Acupuncture provides physical and emotional support leading up to labour and birth. It can increase your sense of satisfaction with the birthing experience and enhance your overall wellbeing after the birth.
Acupuncture is particularly beneficial in preparing the body, stimulating cervical ripening and promoting an optimal position for the baby. This can help improve the experience and outcome of the birth. Weekly treatment begins at 36 weeks until the birth.
In addition, acupuncture can:
- Help induce labour when necessary
- Reduce Ceasarean rates
- Minimize the need for oxytocin
- Reduce the need for pain medication and epidurals
- Treat anxiety and stress
- Turn posterior and breech presentation
A clinical study in New Zealand (Betts& Lennox, 2006) showed that giving women pre-birth acupuncture resulted in:
- 35% reduction in medical inductions (43% reduction in women having their first baby)
- 31% reduction in the epidurals
- 32% reduction in emergency caesarean delivery
- 9 % increase in normal vaginal births
To promote cervical dilation and to ease birth, you should:
- Go to bed early and rest throughout the day.
- Cook soups and stews. Eat half and freeze the other half for after the baby arrives.
- Take vitamin C and zinc, both necessary for hormone production, prior to delivery.
- Increase your intake of raspberry leaf tea to four cups a day.
- Eat plenty of magnesium- and calcium-rich foods to strengthen muscles needed for contractions during labour.
- Eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin K, which is vital for blood clotting in you and the baby.
- Start taking the homeopathic remedy Arnica 6C to prevent bruising after birth and to support healing.
- Have in place a support team (doctors, midwives, and/or doulas) who understand your values and desires towards your birth experience.