We see many women at various stages of pregnancy at our clinic – what is particularly rewarding is seeing women in the last few weeks as they prepare for the big day. Acupuncture is well known for it’s ‘labour inductions’ – but what does this actually involve?

Well for starters, it is a very gentle form of acupuncture as pregnancy often makes women more sensitive to stimulus. We make sure you are in a comfy position on the couch with your back raised and supported by blankets and cushions. The obvious points in an acupuncturists mind are Hegu and SanYinJiao. This combination of points is in fact forbidden throughout pregnancy because of the supposed strong action on the uterus. The only other time these might be used are straight after embryo transfer in IVF – before implantation. Hegu is on the fleshy mound between the thumb and index finger. SanYinJiao is just above the ankle of the inside of each leg.

Other points can be added in depending on the tongue and pulse diagnosis, and once they are all in it is just a case of lying there and relaxing! It can take between 1-3 acupuncture sessions to get things going – though I rarely need to do more than 2. Baby can suddenly get quite active during the session – though it usually settles down towards the final few minutes!

I often see first time mums who still have a low level anxiety about labour despite attending all the NCT classes and reading every book available on the subject – this is normal! For second time round mums it is often a case that they haven’t got time to prepare for labour – they are so busy looking after small people, and suddenly they find themselves at 39 weeks without realising! Acupuncture is great because it plugs you in fully to your parasympathetic nervous system – the part responsible for dilation and relaxing! Using your breath to connect with the parasympathetic is also excellent in the run up to labour. Set aside 10 minutes each day and take long deep full breathes somewhere peaceful or in nature. Common advice to women who are overdue is ‘walk walk walk and then walk some more’. In Chinese medicine we say the opposite. Fine have a little gentle stroll around BUT! – Conserve your energy, you’re going to need it! I see too many exhausted women who are walking miles each day to avoid a medical induction date.

For an acupuncture ‘induction’ you need to make sure baby’s head is down and that the placenta is not covering the cervix. You also need to have been cleared for a vaginal delivery by your midwife.

At The Complementary Health Care Clinic we have a gift vouchers available which combine reflexology, craniosacral therapy and acupuncture together. They are the perfect gift for a mum-to-be! Three hours of relaxing complementary therapy from experienced practitioners especially good from week 36 onwards.