Labour Induction Acupuncture

As you approach your due date, labour induction acupuncture can encourage proper positioning of the baby as they descend into the birth canal, and provides a gentle alternative to western pharmaceutical drugs such as Pitocin to induce labour.

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 for the passage of the baby.

How can Labour Induction 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 to promoting blood flow throughout the body, decreasing emotional anxieties and triggering uterine contractions which help soften the cervix and help the baby to descend further into the pelvis.

New moms that have had acupuncture prior to labour experience a higher chance of delivering naturally, less anxiety 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 caesarean 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 placed in specific acupuncture points 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. After treatment, typical responses will include more consistent uterine contractions and the gradual progression of the baby moving down.

Treatment responses differ among individuals, and some individuals require just one treatment while others may require several treatments. Treatments are generally spaced out 48 hours apart to observe progression.

Labour Induction Acupuncture is especially helpful for treating:

  • Delayed labour
  • Cervical ripening
  • Prolonged labour
  • Labour induction

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-fine needles just below the surface of the skin that stimulate specific points along energy channels in the body in order to achieve balance. Acupuncture has been scientifically proven to release pain-reducing endorphins; affect pain perception and mood; and improve circulation and immune function.

Is Induction Acupuncture Safe For Me And The Baby?
Acupuncture has been used for over 2000 years and has been successful in treating pregnancy and labour concerns. It is safe and

poses no harm to you or the baby. It is a natural means of nudging the body towards the progression of labour.

Is Induction Acupuncture Suitable For Someone Who Has Had A Previous Caesarean?
Yes, it is possible to deliver VBAC, and yes acupuncture can be a important factor that helps you achieve it.
Acupuncture is usually recommended 4-6 weeks before your expected due date to prepare the body for labour, while the labour induction acupuncture will be begin between 39 and 40 weeks of your pregnancy.

How Quickly Will The Induction Work?
It varies for each individual. For some it takes just one session and they go into labour within 24 hours.  Others, may need 3 session spaced 48 hours apart. Acupuncture is a means of naturally encouraging labour and some are more receptive to treatment than others.

When Should I Start Having Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is recommended when you reach 36 weeks. This treatment is catered to help your body prepare for labour. At this time, however, treatments for induction are not introduced. Rather, we begin by helping address and resolve any pregnancy related symptoms, such as pelvic pain, back pain and swelling in the legs. Treatments prior to the 39 week mark help the baby descend into the pelvis, and to ripen (shorten/soften) the cervix.
If you are 40 weeks pregnant then we would begin acupuncture treatments that encourage your body towards labour. This treatment helps by promoting blood circulation, allowing for more consistent uterine contractions and encouraging the baby to descend and engage in the pelvis.

How Often Do I Need To Have Treatment?
Prior to 40 weeks we recommend treatment once a week.
If you are at, or past your due date we recommend treatment every 48 hours until labour begins. Some patients require 1 treatment and others may require 3 or 4.

What Should I Do After A Treatment?
Each patient is unique and will be given specific instructions based on individual health history. Some may be asked to rest while others asked to remain active. Please take the advice of your health care team,

Can Acupuncture Help Me After The Birth Of My Baby And If So, How?
Acupuncture can be very helpful after birth, helping to treat post partum depression, difficulties with lactation, decreasing exhaustion as well as speeding up recovery and healing.


Get in touch


Yonge Eglinton Medical Centre
2401 Yonge St, Suite 205
Toronto, ON M4P 3H1