mentally and emotionally for not just the labour but for optimal post natal recovery and support.

Miscarriage Prevention

As many as 85-90% of all miscarriages happen within the first trimester, regular Acupuncture in the first trimester can assist with increasing micro-circulation to the uterus, which can help prevent blood flow restrictions.  Enhanced circulation provides optimal nourishment to a growing embryo and can help in preventing clotting factors and reoccurring miscarriage. Acupuncture can help by preventing unexplained miscarriage,however it will not prevent miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities.As each week progresses the rate of miscarriage drops and after the first trimester, treatment is extended to monthly, to help maintain a healthy pregnancy.

The second half of the cycle is by far the most crucial in helping to not only allow an embryo to implant but to continue to progress. A typical luteal phase is 14 days after ovulation, however due to progesterone imbalance, some women have very short luteal cycles, which could attribute to implantation failure and miscarriage.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs work by not only building a good endometrial lining in the first half but works to help stimulate the corpus luteum after ovulation to produce good levels of progesterone.

Certain supplementation or specialised Chinese herbal formulas that are safe during pregnancy can be taken to help reduce the risk of miscarriage. They can not only help with increasing circulation, but are designed to help the corpus luteum stimulate the production of progesterone.

Labour Preparation and Induction

Natural labour Preparation

Acupuncture can help increase the chances of an uncomplicated labour and natural birth.  Depending on the circumstance weekly treatments are commenced from 32-34 weeks and are aimed at helping with moving the baby in the correct position and preparing the physical body for the induction process.  An important focus of Acupuncture is not only to prepare the body physically but to help ensure that mentally and emotionally the body remains relaxed and calm about the birthing process.

Natural Labour Induction

Acupuncture treatments proceeding the preparation phase change slightly and are aimed at helping with stimulating the cervix to soften, ripen, open, Stimulate the uterus and initiate more ‘Braxton’ practice contractions, help move positioning of posterior babies, help encourage baby to naturally engage into position and facilitate natural and spontaneous labour.

Medical induction for medical reasons

In some circumstances and due to medical reasons, orIVF pregnancies some women can be induced early or on their due date by obstetrician to avoid going over.  Acupuncture treatment leading up to and on the day or evening of medical induction can increase the success of a complication free pregnancy and reduce the need for further medical intervention.


Acupuncture is still recommended for women choosing or for medical reasons needing a Caesarean section.  Recovery is an important part of any medical procedure and in most situations a person gets much needed rest to recover, but no so for caesareans, because your needed to care for your baby.  Acupuncture is an effective preparation treatment to help speed the recovery process if used before or after the birth of your child.

Post Natal Recovery

Acupuncture is a great treatment to help recover the body, physically, mentally and emotionally to set you up for a better transition hormonally after having a baby.   Acupuncture can also help new mothers struggling with breastfeeding due to insufficient lactation.  This can be a stressful time for some woman, and Acupuncture facilities the relaxation of the nervous system to assist along side with the post natal treatment that is provided.

Labour Stories

I had the most wonderful experience during my pregnancy and labour. I started to see Sandra at about 24 weeks pregnant and I really believe that seeing her early on in my pregnancy helped with so much, preparing my body for a baby. I had early colostrum development and this set me up for very successful breastfeeding relationship with my now 2 year old girl Alilah.

I realize that labour can be traumatic for some and this was definitely not my reality. I am lucky to be able to say my labour was the most empowering, awesome and memorable experiences I relive over in my head with joy and I whole heartedly dedicate this to my acupuncture treatment and mindfulness.

My contractions happened just a day over my due date and I had a tens machine to assist me (similar to the one used near my due date with Sandra) I was able to calmly and actively get to 5cm at home. I loved being able to be at home and knowing my body was doing what it needed to do. I was confident, I felt strong and a sense of calm.
During transition I used mindfulness and was able to calmly push for only 45 minutes. I was so proud and grateful to have such an experience with a safe baby in my arms and within an hour I was showered and walked myself to my room.

Thank you to Sandra for preparing me, my mind and my body so well for a safe delivery of my baby. My milk production was also so effective and I was expressing 100mls a side in 10 minutes at 6 months. I continued to see Sandra post naturally for immune support, anxiety and general rejuvenation.


I accredit Sandra’s labour preparation and induction treatments to the smooth (and early) labour I experienced.

The labour inducing treatment was intense but I definitely experienced the benefits with the birth of my daughter. I saw Sandra on the Saturday morning and experienced back pains all day which I didn’t realise was signs of early labour. At 10:45pm that evening my waters broke!!!!

After what I can only describe as a dream 6 hours of active labour, the next day we were blessed with the arrival of our little princess, Anabelle one week early on Australia Day.

I only hoped that every birth could be as smooth as what I experienced. I was very lucky!

I recommend Sandra to every one of my pregnant friends. I figure that the least you can do for yourself and your unborn child is take the very best care of your body and mind to give both of you the very best experience that you could possibly have.


I had seen Sandra throughout my entire pregnancy it helped with moods, cravings and in my third trimester I had really bad fluid retention in my legs and feet. It would disappear by the next morning after having acupuncture.  The biggest benefit, was labour!  I was really scared about the birth of my baby and acupuncture really helped loosen my body up. I had a really short labour of 5 hours for my first baby (which I know is rare). I had a complication free labour and she came out naturally (position perfect). 20 mins of the pushing stage.   This is a sure sign the acupuncture worked wonders for my body.


After conceiving, I continued to see Sandra monthly during my pregnancy and I continued to learn so much about the pregnancy process from Sandra (tests, obstetricians etc) who always provided me with reassurance and was able to answer any question I had any time of day (yes I had some paranoid moments).

I can only describe my positive, joyful pregnancy experience which I attest to the great results of Acupuncture and Sandra – I did not experience any morning sickness, fatigue was short lived (I only recall being extremely tired once or twice), my baby was always in position ready to go and my milk production although not enough to feed my big, hungry baby, was very good.

Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy massage is tailored specifically to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies.

Carrying a baby inside you changes your centre of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders.

Pregnancy also relaxes your ligaments, so that your pelvic joints are less stable, and changes your posture, pulling your pelvis forward.

A trained pregnancy massage therapist can target those sore spots and provide some relief, while knowing which areas, and what techniques, to avoid.

Benefits of massage during pregnancy:

  • Reduces stress hormones and increases fell-good hormones, thereby reducing anxiety and depression
  • Increases energy and a reduced sense of fatigue
  • Brings deep relaxation
  • Can relieve nausea and heartburn
  • Relieves the everyday discomforts of pregnancy such as back pain, joint pain, neck pain, headaches, pelvic pain, and leg cramps, by targeting specific trigger points and muscle tension
  • Reduces excess fluid retention which generally manifests as swelling in the hands and ankles
  • Reduces sciatica pain
  • Improves circulation
  • Improved sleep from being more relaxed, reduced muscle tension and feeling less uncomfortable
  • A greater sense of relaxation which leads to the improvement in the progression of labour with better health outcomes for both mother and baby
  • Creates a wonderful connection between the mother and baby.

Post natal support

The amazing changes the body goes through in the 9 months of being pregnant, is no wonder why sometimes it takes just as long for our body to feel ‘normal’ again. Many post-natal hormonal changes take place very quickly after the birth as your body adapts to caring for a new baby.
One of the first and most common treatments a patient may have after the birth is to help increase lactation and support breastfeeding. The worst feeling for any mum is to feel she has no other option but to stop breastfeeding because of insufficient milk supply. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very effective in increasing lactation and sometimes changes can be noticed in as little as 3-4 days. Even if you have been given or are taking Motilium (domperidone), acupuncture and Chinese herbs can greatly assist by speeding up the process.

It is normally recommended a patient have labour preparation treatment at least 6-10 weeks before their due date to help stimulate the energy and blood flow to the Mammary glands. Often patients who have treatment before the birth will notice colostrum coming through as early as 4-6 weeks before the birth.
There are many other post-natal issues that may arise, and help is always available in that time when you need support the most.

Common conditions treated by Acupuncture and Chinese herbs post-partum.

  • Breastfeeding issues
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • C-section recovery
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Irregular or absent cycle
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irritability, PMT
  • Insomnia
  • Swelling, fluid retention