State of Grace

ACUPUNCTURE * CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE * STRUCTURAL INTEGRATION

State of Grace

Pre-Birth Acupuncture

‘Hi Tyler, I just came back from hospital today with a little boy. The labour was much much easier than with my daughter. This time I had contractions, which started on Wednesday… I believe that your treatment has helped my body to well prepare for the labour. Many thanks for your help and if I need, I will come back to see you again!’
K.R. Kew, Surrey. Pre-birth Acupuncture & Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction

Preparing for Labour: Increasing your chances for a natural birth

dreamstime_5748825If a natural birth is important to you, consider Pre-birth acupuncture to increase your chances of having the birthing experience that you want.

From week 36 in your pregnancy, the baby is fully formed. The final weeks prepare the body for labour. Pre-birth acupuncture refers to a series of treatments in the these weeks to optimise this preparation for childbirth and help build the mother’s energy reserves for the post-natal recovery.

Treatments start at week 36-37, and are then carried out weekly to week 39-40 prior to the expected date of delivery. They work together as a 4 week protocol to promote a natural birth. Treatment is gentle and relaxing and provides a wonderful preparation for the birth experience. This can also be the perfect time for teaching labour partners acupressure and massage techniques to use in childbirth.

Benefits of Pre-Birth Acupuncture

The acupuncture points used soften and stretch the pelvic ligaments prior to labour, soften and ripen the cervix, boost energy reserves and blood and help to get the baby into the optimal foetal position which can reduce the duration of childbirth and labour pain.

Clinical research and observation by acupuncturists and midwives has shown that these treatments are able to:

  • Reduce the average length of time in labour, especially for women having their 1st baby.
  • Increase the chances of women experiencing a natural efficient labour.
  • Reduce the rate of medical intervention required in labour (induction, epidurals and caesarean section).
  • Increase normal vaginal delivery rate.
  • Encourage women to go into labour near to their due date.
  • Increase the response to medical or acupuncture induction if it needs to be used.
  • Decrease the likelihood of babies presenting in a posterior position, thereby increasing the possibility of an efficient labour.

Research by midwives in New Zealand shows that pre-birth acupuncture reduced the number of inductions, epidurals and casearean sections. It also reduced the duration of labour by approximately 2 hours. The study showed that overall the treatment resulted in a:

Mean labour time of 9 hours with 59% of women in 1st labour delivering within 10 hours
Mean labour time of 4.7 hours for women having their 2nd birth or more, with 60.5% delivering within 5 hours
35% reduction in inductions (43% for women having their 1st birth)
31% reduction in epidural anesthesia
32% reduction in caesarean deliveries
9% increase in normal vaginal birth

(see more at http://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz/Research-prebirth.aspx)

The treatments are tailored to help ease any issues that often present in late pregnancy:

  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Sinus congestion
  • Varicose veins
  • Leg cramps
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Back pain
  • Heartburn
  • Bleeding gums
  • Symphysis pubis dysfunction and pelvic pain
  • Swelling of hands and feet
  • Tiredness, lethargy or fatigue
  • Leucorrhoea
  • Frequent urination

Acupuncture induction can be discussed any time after your due date.

(a) Kubista E, Kucera H. (1974). ‘On the use of acupuncture in the preparation for delivery’ Geburtshilfe perinatol; 178(3):224-9
Betts D Lenox S (2006) Acupuncture for Prebirth Treatment: An Observational Study of its use in Midwifery practise. Medical Acupuncture. Vo 17 No3