Preparing Your Body For Labor With Acupuncture

Labor is a mysterious, intense, and beautiful process. There isn’t actually a lot of concrete information about what causes labor to start, but research has shown that once the baby is ready for life outside the womb they release a protein that stimulates the hormonal cascade in the mother that leads to labor. So there’s a lot of truth in the adage that the baby comes when they’re ready! Though it does seem to be the baby’s decision when labor starts, there’s a lot you can do to prepare your body for the big event. Acupuncture can help ready the body for labor by ripening the cervix, encouraging ideal fetal position, increasing energy, and calming the mind.

Ideally, you’ve been getting regular treatments throughout your pregnancy. If that hasn’t been possible for you, starting acupuncture by 36 weeks is still a wonderful way to prepare your body for the big event. Once you’ve made it to the end of the third trimester of pregnancy, you’re likely ready to meet your little one. You may also be hesitant about being medically induced for a variety of reasons. Many doctors don’t want their patients to go past the 41 week mark, as amniotic fluid may decrease in these later weeks and lead to complications. If you’re looking to avoid medical induction, acupuncture treatments can help your body begin labor spontaneously.

During acupuncture treatments we’ll use time tested points to relax the uterus, dilate the cervix, and build the Qi and Blood, as well as address specific symptoms like indigestion, anxiety, or heartburn that have been coming up for you specifically. Labors in people who have been getting regular treatments have been shown to be shorter, less painful, and required fewer interventions.

Having a breech (feet down) position baby can be one of the first known factors contributing to a difficult labor. For labor to occur most smoothly, the ideal position for your baby is head down and facing backwards. If you’ve been told your baby is in the breech position, your provider may suggest a C-section. If this is something you’re wanting to avoid, acupuncture and moxibustion can help to turn your baby to the head down position. We have more success turning breech babies when treatments are started by 32 weeks of gestation. One of the time and research tested ways Chinese medicine helps to turn a breech baby is through moxa applied to a point on the little toe. Moxa is an herb, mugwort, that has been shaped into a burnable stick. By warming this point on the little toe, the uterine ligaments and uterus itself is able to relax. In turn, your baby is given a little more space to turn if they choose to.

In the clinic, we’ll address the particular symptoms that you’re experiencing as you get ready to deliver your baby. We may suggest an herbal medicine prescription or lifestyle modifications in addition to your acupuncture treatments. Perhaps most importantly, we’ll remind you that you have the wisdom to be with yourself and your baby as they enter the world outside.


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