Labor Induction Acupuncture
If you’ve ever been 40 weeks pregnant or past your due date, you know there comes a point in pregnancy when you are just done and ready to be a mom. Even the most blissful, perfect pregnancies must come to an end. Depending on your healthcare provider, you may have been given a week or two post your due date before any intervention would be scheduled. The due date, after all, is a suggested time that the baby will emerge not a concrete birthdate.
For many women, witnessing the due date come and go results in an overwhelming preoccupation to go into labor before any intervention is needed. It’s almost as if a flip has been switched and a sense of urgency materializes that no amount of prenatal yoga can calm.
If you’re facing an induction but would prefer to go into labor naturally, there are a few tips you can follow to move things along.
Naturally Induce Labor
- Sex. Semen contains prostaglandins which will help dilate the cervix. An alternative to sex is evening primrose oil vaginal suppositories. The evening primrose oil has as a similar effect on cervical dilation but you should consult your healthcare provider before using any vaginal suppository especially during pregnancy.
- Walking. Gravity is your friend when trying to move the baby down and put more pressure on the pelvic floor and cervix. As the baby starts to descend, it’s best to avoid sitting on hard surfaces. If you have a yoga ball, use that as your chair whenever possible.
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. Red raspberry leaf tea can have a stimulating effect on the uterus. It is said to tone the uterine muscles. This tea is typically safe to drink during the last few weeks of pregnancy and is also helpful in milk production postpartum.
- Nipple stimulation. The hormone oxytocin is released in response to nipple stimulation. Oxytocin encourages uterine contractions which can put a woman into labor.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture is often used for labor induction. If you haven’t received weekly acupuncture sessions to prepare for labor and are now facing an induction, acupuncture can be useful in helping your body make the transition to active labor.
How Does Acupuncture Induce Labor?
Acupuncture points have specific indications. Points are selected based on the particular needs of the mother to be. Keeping in mind the mother’s constitution whether she is healthy and strong or in need of support as well as her emotional state, a licensed acupuncturist will choose the best selection of points to encourage labor. Labor induction acupuncture can facilitate labor by:
- helping the baby to descend and get in the proper position for labor
- promote cervical dilation
- reduce low back and sacral pain
- regulate contractions
- increase the frequency and intensity of contractions
- calm anxiety and minimize fear
It’s always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider about your attempts to induce labor naturally. Some labor induction techniques can have less than desirable effects. For example, castor oil causes intestinal spasms which can result in diarrhea and dehydration. This is not an ideal state for a mother to begin labor! Talking over your options with your midwife or OB can help you decide which labor induction techniques are best suited for you and your baby.