Acupuncture for birth and fertility: Interview with Janet Eastwood
Previously a chartered physiotherapist on the NHS, Janet retrained in acupuncture following her recovery from an unsuccessful operation related to her osteoarthritis. She continued her training with specialist courses in pain relief, fertility, care in pregnancy and post partum and today speaks to BirthEssence why she loves what she does and how she supports the pregnant women that come through her door.
Q1. Tell us a little more about your own story. How did you discover acupuncture and what made you choose this as your career?
I was a physiotherapist for many years working in Obstetrics and gynaecology and paediatrics. In 2006 I had been having problems with sciatica and arthritis of the spine, also menstrual problems due to fibroids and endometriosis. I had 2 operations very close together, one gynae and a spinal op. The spinal op was unsuccessful and although the gynae problems improved the spinal problems progressed. After being told there was nothing more Western medicine could offer me, I searched for alternatives. This is when I found acupuncture.
At first it didn’t help with the pain I was experiencing, but other areas of my life improved; sleep, wellbeing. I decided that I would do a degree in acupuncture and started the course the same day one of my daughters went to university.
So at 51 I retrained in Acupuncture and have loved every minute since!
I now have a clinic offering private and Multi-bed treatments, depending on what clients prefer or can manage. I set up the multi-bed clinic to try and keep prices as low as possible for people because I found it difficult to pay for the treatments I needed myself.
Q2. Most people probably know that acupuncture involves needles but I would love to know a little more about what acupuncture is and how it works and how it can support pregnant women?
Acupuncture is an ‘holistic’ treatment which means it works with the ‘whole person’, supporting not only the physical but also emotional and even ‘spiritual’ aspects of our nature. With this is in view it can be used to aid relaxation, calm anxiety as well as treat the changes that occur in pregnancy that can cause problems.
I support women all the way through their pregnancies, but there are specific times when acupuncture can be really helpful:
Women giving birth are just phenomenal! Believing you can do it- with the trust that as an individual there is no right or wrong way- it can be transformative. There are certain points that we avoid during different stages of pregnancy but generally it is a very gentle and safe treatment when performed by specialist acupuncturists.
Q3. What do you love most about working with women on their journey to motherhood?
For me being able to give women space to talk openly about any problems and get the support they need is so important. Also a haven to come to and take ‘time out’ in a safe, comfortable environment.
Q4. What transformations do you see in women who use acupuncture?
Acupuncture gives them strength to choose their own way through pregnancy and birth. To feel they do not have to rush and meet everyone else’s expectations.
Acupuncture gives women relief from symptoms that they have been told cannot be supported by Western medicine at this time in their lives. Like nausea and vomiting; carpal tunnel syndrome; heartburn; backache.
It also gives women support and options when faced with difficult decisions, often at the end of pregnancy when pressure can be applied to go for induction.
Q5. What would you say to women to inspire them with confidence and joy about birth- either practical tips or suggestions for support?
Pregnancy is not always easy and there is no manual so try to listen to your body and if you feel there is a problem or you are not coping- talk to someone -use all the support around you.
Try not to let others fixate you on ‘dates’ – as long as your baby is moving and you are well, get out in nature as much as you can and let baby grow. Talk to your baby, play music, take time for yourself and pamper yourself. You are beautiful!
Q6. What do you find awe inspiring about women giving birth/birth itself?
Women giving birth are just phenomenal! Believing you can do it- with the trust that as an individual there is no right or wrong way- it can be transformative.
Q7. What breaks your heart that you would like to see change for women becoming mothers?
The lack of support now from the NHS. Midwives have such a difficult task with all the cuts and demands on their time. They can’t do the job they want to be able to do to support women at this very precious time. Especially after birth.
Q8. If there was one thing that you would like women listening to take away and take to heart today what would it be?
Get the support you need to trust in your own body to support and nurture this beautiful new life that is growing within you. You can do this. Go mama!