Home Common Conditions Pregnancy / Labor Acupuncture for Labor Induction

Labor Induction

Acupuncture is very effective for pre-birth preparation and labor induction. In the weeks leading up to the due date, acupuncture and massage is used to help prepare the uterus, pelvis and cervix for birth, as well as giving the mind and body a deep sense of calm and relaxation, which will aid in the upcoming labor.

Reduce Chances of a Medical Induction and Minimize Complications

Using acupuncture and massage for labor induction reduces the rate of medical induction, decreases labor time, decreases amount of medication used, minimizes complications, and aids in a smooth delivery with added peace of mind. Many studies show there are no adverse effects, and virtually no side-effects when using acupuncture for labor induction, and it is a safe, natural and viable alternative to medical induction.

Labor Induction and Your Body

Acupuncture keeps a mother’s body prepared, so that when the baby is ready, it is easy to get labor going naturally and progressing smoothly. Acupuncture helps a woman experience a more natural, efficient labor. Often times a woman may only need one or two acupuncture treatments before they go into active labor, but some women may need up to five treatments. This all depends on how many weeks pregnant, as well as past medical history. Pre-birth (pre-natal) preparation with acupuncture and massage may begin as early as 34 weeks. Labor induction is coordinated with the mother’s physician and mother and usually occurs no earlier than 39 weeks. Acupuncture can also help with post-term babies; it will induce labor efficiently and effectively, as well as reduce the stress, anxiety, and discomfort of an overdue baby.

Acupuncture will not cause labor before the baby is ready to be delivered. Acupuncture works on the mother’s body, not the fetus; so acupuncture merely prepares the mother’s body to be as ready and supported as possible for when the baby is ready to trigger the labor process. Labor will not occur if the mother or child’s body is not prepared. Evidence shows that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system which causes biochemical changes influencing the body, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect certain areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress. In the last few weeks and days of pregnancy, this will alleviate pain, anxiety, and elevate mood by increasing endorphins, stimulating nerves and muscle fibers for deep relaxation, and reducing any inflammation. Acupuncture also increases placental estrogens and prostaglandin levels which initiate labor, and relaxin, a hormone that relaxes the muscles of the cervix to allow for dilation.

How Acupuncture Induces Labor

Acupuncture is a natural, gentle way to encourage the onset of labor. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses acupuncture to prepare and encourage a mother’s body towards a natural labor. While it is ideal for a mother to have received acupuncture treatment throughout her pregnancy, a pregnant woman can benefit from labor preparation acupuncture with no prior treatment history.

Acupuncture encourages the body to naturally release prostaglandins to aid in cervical dilation and oxytocin to trigger uterine contractions. Because acupuncture aids the mother’s body to produces its own hormones, the mother and baby will experience a natural, less-traumatic onset of labor.

Acupuncture needles are gently placed along the spleen channel as well as other labor inducing points. These acupuncture points have a strong action of promoting labor and have been used for thousands of years in labor induction. Often, electro stimulation will be placed on specific points along the spleen channel. This encourages cervical dilation and uterine contractions. As the patient is lying with her head elevated very comfortably on the table and legs propped with pillows, there is virtually no discomfort during the treatment. This very specialized treatment, which can last approximately 35 to 45 minutes, also induces a deep relaxation for the mother to be.

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