Acupuncture & Labour Induction 101

by Jessica Vella, R.Ac, Dipl. ST

Acupuncture is a natural, gentle way to encourage the onset of labour! Traditional Chinese Medicine uses acupuncture needling to prepare and encourage a mother’s body towards a natural labour.

How it Works

Acupuncture stimulates the mother’s body to ready itself for labour. Needling will encourage the body to naturally release prostaglandins to soften and ripen the cervix for labour and oxytocin (‘the labour hormone’) to trigger contractions. Unlike induction with piticon, which is synthetic oxytocin, acupuncture encourages the body’s own natural process. It also circulates Qi and blood throughout the body with a special focus on the uterus and encourages downward movement.

As the process is natural and the body produces its own hormones, the mother and child will experience a gradual, less-traumatic onset of labour.

Acupuncture keeps a mother’s body open and strong so that when the baby is ready, it is easy to get labour going naturally and progress smoothly. Acupuncture needling will NOT cause labour before the baby is ready to be delivered.

The Stress of An Overdue Pregnancy

Acupuncture is able to decreases stress and promote relaxation which can be a significantly helpful method of treatment in the case of an overdue pregnancy or even in the prevention of such a pregnancy. Labour may be delayed or a baby may be considered overdue if a mother is highly stressed or has a high level of anxiety. Acupuncture helps the body to de-stress and calm anxiety so a normal delivery process can begin. Needling has also been shown to help manage the stress, discomfort and pain of labour. In some cases, it has been proven to reduce active labour time.

When to go for Treatment?

Pregnant woman can benefit from labour induction acupuncture with no prior acupuncture treatment. It is only recommended close to your due date. If full gestation has been reached, you will need only one to three treatments before labour occurs. Labour typically begins between six and twelve hours after a treatment. A mother who is post-date should typically receive treatments every day until labour begins.

No mother should feel pressured for unnecessary induction. It is encouraged to consult with a doctor or midwife before seeking induction assistance!

Final Thought

Acupuncture is a safe, effective, and natural solution to help in the process of you and your baby meeting one another for the first time!