Western Medicine understanding
Difficulty in passing stool or constipation is often just accepted as part of ‘normal’ pregnancy. It is thought that during pregnancy, hormones such as progesterone and estrogen soften and relax the smooth muscle of the digestive tract, rendering bowel movements sluggish. It does not happen that during early pregnancy women may also be experiencing nausea. Furthermore, although ensuring an adequate intake of fluids such as water is important, women may be reluctant to increase their fluid intake dramatically as they are already experiencing increased urinary frequency. In later pregnancy, constipation can arise due to the pressure placed on the bowel from the enlarged uterus.
Chinese medicine understanding
Women can present with a variety of underlying patterns that together with the pregnancy-induced changes result in constipation. The common patterns include blood deficiency, kidney deficiency, and liver qi stagnation. Commonly used points include: SJ6, zhigou, ST36 Zusanli, LV3 Taichong.
A single-blinded randomised control trial including 150 pregnancy women done in Turkey showed self-acupressure to the pregnant women to the SJ 6 Zhigou twice a day, caused to reduce constipation. It was determined that constipation during pregnancy could be reduced by the effective use of self-acupressure without using a pharmacological method(1).
- KIRCA AS, GUL DK. Effects of Self-Acupressure on Pregnancy-Related Constipation: a Single-blind Randomized Controlled Study. EXPLORE. 2020 Jul 25.