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Acupuncture in Preparation for Birth



Acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular treatment tool in private clinics and hospitals for pregnancy-related conditions. It is an ideal form of treatment as it offers women drug-free relief for a multitude of problems that can arise during pregnancy and childbirth. In the first trimester, it helps to maintain a pregnancy, nourish the body and reduce early symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and heartburn. Later, the aches, pains, constipation and swelling that go along with pregnancy can be greatly alleviated by acupuncture treatment. Finally, one of the most important times to have acupuncture during pregnancy is the third trimester, to help prepare the body for labour, done with prebirth acupuncture. Furthermore, during labour, acupuncture can play a role in actively reducing the need for medical interventions, such as inductions, forceps deliveries and Caesarean sections.


Prebirth Acupuncture


Prebirth acupuncture refers to a series of treatments in the final weeks of pregnancy to prepare the body for childbirth. It consists of a combination of preselected acupuncture points that have been noted to have a beneficial effect on birth. Prebirth acupuncture can enhance the prospect of efficient labour, and teaching the woman’s partner or support people about acupressure can make a great difference to the level of pain experienced during labour.


Moxibustion is also added to the prebirth treatment protocol for breech pregnancies, with a reported success rate of 84.6% after 34 weeks gestation. Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese method of treatment, which utilizes the heat generated by burning herbal preparations containing the plant Artemisia vulgaris to stimulate the acupuncture points.


Benefits of prebirth acupuncture:

  1. Reduction in the time spent in the first stage of labour by an average of 2 hours, as well as the mean duration of labour.

  2. Reduced risk of induction in first-time moms by 43% and in all others by 35%.

  3. 31% reduction in the use of epidural anesthesia.

  4. Reduced risk of emergency Caesarean section by 32%.

  5. 9% increase in the rate of vaginal birth.

  6. Potential benefit in encouraging breech babies to turn.

Midwives have also found that acupuncture can provide effective treatment for disorders such as pregnancy-induced hypertension and posterior presentation (prior to and during labour), and can help induce labour, allowing women to achieve natural childbirth.


During a prebirth acupuncture treatment, the mom-to-be is seated or laid down comfortably on their side while thin needles are inserted into points on the ankles and lower legs. Your practitioner may also needle additional points chosen to address any individual health concerns that you may be experiencing.


Acupuncture is safe for mother and baby at all stages of pregnancy when treatment is done by a qualified and licensed practitioner who is proficient in point selection and is aware of any contraindications for patients’ specific needs and health status.


At Gathered Roots, we recommend you start your prebirth acupuncture around the 36th week of your pregnancy, or earlier to address specific symptoms you may be experiencing. Prebirth treatment includes a series of at least 4-6 sessions, once a week during 36th to 38th weeks and twice per week for weeks 39 through 40 of your pregnancy. This regimen helps prepare your body and mind for labour and delivery.

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