The Use of Acupuncture in Labour

Labour is defined as the onset of regular uterine contractions with dilation of the cervix. Labour can start in different ways. For some women, it is the amniotic fluid that starts to leak. For others, it is the start of contractions that indicate an upcoming labour. As per TCM principles, the end of pregnancy is characterized by a shift from Yin phase to Yang phase. Yang energy expels yin and pushes out the baby downward. A healthy balance of qi and blood are necessary for a harmonious delivery.

The amniotic membrane provides protection for the baby in utero. Once the water breaks, there may be a risk of infection unless the baby is delivered. If contractions do not begin naturally, in the clinic they are stimulated by administering a form of Oxytocin. With this approach, there may be a risk of contractions being too strong. Often inducing by administering oxytocin medically leads to a surgical caesarean delivery.

Acupuncture can help in cases of delayed labor that result from abnormal uterine contractions. It can stimulate or regulate the contractions when they are absent or progressing slowly. It can help the baby descend into the pelvic cavity. If labor is delayed due to emotional stress, acupuncture can help relieve the tension by moving the stagnant liver Qi. Certain back points also help stimulate the muscles of the uterus and in the process can help relieve back pain. Acupuncture does indeed give good results in cases of difficult labor.

Another commonly seen benefit of acupuncture towards the end of pregnancy is in cases of breech presentations. It occurs in 2-4 % of pregnant women. Often the delivery of breech babies ends up being via caesarean section as well. The use of moxibustion in such cases helps turn the baby from breech to a cephalic position. The effectiveness of moxibustion in positioning the baby naturally has been the subject of numerous clinical trials and research. Treatment is usually started at about 34-week gestation and is done for 15 minutes each day for about 10 days.

Acupuncture has increasingly become popular for women in childbirth today. It offers natural pain relieving techniques and no harmful side effects for the mother or the baby. Also, women feel they are involved and in control during the labour process.

Also, come and join us for our Healthy Pregnancy Seminar series.  To learn more about this event, visit


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