• Ava Thu Nguyen

Acupuncture for Labour Preparation


Acupuncture for labour preparation is becoming an increasingly popular consideration among women in the last trimester of the their pregnancies. In our Jindalee acupuncture clinic we see women from all stages of pregnancy, but the end stage support is especially appreciated by many of our clients! It is so much more than just trying to trigger contractions or induction acupuncture. In the acupuncture world, this "phase" of treatments is termed 'pre-birth' acupuncture and refers to treatments from 36 weeks to the end of term with the goal of getting the body as prepared as possible for labour and post labour.



Why should I consider acupuncture for labour preparation?


Labour time

In clinical practice acupuncture is an ideal method to help women prepare themselves to have the most efficient labour possible (Betts, 2004). From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, there is an emphasis on preparing the cervix and pelvis for labour. It has been reported (by midwives) that pre-birth acupuncture may offer a range of positive effects including a reduction in labour time and reduction in medical intervention required (Betts, 2004).


Management of discomforts

Also, as most women who have been pregnant know, it rarely comes symptom free, with many presenting with heartburn, constipation, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, leg cramps, bleeding gums, nasal congestion, nose bleeds, backaches, sciatic nerve pain, swelling of the hands and feet, increased anxiety and tiredness, and difficultly sleeping (Betts, 2004). Acupuncture may be a suitable non-pharmacological option to manage these symptoms alongside recommendations by your gynaecologist and midwives.


When should I start acupuncture for labour preparation?


Acupuncture once a week for three weeks prior to a women's due date is an accepted practice in German hospitals where acupuncture is practiced (Betts, 2004). At Lang Acupuncture we suggest women start booking in from 36 weeks, for weekly treatments up until they are due.



What to expect?


The end stage of pregnancy can be a stressful period for many. At Lang Acupuncture, we pride ourselves in creating a calming environment for you to shut off and relax. This is an important consideration from a Chinese medicine perspective as stress can cause our muscles to feel tense. This is more noticeable in the neck and shoulders, but through the TCM channel networks of the body can also have a flow on effect to the muscles of the cervix and uterus. Therefore, a key focus in your acupuncture appointments at our Jindalee acupuncture clinic is to help your body regulate stress (or what we would describe as qi stagnation in Chinese Medicine).


Acupuncture points are located on the back, around the feet, ankles, lower legs, and hands, and you will be seated comfortably in order to foster a relaxing treatment for you and your baby.



Is there research for Acupuncture for labour preparation?


A small observational study including 169 women conducted by a Women's Health acupuncurist and midwife, found that women who received pre-birth acupuncture had a 35% overall reduction in the number of induced labours and a 32% reduction in epidural rate (Betts & Lennox, 2006). For first time mothers this overall reduction in the number of induced labours was 43%. This reduction occurred regardless of whether the caregiver was a midwife, GP or specialist (Betts & Lennox, 2006). In women who only received midwifery support combined with pre-birth acupuncture, there was a 32% reduction in emergency caesarean delivery and 9% increased in normal vaginal births (Betts & Lennox, 2006).


***Further research with better study designs would be need to further reinforce this.




Lang Acupuncture and Holistic Health - Book an Appointment


Lang Acupuncture and Holistic Health is a Jindalee acupuncture clinic located in the Centenary suburbs of Brisbane. We have clients that come from all over Brisbane, including Kenmore, Indooroopilly, Graceville, Sherwood, Oxley, Mount Ommaney, Ipswich, Annerley, Chapel Hill, Jamboree Heights, Sinnamon Park etc.





References


Betts D & Lennox S. (2006). Acupuncture for prebirth treatment: An observational study of its use in midwifery practice. Medical Acupuncture, 17(3): 17-20. Retrieved via https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284625163_Acupuncture_For_Prebirth_Treatment_An_Observational_Study_Of_Its_Use_In_Midwifery_Practice


Betts, D. (2004), The use of Acupuncture as a Routine Pre-birth Treatment, Journal of Chinese Medicine, 76, 5-8. Retrived via http://www.quanyinclinic.com/yahoo_site_admin1/assets/docs/Acupuncture_PreBirth.57224222.pdf