Also called ‘pre birth acupuncture’, cervical ripening is performed weekly from 37 weeks until the birth. Cervical ripening helps prepare the body for labour and in studies has been shown to:
- Encourage optimal positioning of the baby for birth, by turning unfavorable or posterior presentation
- Decrease the need for medical inductions (such as oxytocin)
- Reduce cesarean rates
- Reduce need for pain medication and/or epidurals
- Decrease labor times, especially in first time mothers
- Improve overall birth experience by addressing anxiety and supporting emotional and physical well being leading up to the birth.
Acupuncture inductions are used to stimulate or induce labour contractions and are generally performed 1-4 days prior to a medical induction. In many cases, an acupuncture induction can prevent t
he need for more medical intervention.
A full-term pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. Preterm labor occurs when contractions begin to open your cervix before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Acupuncture is very effective to reduce uterine contractions and prevent preterm labour.
General Pain Management
While in labour you will experience new sensations, some women refer to these sensations as pressure, tightenings, waves, or contractions. It is an unfamiliar experience and to some women, it can be overwhelming. The use of acupuncture throughout the entire birth is an effective way to manage the discomfort you may feel. It can also be used at certain points during the process when your coping strategies are not working.
Whether you are prone to anxiety or are experiencing it for the first time during labour, acupuncture is a great tool to help calm and relax you. It reduces your fight or flight response, increases endorphins, and calms your mind, leading to a more peaceful birth experience.
Whether leading up to your birth, you have experienced a few sleepless nights or the birth itself has turned out to be a longer journey than expected, fatigue and exhaustion can take hold. If our energy stores are low, its hard to cope with your birth sensations and it may affect the quality and strength of the contractions. Acupuncture is very helpful to restore your energy, giving you a renewed sense of strength.
Many women note pressure or discomfort in their back during labour. This is amplified if your baby is not in an ideal position. This discomfort can be distracting and exhausting. If it is severe it may cause nausea. Acupuncture is a strong tool to alleviate your pain.
Malposition of Baby
If your baby has found a comfortable spot in the posterior position (aka. spine to spine), it can cause discomfort and slow the birth process. Acupuncture is an extremely effective tool to create the optimal environment for the baby to turn to the ideal position.
Inefficient and/or Irregular Contractions
In order for the birth to progress you need to have strong and regular contractions. If you have been experiencing prodromal labour, or the rhythm of contractions have slowed or weakened, acupuncture is an effective, yet gentle way to stimualte the body to have effective contractions.