Acupuncture for Labour Induction:
What You Need to Know About Acupuncture for Labour Induction – the Natural Way
Have you ever considered acupuncture for labour inductions? In clinic, I see a lot of women who come in for acupuncture to induce labour. Sometimes these inductions are medically necessary. Others come in under growing pressure from care providers because they have passed their estimated due date. Sometimes women are facing exclusion from their chosen place of birth if they go over 42 weeks. Acupuncture offers these women a chance to birth in their chosen location. It also helps to avoid a medical induction and the cascade of interventions that can accompany that procedure.
Acupuncture inductions are safe and reasonably effective. Inductions work with your own hormonal cascade. They enhance the process rather than overriding it.
What is Acupuncture for Labour Induction?
So what is acupuncture for labour induction? During a labour induction treatment we use specific acupuncture points. These points are designed to stimulate uterine contractions, ripen the cervix and encourage the baby to descend. It is a strong treatment using points that are otherwise forbidden during pregnancy, and usually strong stimulation is applied to really get things moving. This process can naturally take time depending on the readiness of both mother and baby. If a baby is mature, acupuncture will assist in promoting labour; if the baby is not ready, then induction will be more difficult to achieve.
My experience is that acupuncture is very effective in inducing women who are past their estimated due date. This is especially true if they can allow adequate time before any medical induction is scheduled. I find that women will often progress into labour after their first treatment, but more commonly after 2, and occasionally even 3, treatments. These treatments are scheduled close together, as the effect is cumulative. So it is best to leave yourself 4 to 5 days before your medical induction or exclusion from chosen place of birth to ensure they have a chance to work.
To really enhance the efficacy of your treatment and reduce the time it can take for labour to commence, I recommend combining your acupuncture with a few activities to stimulate oxytocin and prostaglandin release. If the amniotic sac is still in tact then sex if fantastic for stimulating the flow of oxytocin, reducing cortisol, and orgasm can also stimulate uterine contractions, while semen may help cervical ripening. Loving touch and cuddles can help the flow of oxytocin. Getting your partner to give you a clary sage message will incorporate loving touch and clary sage essential oil to encourage those birthy hormones – 2 birds with 1 stone!
Nipple stimulation will also aid the process, and is effective for promoting the induction of labour where the cervix is ripe, which is probably why it works so effectively in conjunction with acupuncture. Going for a brisk walk, walking stairs, dancing or rocking on a fit ball. Pressing acupressure points enhance the process. I usually teach women how to use these during a treatment.
While labour inductions can be necessary for some situations, I would suggest considering pre birth acupuncture. Pre-birth acupuncture is a gentler. For those that have the time and want to prepare for birth, this is a great alternative. This is a nourishing treatment that is beneficial for all women in late pregnancy, especially first time mums, and those who have had babies and tend to have longer pregnancies (you can’t rush perfection!). Pre birth acupuncture helps to prepare and ripen the cervix and encourage the natural hormonal cascade, and promotes an efficient labour without encouraging contractions to commence. It also has a calming and relaxing effect, and can assist in optimal positioning. Women who have pre birth acupuncture are less likely to require an induction, tend to have more efficient births evidenced by the fact their labours are a little shorter with less interventions .
Then, if you do still require an induction, they tend to work fast. (I usually do these for free for women who have had a course of pre birth acupuncture). Treatment for pre birth acupuncture commences at 36 weeks (it can be a week or 2 earlier in some instances, like GD, if required) and involves one treatment per week for about 4 weeks. I offer a package for pre birth treatment which includes 4 x 45 min treatments for $200 and includes any additional induction treatments required.
Supporting Documentation: Acupuncture for Labour Induction
If you need to get your birth on, take a look at these resources. If you would like to prepare your body and mind for the journey of birth, acupuncture can help. It can provide you with a safe, effective and more natural approach to inducing or preparing for labour.
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