Acupuncture is a safe and gentle way to help bring on labour. It's safe for both mother or baby.
There are certain acupuncture points that can be stimulated to promote cervical ripening and help increase levels of the labour hormone oxytocin. Often just one session from a member of the British Acupuncture Council is needed to start contractions. Sometimes, another few sessions are needed to bring on labour.
Going over your due date
Pregnancy normally lasts from 37 weeks to 42 weeks from the first day of your last period. As part of your antenatal care, your midwife will also offer you a dating scan that will give you a more accurate date for the birth of your baby. Only around 5% of babies actually arrive on their due date.
Itís therefore highly likely that your baby wonít be born on its due date. Itís not an exact science and is made variable by multiple factors, such as the babyís growth and the motherís energy and blood levels. If youíve had IVF, then the due date is the same as if you conceived naturally as itís still calculated from your last period or down regulating bleed.
How labour starts
The baby is ready to be born when it releases a protein from it's lungs that initiates labour. When they are ready to take their first breathe is when they are ready to be born.
Acupuncture can gentle push them along naturally to bring on a normal labour. It is safer and has less adverse effects than a medical induction. It does this by regulating levels of oxytocin and reducing stress levels such as cortisone, which can stop the release of oxytocin from the pituitary gland.
Research in labour induction
A review published in 2009 looked at the existing scientific evidence on the potential role of acupuncture to induce labour. All of the studies demonstrated effectiveness in women receiving it for labour induction. The reviewers concluded that the existing studies suggest that acupuncture may be beneficial in the induction of labour.References
Neri I. (2018). Acupuncture in Post-Date Pregnancy Management. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. pii: S2005-2901(17)30196-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2018.06.001.