Acupuncture for Labour Induction

April 28, 2014

KissBy Dr. Lisa Watson, ND

Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat conditions associated with pregnancy (such as heart burn, nausea, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and fetal malpositioning/ breech position) as well as for preparing the body for labour and delivery.

Acupuncture to stimulate labour can be begun after 37 weeks gestation (once baby is considered to be full term) and is administered from once per week to once per day, depending on the desired outcome. When performed after the due date, acupuncture has been shown in studies to have a success rate of up to 88% in starting labour.

Specific acupuncture points (“acupoints”) are used to:

• stimulate and strengthen uterine contractions

• promote proper fetus positioning

• relax muscles

• decrease stress and relieve tension

• encourage the downward movement of Qi (energy)

All of which combined can work to bring on labour.

All published studies have shown acupuncture to be safe for both mother and fetus when applied by a qualified practitioner. Be sure to work with someone who is experienced in perinatal acupuncture protocols and techniques.

Your Naturopathic Doctor can also teach you proper acupressure techniques for you, or your birth partner, to administer to induce labour or manage pain during labour and delivery.

Remember, although acupuncture is safe and can be effective in encouraging labour in full-term pregnancies, it is important to make sure your primary health care provider (e.g. midwife or obstetrician) has given you the go-ahead for trying to induce labour. There are some instances where waiting is the best approach for both mother and baby.

Also be sure any practitioners (Naturopathic Doctors, homeopaths, herbalists, acupuncturists, etc.) are fully qualified and knowledgable in pregnancy and labour. Not all practitioners have the same level of experience – ask questions and only work with practitioners you have confidence in.

LwatsonDr. Lisa Watson delivers health care that supports balanced and attainable health at all ages and stages of life. Of primary importance is health care that nurtures the body, mind, spirit, family and community.  As a Naturopathic Doctor and mother, Lisa believes that health care and a healthy lifestyle are intrinsically linked and that each serves to support the other. Dr. Watson practices at the Integrative Health Institute in Downtown Toronto.
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main image via Beat Küng via Compfight



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