Natural Labor Induction with Acupuncture

Sadie Minkoff

Sadie Minkoff L.Ac., FABORM

This is the column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

Q: I read that some women use of acupuncture to induce labor as an alternative to pitocin after 39 weeks of gestation. How does this work and is it safe?

Sadie Minkoff, L.Ac., FABORM and team at Sage Acupuncture in Austin specialize in Reproductive Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. 

A: Acupuncture is often used as a safe and drug-free method for encouraging labor to commence. In fact, several studies have shown that acupuncture intervention is effective in facilitating a more efficient birth.

Labor induction, defined as when labor is “initiated artificially with drugs,” is actually a misnomer when used to describe how acupuncture works. Acupuncture supports the natural unfolding of the birthing process rather than an exogenous intervention forcing the body to do something it would not otherwise do.

  • In our experience, the best results come when acupuncture is used as a pre-birth treatment, preparing the body for labor gradually with one treatment a week starting at 36-37 weeks gestation.
  • This is the perfect time to reduce stress, and support energy and stamina for labor. Treatments are tailored to each individual woman’s body and pregnancy history, with a focus on ripening the cervix and positioning the baby optimally for labor.

As background, a 2004 observational study looked at the effect of pre-birth acupuncture (Medical acupuncture 2006 May; 17(3):17-20). Data on 169 women who received pre-birth acupuncture were compared to local population rates for gestation at onset of labor, incidence of medical induction, length of labor, use of analgesia and type of delivery:

  • In the acupuncture group comparing all caregivers (including midwives, OBs and specialists) the following were the overall statistics: 35% reduction in the number of inductions (for women having their first baby this was a 43% reduction) and a 31% reduction in the epidural rate.
  • When comparing midwifery only care, there was a 32% reduction in emergency caesarean delivery and a 9 % increase in normal vaginal births.
  • There was no statistical difference in the onset of early labor in those women receiving pre-birth acupuncture.

We’d love to see your question. Write Us!

Treating Allergies While Prergnant

Sadie Minkoff

Sadie Minkoff L.Ac., FABORM

This is the column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

Q: My nasal allergies are much worse now (at 4 months pregnant) than they were a year ago. What are some ways to feel better that won’t potentially harm me and my baby?

Sadie Minkoff, L.Ac., FABORM and team at Sage Acupuncture in Austin specialize in Reproductive Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. 

 

This is a great question! We treat many pregnant women suffering from allergies. Not only because we live in Austin, the “allergy capital of the world” but also because when you are pregnant, your mucus production increases and your immune system is often more sensitive.

Here are 5 Tips to Help you Feel Better Naturally:

  1. Try a daily nasal wash like the Neti pot, to decrease sinus congestion and inflammation.
  2. Take a shower in the evening to wash away any residual pollen or dust from the day.
  3. Stay well hydrated and get as much rest as possible to keep your immune system strong.
  4. Reduce or eliminate dairy (goat dairy is less congesting than cow), as well as refined sugar, which contribute to inflammation and increased phlegm accumulation.
  5. Last but not least, acupuncture is a great support for allergies and for prevention of sinus infections. It is recommended for many pregnancy-related symptoms such as sciatica, insomnia, nausea, digestive upset, stress, fatigue, and yes, allergies.

Research has shown that acupuncture has a positive effect on the immune system as well as relieving the uncomfortable symptoms associated with allergies, including: sinus congestion, sneezing, runny nose, headaches, scratchy throat, and fatigue.

We’d love to see your question. Write Us!