Acupuncture for Labour Induction
Acupuncture is one of the most respected and effective of all the different types of alternative or complementary medicine. As far as western medicine is concerned, it is still seen as the new kid on the block although acupuncture has been in use for more than 2,000 years. There are records, for example, of the use of acupuncture for labour induction, during the Jin Dynasty in China, 1,800 years ago.
As a means to induce labour, acupuncture is used throughout the world and is seen as a tried and tested method for labour induction. A medical induction involves many interventions in order to artificially stimulate contractions and progress a labour. The membranes are usually ‘swept’ first before breaking them and applying prostaglandin gel to the cervix. Syntoxin, which is a synthetically made type of oxytocin, is then given via IV. Acupuncture for labour induction is a significantly more natural means of encouraging labour. The mother will be more relaxed and the baby will be less stressed.
The benefits of acupuncture to induce labour
Most pregnant women would rather avoid drugs if possible during pregnancy and in labour even more so. Many of the drugs used in labour can cross the placenta, causing symptoms of drowsiness in the newborn baby. So if something like acupuncture is available which has no side effects, this has to be a good thing.
Acupuncture as a method of inducing a birth has a success rate of between 68 and 83% (Tsuei 1974). It’s been shown too that acupuncture can not only start labour but it can also get the cervix and uterus ready and decrease the pain from the contractions. Surprisingly too, acupuncture can shorten the labour and lessen the chances of the pregnant woman needing medical intervention. Women who have used acupuncture for labour induction also claim that they have recovered faster from the birth. Of course, we mustn’t forget that acupuncture and relaxation go very much together and the two in combination can stimulate the ‘labour hormones’ naturally.
Acupuncture is even suitable for a woman who has previously had a Caesarean.
When is best to start an acupuncture labour?
Many mothers-to-be who consider acupuncture ask when the optimal time to induce their labour is. An acupuncturist will generally work with your midwife and start helping your body to prepare itself from around the 36-week mark. At this point, the main aim is to get the baby in a good position and clear any blockages. The true induction techniques are normally at 38 to 39 weeks. However, if a medical induction is needed or if there are any specific issues or problems then an induction acupuncture will usually be scheduled to start one to two weeks beforehand.
Is acupuncture safe to induce labour?
In brief, yes! Acupuncture is perfectly safe to use and is recognised by WHO as a safe form of alternative medicine to use during pregnancy and for many other conditions.
You should find a therapist who is qualified and certified, like the experts at the London Acupuncture Clinic, with experience of acupuncture for labour induction. For more information, please get in touch.