One of the many gifts of working in a community acupuncture clinic is that you get to see a wide variety of health concerns, and, you get to treat a lot of people. Since the fall of 2007, we have given around 25,000 acupuncture treatments! One of the many gifts of working in a general practice acupuncture clinic is getting to provide support to women and new families during the stages of pregnancy and birth.
Over the past five years we have assisted hundreds of women with fertility concerns, all stages of pregnancy and the various health concerns that may arise during each stage, labor prep, labor induction, and postpartum health concerns.
This week I was providing labor induction to a mom-to-be, a process that typically involves 3-5 treatments given once a day. The experience prompted me to write about a treatment protocol, which is not widely known or understood, we call labor prep. Acupuncture for labor preparation is not very well known in Canada, yet in my experience, women have really benefited from this treatment, which is usually started 2 weeks prior to due date. There have been a number of studies on the subject, all of which report positive results. In my own experience women who undergo this 2 week treatment protocol prior to their due-date are more apt to give birth closer to their actual date, and have fewer stresses and complications. Of course every birth is unique, but what I have been able to compare is those who come 2 weeks prior and those who simply come in for induction.
As with all health concerns, acupuncturists most often see folks after they have tried everything else, so to with labor and delivery. We tend to see more women coming in because they have heard that acupuncture can “induce” labor. They typically drop in 10 days past their due date hoping for some immediate help!
Acupuncture works by helping, assisting, and promoting the normal functioning of your body. Labor is a natural process, so while acupuncture can help to promote labor, I have rarely seen it magically induce labor. This is why labor prep works better than labor induction. With labor prep, points are selected to prepare and dilate the cervix, soften tendons and ligaments in the pelvis, strengthen the body, and relax the body and mind, over a 2 week period leading up to a woman’s due date. This treatment is more aligned with a woman’s own internal rhythm leading up to childbirth, supporting the mom and baby.
We usually recommend a minimum of twice a week for the two weeks prior. Treatments are given in comfy recliner chairs in a quiet peaceful setting, and points are selected from the arms and legs, making it safe and convenient. And most important, with our sliding scale from $15-40, it’s affordable!
So if you or someone you know is getting close to their due date, bring them into our clinic for a relaxing and supportive experience. And remember that acupuncture is helpful and effective for all women’s health issues, including those associated with a woman’s cycle and menopause.
hemma community acupuncture