Updated: Jun 20
Many women would like to avoid pharmacological or invasive methods in labor and this may contribute towards the popularity of complementary methods such as Pre-Birth Acupuncture, Acupressure, Reflexology and Massage. This blog will concentrate mainly on the benefits of acupuncture in Labor Preparation.
Numerous studies provide evidence for the effects of acupuncture in normalizing pregnancy and birth. These effects include preparation of the pelvis & cervix, oxytocin release (a useful hormone while in Labor) and pain relief properties.
(Kubista and Kucera 1974; Zeisler et al.1998; National Health Service UK maternity study 2014 to 2016 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31971456/) Research has pointed out that it is safe to receive acupuncture at any time during pregnancy to sustain your health naturally. It is important to know that acupuncture does not stimulate labor.
For the entire pregnancy, the energy of the body has been an upward energy to hold the baby (or babies) in and up. When the pregnant woman reaches her due date, her body needs to transition to a downward energy for the baby to be born. Acupuncture will accompany you in this process.
Pre-Birth Acupuncture for labor preparation will support the changes that are already happening naturally. Chinese medicine works on the principal that we are all unique and require an individualized treatment. The acupuncture therapy will assist customers in what their body needs such as to boost strength, promote sleep, reduce anxiety while others may need acupuncture to move stuck energy (known as “qi stagnation”).
Energy levels and Sleep
Giving birth is a huge task! Some ladies speak about birth like running a marathon. It helps to go into labor feeling strong and ready for endurance. Getting good quality sleep in the lead up is vital, as is making sure you have enough energy for the task ahead. Acupuncture may help to improve sleep. Improving sleep may help to improve your energy, which you’ll need for labor. After birth is over, you’ll need to draw upon more energy to feed and care for your little baby.
Anxiety, stress and tension can all work against those wonderful birthing hormones, particularly the oxytocin. When you’re birthing it’s important that you have lots of oxytocin and low levels of adrenaline. Acupuncture for birth preparation may help to regulate your nervous system and may help you feel calmer before the birth.
Hip/back alignment and optimal positioning of your baby, Cervical Ripening
The way your hips and back are aligned play a role in how comfortably your baby can move into the optimal position for birth. Also, once labor starts, your hips and back have a lot of work to do! Acupuncture for birth preparation may help to relax muscles and tendons.
Acupuncture supports cervical ripening and can shorten the time interval between the woman’s expected date of delivery and the actual delivery date. (controlled trial published by Rabl in 2001.)
Turning a Breech Baby Naturally
Acupuncture & Moxibustion has been proven to be effective in turning a breech baby into a head down ( cephalic ) position. ( you may refer to our blog page: https://www.2ndnatureacu.com/post/turning-a-breech-baby-naturally-with-acupuncture-moxibution)
Acupuncture for Labor Preparation, when to start?
Traditional Chinese Medicine advice pregnant women to prepare their bodies for labor starting with weekly treatments at 36 or 37 weeks then twice weekly once you reach your due date.
You could start earlier if there are known issues such as hypertension, insomnia, heartburn or posterior positioned babies.
If there’s a need for a medical induction, we begin treatment ideally a few weeks prior induction day, but practice showed that stimulating acupuncture treatments is also effective if given just few days prior due date. However, from experience, i can confidently say that starting weekly treatments at 36 or 37 weeks is a better way as it avoids last-minute anxiety.
The acupuncture for birth sessions are one hour. Many women tell us it’s a calming, soothing and deeply relaxing experience.
Pain Management during Labour
A Cochrane review of 13 trials involving 1986 women, reported that women receiving acupuncture reported benefits in terms of reduced pharmacological analgesia, less intense pain and increased maternal satisfaction.
The findings of a research suggest that the non-pharmacological method of pain relief measure like acupressure at point Li4 was effective in reducing labour pain in experimental group and it was found that pain was increasing as no acupressure intervention was done. https://europepmc.org/article/med/25643569.
A research to examine the effectiveness and efficacy of manual methods for pain management such as Massage & Reflexology reports: Massage, warm pack and thermal manual methods may have a role in reducing pain, reducing length of labour and improving women's sense of control and emotional experience of labour. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009290.pub3/abstract
Reflexology has shown to help induce labour and reduce pain during childbirth. In fact, more and more nurses are beginning to learn this specialized type of foot massage and are using it in delivery rooms around the world to ease their patients’ discomfort and reduce the length of labour. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7892334/#:~:text=Reflexology%20has%20shown%20to%20help,reduce%20the%20length%20of%20labour.
Ensuring that you are as balanced as can be in terms of your energy levels, sleep, emotions, alignment of your hips, preparation cervix & pelvis, position of your baby and bowel movement is important when you’re a few weeks away from your due delivery date.
The more balanced you are and the more you are producing good levels of oxytocin, the smoother and less painful your birth will be.
Acupuncture can help you during pregnancy, pre-labour and labour. Acupuncture done by an registered acupuncturist expert in Women's health and pregnancy is safe at ANY time during pregnancy to support your health naturally it does not induce delivery.
Don't wait till the last minute , prepare your body and mind throughout pregnancy to welcome your new baby.
How to choose an Acupuncturist
It is important to find a Trained and Experienced practitioner Acupuncturist. Diplomats of acupuncture have at least four years of academic training at the master’s level, must pass rigorous exams and meet state licensing and continuing education requirements.
Esther Hornstein is a New York State licensed acupuncturist and diplomat in acupuncture. with continuous professional update.
In her Therapeutic Holistic approach, she addresses Pediatric ailments, Men & Women’s health, Pain management and overall Wellness.
Her private practice is in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel. 2nd nature Healing Center, 34 Nachal Hakishon.
tel: 054 719 9600
To make an appointment you may:
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