Many women turn to yoga, breathing techniques, prenatal classes, and various exercises to help them prepare for labor. But few women know that acupuncture can actually help prepare your body for labor, and a bonus is that it’s deeply relaxing!
Acupuncture treatments help the baby move into the best possible position for birth (preventing breech presentation), assist the ripening of the cervix, and relax the tendons and muscles. It also helps to decrease stress by calming the sympathetic nervous system, less stress means more relaxed tendons and muscles and an easier labor. A recent study showed that women who used acupuncture regularly during their pregnancy had decreased time of “hard” labor.
It is best to receive weekly acupuncture treatments starting at 35 weeks gest.
Benefits of Acupuncture in Labor Preparation
- Ease Fears and Stress – Fear and stress can cause more tension in the body and increase pain sensations of labor. If you are tense leading up to or during labor, it’s more likely you’ll have a more difficult and painful labor.
- Quicker Labor – we can help prepare your cervix for ripening and help move your energy downward to assist in the delivery.
- Ease pain – Acupuncture can help reduce the pain, relax tendons & muscles, improve circulation to the pelvic floor muscles, as well as reduce stress.
There are a few acupuncture points on the human body that are ‘contraindicated’ for use during pregnancy because these points have been shown to induce labor. We avoid using these points during your pregnancy because it can cause the uterus to contract and possibly induce an early labor. While this is not wanted during pregnancy, these points can be used when labor is delayed. In this case, we use many of the contraindicated acupuncture points to help jumpstart labor. Many women will go into labor 12-48 hours after receiving a labor induction acupuncture treatment.