Month three is governed by the Chinese Pericardium system. Your actual pericardium is the protective membrane around the heart, and as you build on the information you’ve gathered about your pregnancy, including test results and your personal experience of being pregnant, you may subsequently be even more trusting and confident in your pregnancy. Your heart may feel bolstered and open to newfound connection and joy—especially as some of the initial symptoms of the first trimester begin to recede.
The Pericardium is the companion to the Heart; both systems are associated with the element of fire. During this phase, in response to your growing baby and increasing circulatory demands, your blood volume is increasing and may bring another round of heated symptoms such as heartburn. As with all of the phases of pregnancy, temper the ups and downs and trust that if the process itself is not fully enjoyable, the final result—your baby—will be. I feel confident that he or she will bring you a joy like none you’ve experienced.
Month four is associated with the Chinese Triple Burner System. This is an abstract system in Chinese medicine, with the closest Western correlative being the circulation of fluids throughout the body and the idea of metabolism. This concept is very pertinent during this stage, as baby begins to swallow amniotic fluid, which now passes through her own digestive system and is processed into her working kidneys, then excreted back into the amniotic fluid as urine.
By the time the baby is ready to be born, she’ll be consuming about fifteen ounces of amniotic fluid each day. This, along with baby’s working taste buds, means there’s a lot for both of you to digest at this stage. There is even some research that what you eat during pregnancy is passed into the amniotic fluid in the form of a flavor that may influence what your child finds palatable later on. So, like the increasing demands for your own output and baby’s inner workings, the system that’s most at work this month is all about taking in nutrients and churning them into energy.
Month five—the center of your pregnancy timeline—is also associated with the center or source of your energy, the Spleen. This Spleen system can be thought of like the mitochondria in the cells that produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), or energy. Since food and nutrients are the source of energy, we can also equate the Spleen with the digestive system.
This month, your body is drawing on even more of your resources to support large growth spurts in baby. This is an important time to nourish yourself with easy-to-digest foods so that less of your resources are going to breaking down complex things and more are going to supporting the distribution of the nutrients to all of the places they need to go. When the Spleen gets taxed it gives out a little bit, and symptoms such as fatigue, swelling, hemorrhoids, gas, and bloating can occur. So even though you may have more energy overall, keep resting as much as possible. It’s the best remedy for keeping the Spleen strong and keeping you and baby energized.