So, you’re 40 weeks pregnant, close to or at your due date. The anticipation of your new arrival is hitting its climax, you’ve prepared as much as you can and now it’s just a waiting game. At this point your doctor or midwife is monitoring you and your baby on a weekly basis and will probably start the discussion of a possible induction (augmentation) of labour within 7-10 days from your due date. This elicits a little a of bit anxiety for a lot of new mom’s. So the question arises, what can be done to help you deliver naturally? The answer is acupuncture!
What happens to your body prior to labour?
During pregnancy your cervix is closed and elongated. As you approach labour, the cervix becomes thinner (effacement) as the cervix contracts, and prior to birth the cervix begins to open (dilate), beginning the process of labour, eventually opening to about 10 centemetres allowing the passage of the baby.
How can Acupuncture Help?
Acupuncture is a safe natural therapy that can help you and your baby progress naturally towards labour and delivery. The key concept and treatment philosophy is catered is promoting blood flow throughout the body as well as decreasing emotional anxieties, both of which help to descend the baby further into the pelvis and soften the cervix, both of which triggers uterine contractions.
New mom’s that have had acupuncture prior to labour experience a higher chance of delivering naturally, less anxieties surrounding labour and delivery and experience more consistent dilation during labour.
A study conducted by Harper TC and Others, published in The Journal of Maternal Fetal and Neonatal Medicine (2006) found “70% of women who received acupuncture went into labor on their own, compared to 50% who received standard care. The women who received acupuncture were also less likely to deliver by cesarean section — 39% compared to 17%.”
Expectation of Treatment
Treatment is given while you are comfortably resting on your side or in a seated position with lots of pillows. Needles are places on your legs, arms and shoulders and remain in for 20-30 minutes. During this time you will probably feel your baby kicking up a storm from the stimulation of the acupuncture. This is normal and a very good sign. After treatment, typical reactions will include more consistent uterine contractions and the gradual progression of the baby moving down.
Treatment success rates vary and some individuals require just one treatment while others may require several treatments. Treatments are generally spaced out 48 hours apart to observe progression.
Typical Acupuncture points include:
SP6, LI4, BL67, GB21
Acupuncture is a safe treatment during pregnancy and a recognized effective treatment in helping to promote labour. Next time you hear of a friend or family member that is close to or past their due date, think of acupuncture as a means to help.
Source: Inside Toronto: Tao of Wellness