As you are getting closer and closer to your due date, you are probably making all of the preparations you need to welcome your little one into the world, from decorating your baby’s room, to selecting a place to birth your baby. But, have you considered preparing your body and internal environment for your baby’s birth?
Pre-birth acupuncture can do just that. It has been well researched in pregnancy, and is a safe and effective way to prepare your body for, and positively influence the birth and arrival of your baby.
What is Pre-Birth Acupuncture?
Pre-birth acupuncture refers to a series of acupuncture treatments from weeks 36-37 onwards to prepare the mother and baby for childbirth. It can help ripen the cervix, position the baby in the most optimal presentation, promote optimal energy and stamina, calm the mind and any anxieties, and increase the odds of having a positive birth experience.
What are the benefits?
An observational study has found that pre-birth acupuncture resulted in the following:
- 35% reduction in medical inductions (43% reduction for women having their first baby)
- 31% reduction in epidurals
- 32% reduction in emergency caesarean delivery
- 9% increase in normal, uncomplicated vaginal births.
In addition, pre-birth acupuncture may be helpful in:
- decreasing the length of time women spend in labour
- reducing in the need for medical interventions
- reducing fears and anxieties surrounding the birth
- supporting optimal positioning of the baby
- increasing blood flow to the pelvic organs in order to maximize oxygen, blood, and nutrient delivery
- encouraging a post-date pregnancy to move forward
- treating late pregnancy symptoms such as: heartburn, leg cramps, back pain, insomnia, swollen hands and feet, and fatigue.
What to expect?
Pre-birth acupuncture treatment involves a series of weekly treatments starting at 36-37 weeks gestation. The points used help prepare the mother’s uterus, pelvis and cervix for childbirth, as well as bring a sense of calmness and relaxation. Additional points are often added based on concerns the mother might have and the history of the pregnancy. Most points will be on the arms and legs and never on the belly during pregnancy.
After the initial assessment of 60-90mins, each acupuncture treatment takes approximately 45mins and will take place in a quiet and relaxing treatment room.
Can it still be beneficial if I have a planned C-section?
Definitely! All women anticipating birth, whether vaginal or via c-section may benefit from acupuncture because it is beneficial to prepare your body for the arrival of your little one and ease your anxieties. In addition, it can be helpful to decrease some of the common symptoms women experience in their third trimester.
Betts D., Lennox S. “Acupuncture for prebirth treatment: An observational study of its use in midwifery practice” Journal of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. (2006); 17 (3): 16-19.
Citkovitz C; Klimenko E; Bolyai M; Applewhite L; Julliard K; Weiner Z. Effects of acupuncture during labor and delivery in a U.S. hospital setting: a case-control pilot study. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 2009 May; 15 (5): 501-5.
Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P. Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a randomised controlled trail. Wien Klin Wochenschr 2001; 113 (23-24): 942-6.