Interventions during labour and birth continue to rise in this country. Currently, more than one in four children is born by C-section in Canada. Other interventions in birth also continue to rise. For example, the rate of medically induced births has risen substantially in the last 10 years. With statistics like these, it’s not surprising that women planning a natural childbirth may choose to take prenatal yoga classes, practice various breathing techniques and visualizations in order to prepare themselves for their labour both physically and emotionally.
Acupuncture is another option that is getting more and more attention. Studies have shown that women who undergo pre-birth acupuncture treatments experience shorter labours, lower rates of medical inductions as well as c-sections, and a greater chance of normal vaginal delivery.
It is recommended that you start pre-birth acupuncture during week 36-37 of your pregnancy. Treatment consists of a 30-45 minute weekly acupuncture visit incorporating a combination of preselected acupuncture points that have been noted to have a beneficial effect on birth, and points chosen by your practitioner to address any individual health concerns.
Acupuncture points used are located around the ankles, feet, lower legs, shoulders, hands and sometimes lower back. You will be seated comfortably or in a side-lying position in order to create a relaxing treatment session.
Benefits of Pre-Birth Acupuncture
Pre-birth acupuncture is shown to be beneficial in tonifying the Healthy Body in preparation for birth. Pre-birth treatments can reduce the length of labour and epidural rates, promote a reduction in medical interventions, and increase blood flow to the pelvic organs to maximize oxygen, blood, and nutrient delivery.
Acupuncture treatments are also individualized to promote points to help reduce anxiety, encourage a pregnancy past its due date to move forward as well as to help rotate babies presenting in a breech position.
Many women are concerned about any risks involved with pre-birth acupuncture such as inducing an early labour but acupuncture has been shown to be safe during all stages of pregnancy when treatment is with a qualified and licensed practitioner who is educated on point selection and is aware of your health status.