Acupuncture for labor induction is safe for both the mother and baby as long as there are no serious complications with the pregnancy. It is most effective starting the week before the baby's due date. Several studies show a success rate of over 70%.
The most common Western method of labor induction uses synthetic Pitocin to jump- start labor. Pitocin will start contractions whether the mother's body is ready or not. Because the mother's body is not always ready, labor fails to progress 40-50% of the time, starting a chain of events that can lead to a caesarean section. Synthetic Pitocin also has other serious risks, including fetal distress and cardiac arrhythmia. In addition, most women find that Pitocin causes very intense and painful labor.
Labor induction with acupuncture stimulates uterine contractions and softens the cervix. The treatment starts a hormonal process which stimulates the mother's body to release prostaglandins and oxytocin, the natural hormone that Pitocin mimics. As a result, it is a much more gentle and natural process than Western induction. Because of this, the effects are not instantaneous, as they are in Western induction. Depending on how far into pre-labor the mother's body is determines the number of treatments needed. Some women only need one or two treatments, while others may need several treatments for real labor to start.
Ideally, please reach out around week 36 to schedule and begin gentle induction treatments. Unfortunately there is not always room in the schedule for last minute requests for "overdue" mamas. Please plan accordingly.
Pain Management during Labor
If your doctor or midwife allows acupuncture during labor, Kali can be available for acupressure or acupuncture treatments either at your home or at the hospital or birthing center. Acupuncture during labor helps with relaxation, stimulates the mother's body to release prostaglandins and oxytocin to increase uterine contractions, helps the cervix to dilate, and relieves anxiety and pain associated with labor.
According to the American Journal for Obstetrics and Gynecology, several clinical trials show that acupuncture significantly reduces pain associated with childbirth. In the 496 women who received acupuncture during labor, there was a 30% decrease in the need for pain-relieving interventions, including epidurals, than in women not receiving acupuncture. Among the women who received acupuncture, 86% said that they would use acupuncture for labor pain management again."