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When can I start Acupuncture to induce labour?

by admin on March 28, 2018 Comments Off on When can I start Acupuncture to induce labour?

“Can you induce labour?”, is a common question to an acupuncturist. The third Trimester can be exciting – with you seeing the finish line in sight. You may begin to think about the birth a lot more and wonder if you’re open to Acupuncture to induce labour. 

To make things clear from the get-go, we can’t say Acupuncture INDUCES labour. But it sure can be used to help you prepare for labour!

Whether it be using the Acupuncture for relaxation, calming your brain and nervous system down if you’re feeling a little stressed or anxious, or helping prepare the body physically for the process of birth, every little bit helps.

Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) heart-felt approach to supporting women during this exciting time in their pregnancy helps reassure you, relax you and give you quality “you” time to connect with baby. Where the medical model may be very clinical, blunt and direct about their instructions for you, the TCM approach is a bit different and here’s why:

  1. TCM takes into account your feelings and emotions during Pregnancy and will support the Heart Qi – you may be feeling worried, scared, fearful, anxious, bored, resignation or all of the above! Remember you have been pregnant for almost 9 months – it’s a long time and it’s completely normal to feel “over it” sometimes!
  2. Your Thoughts and mental patterns are also considered and how much stress you’re under during the least weeks of Pregnancy. Supporting Kidney, calming the Adrenals and soothing the Liver system is important here to reduce fear and tension.
  3. Relaxation is key. All Acupuncture treatments should prioritise relaxation for sure. This helps your body practice physical and mental relaxation before the Birthday. “Practice makes permanent” is a quote from Calmbirth philosophies about relaxation preparation.
  4. Maximise Nourishment in those last few weeks – Acupuncture strategies to help promote good sleep (while you still can!), Qi & Blood nourishment are important to build reserves for the birthing process. Often I will give simple dietary tweaks here to maximise the nourishment factor for a client. This end phase is all about building up your energy in reserve.

So When can I start Acupuncture to induce labour?

I would highly recommend seeking Acupuncture around the 37 week mark. This is the beginning of full term Pregnancy (37-40 weeks) and it gives you some time to get a few Acupuncture treatments in before any potential early arrival or the due date and beyond.

How do I schedule the appointments?

I would begin with once a week until the birth. More than weekly is fine too – you may have symptoms that are particularly uncomfortable such as reflux, heartburn, back or pubic pain or other pains. You should always seek treatment if you’re uncomfortable because Acupuncture can manage the pain levels and symptoms associated with Pregnancy.

What if I go “overdue”?

So firstly, if you go past the given due date, don’t beat yourself up about it, instead be kind to yourself!!!

I personally don’t like this concept of being “Overdue”. In Germany, a due date is actually a due fortnight! They give you a 2 week window for your due dates, which is a bit more realistic in my opinion.

Secondly, keep going with your acupuncture treatments – whether you think they’re helping induce labour or not, at this stage it’s MORE IMPORTANT to help manage your thoughts, feelings and emotions during this time.

Stress, pressure and deadlines won’t help you, won’t make bub come any sooner, so you may as well RELAX, do something constructive such as Pregnancy massage or Acupuncture, meditate, do yoga, go for a walk, BREATHE!! All of this is much more useful than sitting there worrying about THAT due date disappearing into the week.

Remember RELAXATION is key – literally it will unlock your stress, tension and the body’s neural signalling to halt everything. Relaxation will help get things started.

Of course several things rely on the Labour being initiated naturally – and number 1 is Baby’s position. If this isn’t in an optimal place, then that could be why your body ‘forgot the memo’ that the due date was back then! This is why I would encourage people to be kind to themselves and focus on relaxation as much as possible.

How will I know if the Acupuncture to induce labour may be helping me?

There are a few signs that indicate the body’s readiness to birth, these being:

  1. Braxton-Hicks contractions (or practice contractions)
  2. Baby dropping or sitting lower on you.
  3. The midwife can palpate and feel if baby is engaged (head will be difficult to feel anymore)
  4. Mucus Plug appears
  5. PROM (Premature rupture of Membranes or “Waters breaking”) please let your primary carer know about this as you do have a time limit once waters break to prevent infection in the Medical Model.

What if I’m having a Caesarian? Can I still use Acupuncture for birth preparation?

Of course – because the foundations of Labour Prep acupuncture is around other factors such as Nourishment, Relaxation, calming your nervous system and more, Caesarian Women are welcome, included and I would actively encourage them to use Acupuncture before their surgery.

For more information on how Acupuncture may assist you in the last weeks of Pregnancy to prepare you for your birth (Caesarian or Natural), email info@springfertility.com.au or book your 37 weeks appointment online here.

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