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Acupuncture as a Pre-birth and Labour Induction Treatment

Several studies have shown that acupuncture may be beneficial in preparing a woman for birth and in promoting a more efficient labour.  Our clinical experience shows that the ideal way to prepare for birth is to seek weekly pre-birth acupuncture treatment and minimise the need for an acupuncture induction.

Pre-birth acupuncture

The general consensus from the research (and our clinical experience) is that acupuncture treatments given to pregnant women from the 36th or 37th week of gestation may shorten labour times. 

Through your acupuncture treatment your practitioner will be able to assess your overall health and vitality going into labour.  The treatment will be targeted to building your energy, addressing any pre-birth anxiety and relaxing your body for the birth.

A study showed that a group of women having weekly pre-birth acupuncture averaged a mean labour time of 6hrs 36mins in comparison to the control group (non-acupuncture) whose labour time was 8hrs 2 mins. Kubista E, Kucera H (1974) "On the use of acupuncture in the preparation for delivery" Geburtshilfe Perinatol; 178(3):224-9

A second group of researchers showed a reduction in the first stage of labour time (3cm dilation to full dilation) to 196 mins for the acupuncture group in comparison to the control group (non-acupuncture) at 321 mins.   Zeisler H et al (1998) "Influence of acupuncture on duration of labour" Gynecol Obstet Invest; 46:22-5

Acupuncture labour inductions

Sometimes, a woman may exceed her due date and wish to use acupuncture to induce birth.  With the permission of her medical practitioner, an acupuncture induction treatment may be conducted.  It is important to note that this is often a course of treatment involving acupuncture treatments being given every two days until labour commences.

A study showed that women who received acupuncture on their due date and every two days afterwards shortened the days until their delivery (5 days) in comparison with the non-acupuncture group (7.9 days).  The acupuncture group did not experience any greater number of cases of difficult delivery than the control group suggesting that inducing the birth did not compromise safety. Rabl M et al (2001) "Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term - a randomised controlled trial." Wien Klin Wochenschr; 113(23-4):942-6


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