Labour Preparation & Natural Induction
Acupuncture can play an important role in preparing you for birth. Research suggests that regular treatment in your final weeks can reduce the duration of your labour (Debra Betts, 2011). If you’re overdue, acupuncture & acupressure can be used to support induction and pain relief in clinic and at home.
Midwife led research in New Zealand suggests that regular weekly acupuncture from 36 weeks can increase the chances of a spontaneous and natural, efficient labour. The treatment prepares the cervix and pelvis for labour resulting in a shorter active labour and lower intervention rates.
Research suggests that Acupuncture can be beneficial in supporting natural induction and is regarded as safe, in a ‘normal’ pregnancy post 38 weeks. At this stage treatment works to encourage the cervix to dilate.
The physiological conditions that lie behind labour commencing are complex and whilst acupuncture can be helpful in stimulating contractions it does not guarantee that labour will progress efficiently. It’s worth noting, there are no guarantees, as with any other medical intervention or therapy.
You can have treatment as often as daily and it will be tailored to your individual circumstances for example, your cervix hasn’t ripened or your contractions have stopped.
Acupuncture & Acupressure Prior To A Medical Induction
If you have been advised by your midwife that you need to be medically induced the use of acupressure can begin three days prior. The aim of the acupressure is to help establish contractions and promote cervical dilation. Even if labour does not commence spontaneously, feedback from midwives suggest that a woman’s cervix is more favourable following acupressure and that there is an increased chance of a woman progressing through the induction with minimal intervention.
Pain relief during labour
Studies suggest acupuncture and acupressure may help to relieve pain during labour and that it was better than conventional analgesia.
Jo is happy to teach Acupressure techniques to couples at a joint session on request. Debra Betts, world leading obstetric Acupuncturist and midwife has created a free booklet to teach you location and when to use specific points which is available to download here. You can also buy an app to support you during labour.