Labour induction is a treatment I have been doing at least a few times a week for the past 13 years. One of the first things women ask is how does it work and what are we trying to accomplish with the acupuncture pre-birth treatments. I thought it may be easier to blog this as I have this conversation a couple times a week.
Using the word induction can be a bit misleading. We are not trying to put someone into labour- even though often the woman is at the end of her rope and wants to get this baby out! The purpose rather is to ripen both the baby and the woman’s body faster.
There can be different reasons why some women are taking longer than others. I have had some who are lacking enough energy to bring on labour. Sometimes there is muscular tension holding the baby in. And sometimes it is just impatience on either the part of the woman or her medical team. So are trying to do is speed the process upon ripening up and correct any imbalance that may be impeding the labour form beginning. It is not start lot start labour before the baby is done cooking or the cervix is ripe and open.
Acupuncture helps this by:
-encourages the ripening of the cervix,
-encourages the lungs of the baby to speed up their final growth spurt and send a signal to the mother to begin labour.
-helps to relax the pelvic floor to allow the baby to drop and of course exit
-strengthens her energy to get this process going.
-helps to facilitate the process of labour (makes it easier)
-speeds up labour time
-decreases the chances of medical intervention
The time it takes to accomplish this will vary according to where the woman is in her process. Sometimes it takes a few days and a couple treatments and sometimes they leave and are in labour in a couple hours. It really depends on where they at.
I also often get asked about castor oil. This is commonly used to bring on labour. Usually it is around a tablespoon of oil in a glass of orange juice, shaken well and drank ever 4-5 hours. This tends to bring on diarrhea so make sure to be near a washroom. But as a fair warning it can also cause the baby to have a bowel movement in utero which can cause complications. So it is not something I advise rushing into. In fact don’t use that before 40 weeks if at all. There are much safer ways to help induce labour- such as Acupuncture!