Acupuncture to induce labour: what to expect

Acupuncture frequently appears on the list of things to try to encourage natural labour. But if you are an overdue mum and are considering acupuncture you may be interested to hear from women who have used it. I have asked three mums I have treated to share their stories.

Francesca and Archie

Francesca and Archie

“I have used acupuncture in the past. I found it really great, really quite relaxing considering you are having needles stuck in you and for that reason I thought it might be an effective way of inducing labour.

I wanted to use acupuncture for the induction of labour because I wanted to avoid the medical route and do everything as naturally as possible and for the labour experience to be as comfortable as it possibly could be.

When it got to 40 weeks I was thinking it doesn’t feel like he is coming. I had my midwife appointment a few days later where they basically booked me in for induction the following week. It became really real then and I got on the phone to Siân.

When we came in my 41st week for the treatment Siân put me and my husband, who came along too, totally at ease. I was relatively at ease anyway but my husband had not had any experience of acupuncture before so it was quite nice for her to explain which points she was going to be doing and what those points might help to achieve. So once Siân had talked about the points she then inserted the needles and did her treatment and I was incredibly relaxed throughout. It was suggested that in a few days if nothing had happened there could be a further treatment but that wasn’t needed. Two hours after returning home my contractions started, really quite comfortable and went through the night. By lunch time the next day we decided to go to the Royal Berks and Archie was born four hours later.

I would really highly recommend considering acupuncture for the induction of labour because it has been so successful for me.”

Ade and Robert

AdeRobert“I decided to use acupuncture to encourage labour as my labour was planned to be induced in the 39th week due to a gestational diabetes. Many people told me scary stories about giving birth in this way, so if there was any possibility to make my contractions start before that day, I was very happy to try.

I found the acupuncture treatment to be a nice and quiet relaxing time. The day of my medical induction arrived without signs of labour and we had to go to the hospital. Very shortly after staying a few hours at the hospital and before receiving the artificial oxytocin my waters broke. Even the nurses were surprised. It makes me think that it was probably the day for my baby to be born and just a coincidence to match the doctor’s date. In that case I feel the acupuncture helped us. I always kept the hope until the very last moment. Same during labour, and this attitude was the right one for being relaxed and dilating very well and fast. No C-section although the baby got stuck. I was joking with the staff and I guess that this also gave some extra time and patience to the doctors. And the baby came out. If I had to, I would try acupuncture again. We didn’t with our second child because she was breech. In this occasion we had a planned C-section.”

Kamila and Batu

“My son was a little bit too long sitting in my belly so I wanted to gently kick him out without medical intervention so the best idea was to try acupuncture.

It was the first time I had had acupuncture. I found it nice, normal, nothing spectacular, no pain – simply a pleasure to be with someone who took care of me and my baby. The same evening as my appointment my boy decided to arrive without medical intervention.

Every mother knows how to take care of their baby and how to protect them. I know that with my second baby I will call Siân more often. I have a feeling that babies love acupuncture on their mother.”

Things to consider

Ideally acupuncture should be used 2-3 days before medical induction is planned to take place. Therefore it is worth contacting an acupuncturist when you have been given a date for medical induction to discuss the possibility of using acupuncture if needed. It is also important to consult your midwife or doctor. Acupuncture induction involves using points which promote contractions. However, it also takes into account the emotional and physical well-being of the women. Therefore it is important to have time to meet and discuss your emotional and physical health so treatment can be tailored to you individually.

If you have more questions feel free to contact me, I work in Reading, or find an acupuncturist near you.

Thank you Francesca, Ade and Kamila for taking the time to write about your experiences.