“Bring It On (Naturally), Baby!”
Acupuncture or Medical Induction?
When it’s best for you or for your baby that the baby is born soon, induction of labour may be scheduled. Reasons can be that:
– you have passed your due date
– the baby has grown too much or too little
– you are ill or that your waters have broken but contractions have not started
– other concerns about the health of your baby
I treat many patients who have been scheduled for a medical induction but who, themselves, want to encourage labour naturally. The good news is that in the majority of cases (88%, according to recent research) this is achieved through acupuncture.
But how do Induction by Acupuncture and Medical Induction differ?
They are, in fact, entirely different.
The western medical approach is to use a chemical injection of syntocinon and/or a prostaglandin pessary. These are synthetic hormones that create an immediate reaction to begin labour – whether or not the mother’s body and baby are ready, unfortunately. Contractions start almost instantly with syntocinon, making it a very predictable drug. While the effects of syntocinon on babies are not fully known there are a few side effects reported by the mothers, including nausea, postpartum haemorrhage, cardiac arrhythmia and pelvic haematoma.
Using acupuncture to induce labour is a wholly different experience. Japanese needles are inserted painlessly into locations in the hands and lower leg. The needles create a stimulation that promotes the body’s production of oxytocin, a hormone responsible for the natural experience of labour, and prepares the body for natural childbirth.
Acupuncture treatment is best started two or three, or even four, days before the procedure. It is typical that our patients will go naturally into labour during the day before the scheduled chemical (medical) induction.
Posted by Niall O’Leary
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