acupuncture to induce labor

Pregnancy is a beautiful and transformative journey filled with anticipation and excitement. As you approach the final stages, the thought of labor can bring a mix of emotions ranging from eagerness to anxiety. For many, the prospect of a natural, gentle initiation into labor is appealing. That’s where acupuncture to induce labor comes in!

In this guide, we’ll explore how we use acupuncture to induce labor, its benefits, and how you can integrate it into your birth plan for a holistic and empowering birthing experience! 

And, if you’re in the Portland area and searching for an acupuncture clinic that specializes in women’s health, you’ve come to the right place. We’d love to see you! Click here to book a private consultation with our clinic to get started!

Pregnant woman standing by a window in Portland, Oregon, touching her belly and looking down with a tender expression.

What is Induction Acupuncture?

Simply put, induction acupuncture is a specialized form of acupuncture aimed at preparing your body for labor. By stimulating specific points on the body, acupuncture can help initiate the natural processes that lead to labor, making the experience smoother and more aligned with your body’s rhythm.

Wait, Isn’t Induction a Medical Procedure?

Yes, traditionally, induction is a medical procedure recommended by obstetricians or midwives to start labor. It may involve medications or techniques to soften and dilate the cervix, promoting steady contractions. Medical induction is often advised if you are nearing 42 weeks gestation, if your water has broken but contractions haven’t started, restricted fetal growth, low amniotic fluid, placental abruption, pre-eclampsia, or gestational diabetes.

How Can Acupuncture Help Induce Labor?

If you are looking for a holistic alternative, acupuncture serves as a gentle and natural method to help start labor by working with your body. From 35 weeks forward we recommend weekly acupuncture visits increasing to twice weekly after 38 weeks. 

During these sessions we focus on preparing the body and mind for a positive birth experience. Acupuncture works with your body to help prepare the cervix, remove painful obstructions, optimize fetal position and reduce stress. Acupuncture offers you a quiet moment to connect with your body and leaves you feeling rested and refreshed.

Another benefit? Research supports that regular acupuncture in late pregnancy tends to shorten the active labor stages and aligns delivery closer to due dates.

Two people's hands on a pregnant belly, symbolizing fertility.

Integrating Acupuncture into Your Birth Plan

Incorporating acupuncture into your birth plan can enhance your overall pregnancy experience and prepare you for a smoother labor. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Start Early: Begin acupuncture treatments around 35 weeks of pregnancy. Weekly sessions are recommended initially, increasing to twice a week after 38 weeks.
  • Holistic Care: Acupuncturists can also address other pregnancy-related issues such as heartburn, back pain, headaches, and constipation during these sessions.
  • Collaborate with Healthcare Providers: Communicate with your midwife or OB/GYN about integrating acupuncture into your prenatal care. Many acupuncturists, like us at Willow Tree, work closely with healthcare providers to offer comprehensive care.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Safe is Acupuncture to Induce Labor?

Acupuncture is considered safe during pregnancy when performed by a qualified practitioner with expertise in prenatal care. It’s important to choose an acupuncturist experienced in pregnancy to ensure the best outcomes. And if you’re in Portland – that’s us!

I Have an Induction Scheduled in a Couple of Days. Is it Still Worth Trying Acupuncture?

Yes, acupuncture can still help. Going into labor is complex process with factors dependent on signals from the baby, baby’s position, your cervix, and your own mental and emotional state. Even at the end of pregnancy acupuncture is effective in encouraging fetal movement. Babies that are struggling to find the right position to put pressure on the cervix may respond quickly to a gentle acupuncture session. 

As the famous midwife Ina May Gaskin says, “the cervix is a sphincter and stress can prevent dilation just as many people experience trying to have a bowel movement in a public restroom”. Just a few acupuncture needles can help your body transition from fight or flight mode into a more relaxed state. Sometimes that is all a person needs to get labor started.

Do I Need to See an Acupuncturist Specializing in Pregnancy?

Yes, it’s recommended to see an acupuncturist with expertise in pregnancy. Specialists in this field focus on optimizing the baby’s position and preparing your body for labor, rather than just stimulating contractions. As someone who has been specializing in women’s reproductive health for years, I can’t stress enough how much of a difference an experienced professional (that values continuing education!) can make.

Can I Get Acupuncture Before 35 Weeks of Pregnancy?

Yes, you can start acupuncture earlier if desired. Many begin regular sessions at 20 weeks or at the start of the third trimester to enjoy the benefits of acupuncture for various pregnancy-related conditions. An experienced acupuncturist can tailor a treatment plan to your specific needs.

A healthcare professional checks on a patient resting in bed, focusing on pregnancy care.

Embrace a Gentle Start to Labor with Acupuncture

By integrating acupuncture into your birth plan, you can enhance your pregnancy experience and embrace the final stages with confidence and calm. Our team at Willow Tree Acupuncture is here to support you at every step, providing expert care and personalized treatments to ensure you feel your best as you await the arrival of your little one. 

Ready to explore the benefits of acupuncture to induce labor? Book a free consultation with us today to schedule your first session and begin your journey toward a gentle, empowered birth experience.

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