While pregnancy is a beautiful and ultimately rewarding experience, mothers-to-be must endure much discomfort throughout their pregnancies. While symptoms vary from person to person, feelings of discomfort tend to increase, and the due date draws nearer. So, it can be particularly frustrating when the wee one refuses to budge from their comfortable home for the past 9 months!

While due dates are just estimates, an overdue baby can lead to increased stress and discomfort levels. Although labour can be induced medically, many women would prefer to bring their baby into the world the natural way.

Acupuncture has proven increasingly popular form of relief for women seeking both relief in the later stages of pregnancy and the induction of labour.

Acupuncture During the Third Trimester

As the baby grows larger, greater strain is put upon mothers’ bodies, resulting in unpleasant aches, pains, swelling and digestion discomfort. A combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine is an option for those seeking a gentler more natural form of relief.

On top of symptomatic relief, acupuncture has also been shown to prepare the body for the birthing process. Since the early 1990’s there has been growing evidence of acupuncture being used to turn breech babies with a process known as moxibustion (moxa). A 1998 study of over 250 women who were between 33 and 36 weeks gestation found that 75% of breech babies who received the moxa treatment, successfully turned.

Also interesting, babies in the moxa group also tended to be more active in the womb, recording 48 movements per hour, compared to 35 movements from the control group.

Another way in which the body can prepare for childbirth through acupuncture is through what is called “cervical ripening”. Despite the name – acupuncture is performed nowhere near the cervix itself – rather on the back, and the legs. Acupuncture performed from the 35 week mark has been shown to encourage the natural process of shortening the cervix to its upright and back position, which allows the baby’s head to lower deeper into the pelvis and better prepare the body for labour.

Acupuncture to Induce Labour

As the days past your due date march on, you may become understandably stressed as the likelihood of induced labour looms. While the drugs and hormones used in this process are quite effective, many would prefer a natural birth and avoid the undesirable side effects of the traditional option.

Western medicine focuses on the quick-fix solution, whereas acupuncture and TCM treatments can be better described as “labour preparation”, as they work to prepare both mother and child by relaxing the nervous system, reducing stress, promoting blood flow and hormone release. Because of the gentle nature of the process, it is most effective when done over a longer period of time in the weeks prior to the due date.

If you are looking for relief from aches and discomfort or would like to know how best to prepare your body for childbirth, get in touch with the knowledgeable team at Clinic 38. They can answer all of your questions about acupuncture and pregnancy and formulate a regime specific to your needs.