So, you are expecting a baby? That’s wonderful news. There is so much to think about and maybe it’s too early to think about the birth (it’s never too early to think about the birth). You may even be using acupuncture during your pregnancy; it can be a great support as your body changes both physically and emotionally. Did you know that you can use acupuncture right up to the birth? Some expectant mothers use it in two specific circumstances, to move a breech baby and also to avoid a medical induction.
How does acupuncture help to induce labor?
There are a few reasons why a mom-to-be might want to avoid a medical induction. An induction normally happens when a mother has reached full-term and the baby isn’t showing any signs of being born. A baby could also be induced due to underlying conditions such as diabetes or pre-eclampsia. If there are no underlying health conditions, there could be other reasons that a mom might want to avoid a medical induction. This could be because she wants to have a more natural birth experience with less medical/chemical intervention. Studies have shown that births that are induced tend to have more intervention than births that happen spontaneously. For moms who already have children, they may have had a negative experience during a previous induction and wish to avoid this next time round.
Acupuncture for induction has some great results and in many cases women have a faster and more comfortable labor experience. There are specific acupuncture points that encourage the cervix to ripen, stimulate uterine function and help contractions to become consistent and efficient. In addition to these physical effects there are some great emotional benefits too. Acupuncture is a relaxing and calming experience. Many expectant mothers comment on the intense feeling of wellbeing that they experience during acupuncture sessions and this comes into its own pre-labor, as a relaxed body will help to promote a more efficient and faster labor. Additionally, acupuncture boosts energy and let’s face it giving birth requires a huge amount of energy! Evidence shows that one of the major causes of a labor slowing down is extreme tiredness, particularly in the face of painful contractions.
I have worked with many expectant Mothers in preparation for labor as a way of getting the mind-body in optimum condition for an efficient birth experience. When the body is ready, acupuncture will help to kick-start the process. Why not add acupuncture to your birth plan? You should look at starting sessions for pre-labor at around the 32-36 week mark to ensure that your body is fully prepared.
How can acupuncture help to turn a breech baby?
Babies already have a mind of their own even when they are still in the womb. One thing that we can’t always control is which way a baby presents in the womb before birth. Most babies move into the head down position during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Some babies present as breech, this actually means that they are the wrong way round. Rather than having their head towards the birth canal, their feet are in that position. Babies should be born head first as this is a smoother way of giving birth, the baby’s head moulds itself to the birth canal making it easier for the baby to be born. As the head is large, it tends to stretch the birth canal to smooth the transition of the rest of the body. If the feet are first the head doesn’t have time to mould to the birth canal, which can be very dangerous for both the baby and the mother as there is a higher risk that the baby could get stuck in the birth canal.
The first thing to remember about breech babies is that they do often turn back to the correct position themselves. If you are around 35-36 weeks pregnant and your baby is still presenting as breech then it could be time to contact your acupuncturist.
An acupuncture session for breech babies is often combined with Moxibustion. This is the practice of applying a herbal moxa stick with medicinal herbs (mugwort) to a particular part of the body. For breech babies, this is commonly the corner of the smallest toes, it doesn’t burn but provides a deeply relaxing experience. Acupuncture needles are placed on key acupuncture points on the back to support this process.
The combination of Moxibustion and acupuncture is very helpful as it improves the energy within the body (the Qi), which in turn encourages the baby to move more. This increase in movement means that baby is more likely to turn.
Acupuncture can be incredibly useful in pregnancy for a number of symptoms and it can help to make the process of giving birth a much more relaxing and comfortable one, why not investigate how it could help you from now until the happy event?
Call today for a free 5 minute phone consultation to discover how acupuncture, herbs and holistic nutrition can help you on your journey to Motherhood.
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Los Angeles, Fertility Acupuncture clinic