According to the theories of Chinese medicine, the woman’s body right before birth presents an optimal time to balance hormone levels, strengthen the organ systems and make sure her and her baby’s bodies are in harmony. Acupuncture treatments leading up to birth have proven to increase the likelihood of delivering on the due date, reduce the time of labor and substantially reduce the need for interventions and caesarean sections. Certain points are known to help the cervix soften and dilate and others aid in helping the ligaments relax and loosen for the easy passage of the baby. Women who receive pre-birth acupuncture and do not go into labor spontaneously usually respond very well and quickly to induction either by acupuncture or medication.
Debra Betts of the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Wellington, New Zealand has written extensively about acupuncture pre-birth. One such writing can be found at:
Another source of information can be found in a journal article at the following title and address:
Acupuncture use for pre-birth treatment. A literature review and audit-based research.
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2005 May;11(2):121-6.
How many treatments will I need?
In my experience working with pregnant women and then as their doula during labor and delivery, I recommend that women begin to come in for acupuncture treatments periodically throughout the third trimester. The time for the treatments gives the woman a chance to lie quietly and connect with her baby, preparing for the birth. Regular acupuncture through early third trimester can help convince the baby to take a head-down position and avoid the scare of being breech. Starting week 36 I have women come in once a week and we work to get her body ready for the labor process. The acupuncture is gentle and the experience is deeply relaxing for the mom-to-be.