The last few weeks of pregnancy is a very exciting time. It is a time of “in between,” a time when you are preparing and waiting for your world to change in an instant. The days seem to drag on forever and the messages from friends and family start rolling in…”has your water broken yet?”…”any baby news?”…”I heard that if you stand on your head while chugging hot sauce the baby will just pop out.” No. Not helpful.
What about acupuncture for cervical ripening?
Cervical ripening is the process which occurs at the end of pregnancy as the cervix begins to soften, thin and dilate to prepare for the birth of your baby. Acupuncture treatments focus on the entire pregnant person, and can facilitate cervical effacement and dilation, assist the baby in achieving an optimal position, relieve aches and pains and help to calm anxieties and fears around birth. Birth preparation treatments are typically given weekly from 37 weeks until labour commences.
There are many studies documenting the benefits of receiving acupuncture in the final weeks of pregnancy. Pre-birth acupuncture has been shown to be a safe option for supporting cervical ripening and shortening the the time interval between due date and actual time of delivery. (1) Studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce the duration of labour, particularly the first stage of labour (2,3). A study published in 2006 observed 169 women receiving pre-birth acupuncture. (4) In comparison to those who did not receive acupuncture, the women who received pre-birth treatments had a:
- 35% reduction in medical inductions (43% if it was the woman’s first baby)
- 31% reduction in epidurals
- 32% reduction in emergency c-sections
Acupuncture in the late stages of pregnancy is a safe and relaxing option for those looking to prepare their body and mind for labour. IN order to make these advantages available conveniently, I offer cervical ripening acupuncture packages from 37 weeks which include a complimentary in home postpartum visit in the weeks/months following the birth of your baby. I enjoy accompanying you at the beginning of the journey into labour, and then I love getting to see the beautiful baby afterwards!
Malakai Button is a Registered Acupuncturist in good standing with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia. Passionate about helping women struggling with hormonal and reproductive issues, she focuses on helping women achieve hormonal balance and healthy pregnancies. She offers her acupuncture studio in Victoria, BC as a place for you to cultivate wellness and reconnect with your body’s innate healing capacity. You can find Malakai at Mothering Touch on Saturday mornings or book with her at www.malakaibutton.com
1 Kubista E Kucera H. Geburtshilfe Perinatol. 1974; 178 224-9
2 Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P. Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a randomised controlled trail. Wien Klin Wochenschr 2001; 113 (23-24): 942-6
3 Tempfer C, Zeisler H, Mayerhofe Kr, Barrada M Husslein P. Influence of acupuncture on duration of labour Gynecol Obstet Invest 1998; 46:22-5
4 Betts D, Lennox S. Acupuncture for prebirth treatment: An observational study of its use in midwifery practice. Medical acupuncture 2006 May; 17(3):17-20