Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Labour Induction treatments is an increasingly requested procedure as a result of the growing awareness of the discomfort and problems caused by Western medically induced pregnancies. In this article I’ll explain the process of labour induction from a Western point of view, and then reasons for it a long with some of the drawbacks and common concerns associated. We’ll then look at an understanding from the point of view of Traditional Chinese Medicine and see if this is something that may be right for you.
Western Medicine induces labour artificially through drugs, mainly prostaglandins and oxyctocin. The goal of both is to dilate and ripen the cervix and thus bring about delivery. Prostaglandin is introduced generally the night before, or in some cases very early the day delivery is due, approximately 4-6 hours before. After this time has passed the patient will be checked to see if labour has commenced. If not,. Then a decision will be made as to whether to continue with the prostaglandin treatment or move on to other options.
By this stage if the cervix had ripened but not significantly the membranes containing the amniotic fluid will be ruptured using a small plastic hook. Thus the water’s are broken and the baby will naturally move lower down the pelvis, placing more pressure on the cervix and increasing dilation further. The procedure of rupturing the membrane is quite painless, though the vaginal examination that precedes it can be quite painful.
If labour still is not occurring at this stage syntocinon, a subtype of oxytocin, is administered intravenously. This presents problems as the contractions produced are extremely painful and intense, far beyond what can be asked of someone to cope with, and this can prevent the women fully engaging and delivering the baby. In many cases an epidural is then suggested, which unfortunately compounds the risks with an increased chance of direct intervention such as forceps and caesarian.
There are a number of reasons for medically induced labour, and indeed Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Labour Induction treatments, the most common of these being post-due date babies. The given standard is that the baby been born in the 40th week, however, there is often a discrepancy of up to 2 weeks of that date, so it is acceptable to deliver a healthy baby between 38-42 weeks. However, problems can occur as after 40 weeks the uterine environment begins to break down, which can compromise the baby’s health. The question becomes then, when does one intercede in an otherwise healthy pregnancy. In a few moments I’ll explain how Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for Labour Induction treatments can help resolve this question.
The second reason labour may be induced is due to the rupture of the membranes or more commonly called breaking water. If labour does not occur within 24-72 hours of your water breaking, then there is a strong concern that the baby can develop a streptococcal infection, leading to breathing difficulties. This needs to be immediately treated with intravenous antibiotics. In some cases, where a pre induction swab has indicated the presence of infection, antibiotics will be administered then. Other factors such as diabetes, multiple pregnancies, small for date babies, etc may require a medical induction.
From a Traditional Chinese Medical view point, labour is expected when three factors occur simultaneously. Yang activity becomes predominant over Yin growth, qi and blood begin to move freely, and the uterus dilates. When these things occur with synchronicity an easy harmonious labour ensues. I have had the privilege to induce a number of births and to relieve pain that was preventing proper contraction during labour and am please to say the results were fast and effective. My personal experience is also reflected in the medical evidence and studies conducted.
The Journal of Maternity Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, published a study in Aug 2006 conducted by Harper TC and others. The study was conducted to evaluate the utility of outpatient acupuncture for pregnancy and labour induction treatments.
The results were very encouraging. Compared to controls, women in the acupuncture group tended to be more 70% more likely to labor spontaneously and 39% less likely to deliver by cesarean section.
But this is not surprising; such evidence was available decades ago. One study conducted in 1977 and published in the Journal of Obstet Gynecol. Under the care of Tsuei JJ, Lai Y, Sharma SD, et all showed that Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Labour induction resulted in a success rate of 91.6%.
While yet another study with a more refined protocol published in the Journal of Gynecology, Obstetrics, Biology and Reproduction (Paris), in 1979 under the supervision of Fouques Duparc V and others showed a 100% SUCCESS RATE.
If you are pregnant and are concerned with labour pain, or the delivery, I strongly encourage you to consider Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Labour Induction treatments, to encourage labour, relieve pain and more.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Labour Induction treatment protocols that I provide or wish to start a course of treatment then please feel free to contact me or make an appointment where we can discuss any specific concerns or questions you may have.