I’m so excited to share with you that I’m an aunt! Cecilia June was born on July 14, 2018 to my brother and sister-in-law. Cecilia arrived a healthy baby at 7lbs 2oz, and was 19 inches. I’m also honored to share that my skills as an Acupuncturist aided in the labor process. In this post, I’ll share why and how Acupuncture can help with labor. Before we dive in, here’s a picture of my niece!
The thought of receiving acupuncture close to your delivery date may raise concern and even eyebrows. If this is the case, read my post Get to Know the Acupuncture Needle.
For those concerned about acupuncture harming or disrupting the baby, I can assure that a skilled practitioner has the expertise to keep the mother and baby safe. In addition to being a safe, acupuncture is also a natural, and relaxing approach to labor induction.
When a mother is 38 – 39 weeks, she can begin receiving treatments for labor induction as well as:
- Anxiety or general restless
- Disrupted or lack of sleep
- General weakness
- Tight muscles, aches and pains
- Restless baby
When a mother is near the end of her pregnancy, calming the mind, relaxing the body, and nourishing the baby are essential to child birth. In my sister-in-law’s case, she received three treatments over the course of two weeks before delivery. Here is a closer look at those last 14 days of her pregnancy.
My sister-in-law came into my care when she was 39 weeks pregnant. At that time, she described herself as feeling tired and a little anxious. She also mentioned that she didn’t feel like the baby was descending into the pelvic floor.
For her first acupuncture treatment, points were chosen to reduce her fatigue by strengthening her internal body. Additional points were also added to reduce her anxiety. Lastly, acupuncture was also used to encourage the baby to move downward.
These actions were carried out by accessing certain points along the body, which stimulate the energy or Chi (Qi) within corresponding acupuncture channels. A handful of the points I used are listed below.
- Pericardium 6
- Spleen 6
- Kidney 3
- Gallbladder 21
Click here for more information about each acupuncture points location and indication.
After her first treatment, I encouraged my sister-in-law to stimulate the acupuncture points listed above by way of acupressure. When acupuncture points are massaged, it will activate the point actions and continue treatment. The acupuncture points can be stimulated by:
- Regular massage and tapping on instructed acupuncture points
- Taking long walks
- Sitting on a large ball to open the hips
Upon completion of her first treatment, my sister-in-law felt less anxious. Two days after the first treatment, she felt the baby descend further into the pelvic floor.
My sister-in-law was 40 weeks pregnant during her second acupuncture treatment. She felt slightly less tired and anxious. She was also one day past her due date. Her scheduled induction date was in nine days away.
At the start of the second session, my sister-in-law expressed concern about not wanting to be induced by western medicine. She wanted to avoid induction because research confirms it can be a painful process and may not decrease labor time. My sister-in-law also wanted to labor at home and avoid the epidural.
Here’s a bit about western medical induction. Western medical hospital use the pharmaceutical pitocin to stimulate uterine contractions. This stimulation increases contraction time, while also making contractions stronger. This imposed stimulation can often be painful and may prolong labor.
In my opinion, simply because the uterus is being stimulated doesn’t mean a woman’s body nor the baby is prepared for delivery. Pitocin is often a method of forcing the woman’s body and the baby into labor. Acupuncture supports the mother and encourages the natural progression of child birth.
It’s important to remember that the baby is going to come when the baby wants to come.
Back to my sister-in-law’s course of treatment…
Her second treatment following a similar course of action to her first treatment. We needed to strengthen her body, continue to descend the baby, and reduce anxiety. In this treatment, I also felt the need to open the acupuncture channels along her hips and sacrum. This opening will make more room for the baby to descend, while also opening her pelvic floor for delivery. The acupuncture points chosen for her second treatment are listed below:
- Pericardium 6
- Spleen 6
- Stomach 36
- Kidney 3
- Gallbladder 21
- Large Intestine 4
- Bladder 31
- Bladder 32
Similarly to her first treatment, after her second treatment, my sister-in-law felt the baby descend further. She also described her hips and pelvic floor feeling more spacious.
Her third treatment following the same course of action as her second treatment. It’s safe to say that we need not change what was working.
About 72 hours after our third treatment, my sister-in-law went into labor. Her daughter, Cecelia June was born five days after her due date and five days before her schedule induction date. Both mother and daughter are healthy.
Acupuncture encourages the natural progression of child birth. It supports the mother, decreases stress, and relaxes the body. This method of induction works with what we have, an energy system with our body that can be directed.
Every labor induction with acupuncture is different. We all are different. My sister-in-law’s case and course of treatment is one example. In the end, each mother and child has their our own journey. It is their choice to choose what is feels right for the mother and the baby.
To book your prenatal appointment, click here or call 216-228-3000 to schedule.
Home visits are available for mothers who are on bed rest or in extreme discomfort. For more information on at home treatments, please call 216-228-3000 or write me at Malerie@SourceMedicinalArts.com.
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.