Labor Prep Acupuncture isn’t just about initiation of contractile activity. Although it can stimulate uterine activity, acupuncture should be looked at as a series of treatments starting by 36 weeks. My approach towards labor prep is to systematically assess and assist Mom’s progress towards active labor.
Before initiation of contractions, it’s important to assess whether baby is engaged low enough into the cervix. Certain points are utilized to down bear qi, which effectively moves the baby deeper into the pelvis. The baby’s head needs to be up against the cervix in order for it to dilate. This is what your healthcare provider means when the say, 'the baby has dropped'.
This brings up another aspect of how acupuncture helps with labor: there are certain points that have a direct effect on the cervix, causing it to ripen and soften. Once baby is engaged and the cervix has begun to ripen, we can start working on the points that initiate contractile activity. In addition to the points for cervix, I employ points that help relax the Dai Mai Channel, which runs around the waist. When this point is needled, it generally initiates fetal movement and it also has a direct effect on the muscles and tendons. When we are nervous, tense or anxious, we can hold tension in minute areas of our bodies. Acupuncture is very effective at calming nerves and soothing anxiety, which is common and natural at the end of pregnancy. This creates the perfect internal environment to relax and allow birth to unfold with more ease.
Studies show that acupuncture not only decreases the time in active labor, but it also is effective at pain management due to its analgesic effect.
It is important to have realistic expectations when receiving acupuncture for labor prep. Acupuncture is not like a light switch that can turn labor on, however, it is a helpful tool to support your body’s shift towards labor and throughout the birthing process.
It is truly an honor to join women on their birthing journey. I am here as your advocate and cheerleader. I believe every woman deserves the birth of her dreams.
I truly mean it when I say that I am not just your acupuncturist, but a mom friend too.
"Irin was such a blessing during the final weeks of my pregnancy. She met me where I was, both physically and emotionally, and showed up with her whole self to support me as I endured several days of prodromal labor. I felt so relaxed and taken care of, felt instantly connected to her as a fellow mama, and her acupuncture treatments reduced my stress and helped to jumpstart true labor for me. She's amazing!" --happy mama