Owner of the Meridian Acupuncture Clinic Paul O'Brien offers advice on how to prevent urinary tract infections happening during pregnancy using self- massage.
URINARY tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection of the bladder that most commonly presents with a frequent painful burning urination, often with additional lower abdominal pain. During pregnancy, acupuncture has been shown to be highly effective in preventing the recurrence of UTIs and there are techniques you can use yourself at home to help keep the condition at bay, or to alleviate symptoms.
Before following the self-massage guide below, however, it's important to stress that you don't take a 'wait and see' approach due to the potentially serious nature of UTIs in pregnancy. It's vital that should you present with any of the symptoms to consult a midwife or medical practitioner as soon as possible.
UTI prevention self-massage guide
Take a few minutes three times each day to find a comfortable, quiet area, free from distraction, and massage the following points in a circular motion for 60 seconds at a time. Don't use too much pressure and make sure to relax and enjoy the light massage. The primary points are Bl-23 and SP-9. The other two are optional depending on the nature of the UTI.
This is located about an inch off the lower border of the second lumbar vertebrae. The easy way to find it is to put your hands on your hip bones and let your fingers point in to your spine. Count up one vertebrae and there you are.
The easiest way to massage this point is with the knuckles, and to just rub up and down along the sides of the spine.
This point directly strengthens the kidneys and is a staple of many pregnancy treatments. In particular, this helps to alleviate any blockages in urination as well as lower back pain. Remember to stimulate the point lightly on both sides of the back.
This an be found just below the knee on the inside leg, in the depression just behind the big bump of the tibia (the medial condyle for any medical types).
Traditionally, this point clears heat, thus reducing any fever, pain and stinging, and resolves dampness (the effects of an infection) from the bowel/bladder region.
This point is located about three fingers up from the wrist bone on the outside of the forearm, in between the muscles.
Used in cases where there is excess heat in the heart – if, for instance, there has been insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep or a red-tipped tongue you would use this point with the others. Again, remember to lightly massage both arms.
This is one of the easiest points to find and is located on the foot. It is found in the depression at the junction of the bones of the first big and second toe.
Again this is an optional point, used when there is excess heat in the heart or liver. In this case, additional symptoms, such as extreme irritability, stress, frustration, hot, itchy eyes or headaches may be present as well. As with the other points, remember to stimulate both feet lightly.
Mothers & Babies
Drink at least six to eight glasses of water daily, avoiding fluids such as tea, coffee and fruit juices. In fact, stick to a light green tea and water if suffering from any UTI symptoms. Cranberry juice is traditionally cited as being an excellent remedy and this is true. Unfortunately, many current brands are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you can find an organic unsweetened variety, that would be an ideal choice.