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.
A full-term pregnancy lasts 37-42 weeks. Preterm labor occurs when contractions begin to open your cervix before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Acupuncture can reduce uterine contractions and help decrease the chances of preterm labour.
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 the need for more medical intervention. As with any form of induction, acupuncture inductions should not be performed unless there is medical evidence to suggest one is needed.
After the baby is born, the shift is understandably moved to the baby. Proper care and attention however, still need to be placed on the tremendous shift that happens after birth to the physical body, the mind, the hormones and the emotional health. The more care that is taken in the first few months postpartum, the stronger, healthier and quicker the recovery. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have a long history of supporting this recovery.
- Weekly acupuncture treatments to support the health establishment of the pregnancy, reduce chances of miscarriage and to alleviate symptoms like nausea, cramping and anxiety.
- Review supplements, diet, activities and lifestyle to support a healthy pregnancy.
- Acupuncture treatments every 4-6 weeks or more frequently if needed, to address any symptoms or discomforts that may arise (like body pain, heartburn, fatigue, insomnia, mental/emotional health etc.)
- Check with your primary care provider to find out the position of the baby. If the baby is not head down at this time (also known as breech presentation), 33-35 weeks is the ideal time to learn how to do moxibustion for breech, along with acupuncture treatments to turn the baby. These treatments may still be done past 36 weeks, but the best turn rates are between 33-36 weeks.
- Review diet, supplements and lifestyle for a healthy birth and an optimal postpartum recovery.
- Starting at 37 weeks, weekly birth preparation acupuncture treatments help prepare the body and mind while softening and thining the cervix in preparation for birth.
- If you are over 40 years of age or have a medical condition which indicates that you should be induced before 40 weeks, you may start the birth preparation acupuncture sooner that 37 weeks.
1-4 days prior to a medical induction
- Induction treatments to help initiate labour may be done between 1-4 days prior to a medical induction. If a medical induction is not necessary, an acupuncture induction is also not necessary, and birth preparation acupuncture should be done instead.