Birth Preparation

Good birth preparation underpins pre-birth acupuncture treatments to get woman into the best possible condition for an optimal labour and birth.

No one has a crystal ball to predict how a labour might turn out. What every pregnant woman has at her disposal, however, is the power to prepare herself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually for giving birth. Appropriate education can help women gain confidence so that she can more toward birth free of fear.

The philosophy of prevention through good preparation underpins pre-birth acupuncture treatment as it aims to support a woman to get into the best possible condition for an optimal labour and birth.

  • Birth preparation
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Induction of labour
  • Breech presentation
  • overdue for dates / natural induction
  • Pain relief in labour
  • Calmbirth Prenatal Workshops

Using Chinese Medicine to prepare for natural childbirth

The use of acupuncture for the preparation of labour involves weekly treatment from 34 weeks gestation. All women anticipating birth whether vaginal or c-section may benefit from pre-birth acupuncture not only to prepare your body for birth but for the arrival of your little one and the energy required then.

If a woman has not experienced acupuncture before then the initial consultation will expose her to the experience of needling and prepare her for what to expect once the pre-birth treatment begins.

 

Acupuncture:

  • From week 34, weekly consultations with your acupuncturist can help you prepare physically and emotionally for birth, manage stress and improve your energy and stamina. Acupuncture also assists in preparing your cervix and uterus for birth, and helping your labour to start spontaneously and on time.
  • Our Acupuncturists have great success in turning malpositioned or breech babies. This is most effective if the treatment is undertaken between 34 and 37 weeks, and the earlier you begin, the greater likelihood of success.
  • Pre-birth acupuncture can serve as a springboard for acupuncture induction treatment, providing an alternative or adjudicative step to medical induction and can help to minimise the possibility of associated interventions. This is especially relevant for those whose pregnancies are overdue, those with gestational diabetes, large for dates, or those deemed necessary for early induction under medical advice. Even high risk or complicated pregnancies can benefit from pre birth acupuncture and may even enhance the ability to proceed to natural birth.
  • Acupressure points will be shown and a manual will be given to couples for pre reading to be prepared for labour.
  • Pre-birth treatment also provides a strong foundation for providing Chinese Medicine treatment and advice for recovery after birth, post-natal care and pediatric care if required.

Pre-birth treatment

Pre birth treatment usually involves two aspects. The primary treatment uses a standard combination of acupuncture points. The aim of treatment is to gently and progressively move the mother’s energy and blood circulation into her lower abdomen as the birth approaches.

Additional points are added to help soften and relax the ligaments and tendons and assist the baby to engage, laying the foundation for the safest, most efficient birth possible.

Secondary or extra acupuncture points are include to address symptoms if they manifest in the later stages of pregnancy such as haemorrhoids, oedema of the hands and feet, fatigue, heartburn, anxiety, sleep difficulty, tiredness, and back pain. Generally, the number of acupuncture points needled is kept to a minimum and gentle needling techniques are used so the natural process of childbirth is encouraged, not overwhelmed or interfered with.

The root cause of both malposition and malpresentation is considered in traditional Chinese medicine to result from a deficiency in Kidney energy. Again, acupuncture treatment can be used as a single method or used in conjunction prior to External Cephalic Version (ECV) which may be offered by your obstetrician. A baby in a persistent breach position, whether form a short cord or bicornuate ( heart shaped) uterus, will need appropriate preparation for caesarean section and acupuncture can assist in the preparation for surgery.

Moxibustion (which is the herb ‘Mugwort’) it is held above a specific acupuncture point to produce a focused radiant heat. It is recommended to have one treatment with your acupuncturist, who will also choose other points appropriate to your condition.  Self treatment with moxa for 10 days is then followed, this ensures that once turned the baby stays in optimal position

The mechanism of action of the treatment is unknown but here are some findings that suggest what is happening:

  • Adrenocortical stimulation
  • Increased placental oestrogens and changes in prostaglandin levels
  • Increased fetal activity
  • Relaxation of the uterine myometrium (muscle layer) making a more favorable environment for the fetus to move
  • Increased blood flow to the uterine and umbilical arteries

Pre-Birth treatment involves a series of four treatments weekly from 36 or 37 weeks to prepare for labour. Points are used according a woman’s constitution and pregnancy history. These include points to

  • cervical ripening
  • promote optimal energy and stamina for labour
  • help to shorten duration of labour
  • reduce the rate of caesarean sections and need for interventions
  • reduce the need for pain medications or epidurals
  • greater satisfaction with birth experience
  • boost energy and help with pain relief

Women who receive pre-birth acupuncture and do not go into labor spontaneously usually respond very well and quickly to induction either by acupuncture or medication.

Induction of labour

Acupuncture can provide a gentle inducement of labour when the baby is overdue.  It can be an effective alternative to Syntocinon drip or prostaglandin gel induction.

Acupuncture encourages the body to release hormones such as oxytocin and prostaglandins that initiate labour as well as encouraging the baby downward in the birth canal.

Many mothers find this treatment very relaxing, feeling calmer, more relaxed and have a more efficient labour.  One or more treatments are usually required.  As with the pre-birth treatment if you do not go into labour, you will respond well to medical induction.

Pain relief in labour

Acupuncture offers  pain relief during labour.

Acupuncture in Labour can help with:

  • Promoting efficient contractions
  • Encourage baby into optimal positioning
  • Aiding cervical ripening and dilation
  • Pain relief
  • Promote endorphin release (primal state) rather that adrenaline release (fear state)
  • Smoothing the transition between the 1st and 2nd stage of labour
  • To promote delivery of a retained placenta

Birth as a natural process

From a TCM point of view pain is caused when there is an obstruction on some level, for example the baby is not in optimal position, your pelvis may be misaligned or that you are in fear.  Fear releases adrenaline and makes your body contract and hold on.  When birthing you want your body to be releasing endorphins which relax the body.

Lainey is midwife, antenatal educator and calmbirth practitioner and provides many techniques to dispel fear, dissolve adrenaline and release endorphins.

If you would like to join a weekend workshop please book early so you attend between 28- 36 weeks at: Lotuscalmbirth