This is a very common question I receive from beautiful women at the end of pregnancy, who frantically phone after an appointment with their midwife or obstetrician.
They have been given the ‘induction chat’, their brains are in overdrive and this extra stress adds to the already expanding weight of finding balance between birth expectation and acceptance of divine timing.
Acupuncture for labour has been used traditionally in China for centuries with mention throughout ancient classical texts particularly the Jia Yi Jing (282 CE). It has gained popularity in modern times for supporting labour preparation and birth for good reason, with research showing positive effects including reduced time in labour, reduced rate of medical intervention, reduced requirement for pain relief and reduced risk of post-partum haemorrhaging.
However, it is important to know that routine acupuncture treatment for birth preparation should ideally be administered weekly from around 35-36 weeks until birth. This is because specific acupuncture points are inserted that assist the body’s natural processes of ripening the cervix, softening and opening muscles and tendons and reducing stress hormones to prepare the mother physically and emotionally for childbirth. Acupuncture will not ‘induce labour’ if the body is not ready. Therefore, booking a couple of last minute acupuncture treatments after 40 weeks gestation may be of benefit but will not give optimal outcomes.