Acupuncture is an age-old practice that has been used to improve health and well-being for thousands of years. Acupuncture has recently become more popular as a safe and effective alternative to many medical treatments. Research supports Acupuncture treatment as an effective way to assist women to go into labour on their own naturally, decreasing the need for medical intervention.

pregnant woman beings assessed by practitioner for acupuncture for labourinduction

What is Labour Induction Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a natural, non-invasive way to prepare the body for labour. It is done by inserting very thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the nervous system to create changes in the whole body.

We like to refer to the process as labour preparation as opposed to labour induction. Simply because Acupuncture doesn’t cause the body to immediately go into labour like with traditional medical induction. Instead, Acupuncture assists labour preparation by helping decrease the impact of other issues that are inhibiting the natural onset of labour.

How Acupuncture Helps Bring On Labour

Acupuncture assists bringing on labour by stimulating certain points on the body that are thought to help the body prepare for labour. Acupuncture assists in helping get the cervix ready for labour, speeds up uterine contractions, and helps the baby move down into the birth canal.

More specifically, Acupuncture has been shown to affect the body to prepare for labour in various ways including:

1. Regulating the Nervous System

Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system, which plays a massive role when it comes to controlling labour. When Acupuncture points are stimulated, hormones like endorphins and oxytocin are released which help relieve pain, make you feel calm, ease tension and anxiety, all of which can otherwise slow down the labour process.

2. Stimulating Hormonal Regulation

Research shows that prostaglandins are released when Acupuncture is performed. This is one of the many biochemical processes that Acupuncture affects. Prostaglandins are molecules that act like hormones and help a woman give birth by softening and ripening the cervix.

3. Regulating Immune & Stress Response

Scientists have found that Acupuncture controls the levels of many hormones, including cortisol, which is important for how the body responds to stress and immune responses. Studies show that Acupuncture can lower raised cortisol levels. Many pregnant women have elevated cortisol levels, due to the chronic stress they are experiencing, which can inhibit the labour process.

pregnant woman receiving acupuncture treatment to assist with labour induction

Why Should You Choose Acupuncture to Bring on Labour?

When it comes to initiating labour, Acupuncture is a safe and natural alternative to other methods that are available. Unlike medical induction, which can be painful and have a risk of complications, Acupuncture is gentle, not painful, and has a very low risk of side effects.

For many women that we work with, Acupuncture can also simply make giving birth a better, more memorable experience by decreasing stress and anxiety that is otherwise extremely common for many pregnant women.

Some of the specific benefits of using Acupuncture to start labour are:

It is Safe and Natural

Acupuncture is a natural way to bring on labour that is safe and has minimal side effects. Unlike medical induction with oxytocin infusion, Acupuncture does not increase the risk of overstimulation of the uterus, and is not a painful treatment unlike other procedures.

Improved Outcomes for Mother & Baby

Studies have shown that Acupuncture can reduce not only the need for painkillers during birth, but also the risk of bleeding after birth, and the risk of foetal distress.

During childbirth, Acupuncture helps relax the mother and reduces tension and stress. This helps lower the risk of issues like high blood pressure and contractions that can commence too early in labour.

Decreased Labour Time

Acupuncture may aid in shortening the time of labour, according to studies. This is believed to be related to the stimulation of points on the body that increase contractions and promote cervical ripening.

Cervical ripening is the process of softening and thinning the cervix in preparation for childbirth. Acupuncture has been demonstrated to be beneficial at promoting cervical ripening. This can lower the likelihood of difficulties during birth, such as extended labour or the need for measures such as induction.

Less Intervention Required

Acupuncture has been shown to decrease the need for medical treatments such as induction, caesarean section, and aided delivery during labour. This may be due to the natural pain relief offered by Acupuncture, which can help the mother deal with the pain and discomfort of labour more effectively, allowing for clarity to follow directions from the medical team and in this way, reduce the need for further intervention.

Is It Safe To Use Acupuncture To Help Bring On Labour?

Yes, when performed by a qualified professional, Acupuncture is very safe at all stages of pregnancy. At our clinic, we only use sterile, single-use needles and follow strict hygiene procedures to keep you and your baby safe.

When Should I Start Acupuncture For Labour Preparation?

We always recommend starting treatment in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy to achieve optimal outcomes or otherwise when your birthing team have advised that it may be a good idea to start trying to prepare for labour. It’s important to remember that Acupuncture can certainly help bring on labour naturally but it’s not a great idea if the pregnancy is considered high-risk and we will be sure to advise you as such if we consider this to be a concern.

pregnant woman consulting with practitioner to enquire about acupuncture for labour induction

What to Expect at Your Acupuncture Session?

Commencing your Acupuncture session, we will discuss not only your pregnancy journey so far, but also any unique health concerns as well as your birthing plan. For the treatment, you will be asked to lie down in a comfortable position while fine needles are inserted into specific points on your body. You might feel a slight tingling or buzzing sensation where the needle goes in, but this isn’t painful. Most people feel calm and relaxed after Acupuncture treatment, promoting a great nights sleep and wake feel refreshed the next day, which makes the pregnancy experience and upcoming labour much more pleasant.

How Many Sessions Will I Need?

How many Acupuncture sessions you need to bring on labour largely depends on your personal situation. We often recommend starting with one session per week in the weeks before your due date. As your due date gets closer, we may suggest that you come in more often to help your body prepare for labour.

Take the First Step Towards a Safe and Natural Labour

We are committed to helping women achieve a safe and positive birthing experience through using safe and effective treatments and lifestyle advice.

If you are looking for a natural process to bring on labour, we will work closely with you to develop a personalised treatment plan that meets your unique needs and supports your overall health and wellbeing. We encourage you to reach out to us on (02) 4709 6727 or by booking an appointment online to discuss how we can help in your situation.