How Long After Acupressure Does Labor Start?
There is no definitive answer to this question. However, many women report that they feel the benefits of Acupressure during labor for up to 12 hours after treatment. If you use Acupressure to induce labor, you may begin to feel the effects within a few hours of treatment.
Speak with your healthcare provider about what to expect if you are using Acupressure for this purpose.
A pregnant woman who has chosen acupuncture and moxibustion (and Chinese herbal medicine) as her method of promoting healthy and easy labor should receive treatment early on in the pregnancy – around the 3rd month – probably monthly until 34 weeks, then every two weeks up to 36 weeks gestation, and perhaps as much as weekly as she enters her last trimester. This will be determined by an experienced acupuncturist based on the individual’s health history, constitution, and lifestyle.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) explanation for how acupuncture encourages labor is that it helps to “tonify Qi and blood, move the fetus and open the channels.” In other words, acupuncture needles help energetically restore balance in the pregnant woman, encouraging her body to labor naturally.
It should be noted that there is not a lot of high-quality research on this topic, but what does exist seems to support the idea that acupuncture can help promote healthy labor.
A Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice study looked at 70 pregnant women scheduled for Cesarean section deliveries. The women were randomly divided into two groups: one received standard medical care plus three acupuncture sessions during their pregnancies, while the other received standard care alone.
The acupuncture group reported less pain during labor, experienced less anxiety, and was more satisfied with their Cesarean sections than the control group.
Another study published in Acupuncture in Medicine looked at 45 pregnant women who either did or did not receive acupuncture treatments after being diagnosed with a breech presentation of their babies. This condition occurs when a baby’s feet or buttocks are present before the head instead of beside the head (which is expected).
A follow-up appointment determined that an additional ten women from each group underwent Cesarian section deliveries due to “postural abnormalities” (in other words, because their unborn children could not shift into a position conducive to a natural birth).
Of the 35 participants whose babies did not show signs of postural abnormalities, six received acupuncture treatments, and none in the control group could deliver vaginally (the “control” group was exposed to the same number of acupuncture sessions as those who did receive the treatment).
It is important to note that although these studies seem promising, they did not use randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which represent the gold standard for clinical research.
As such, we cannot make any firm conclusions about how effective acupuncture is in encouraging labor when used or in conjunction with other methods of promoting healthy childbirth without considering all related factors. More high-quality research is needed before definitive statements regarding its efficacy.
However, it should also be noted that acupuncture has certain risks. The National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that women at risk of going into labor too early or who have a history of miscarriages should not receive acupuncture treatments.
Additionally, pregnant women with high-risk pregnancies – such as those involving multiple fetuses, diabetes, severe anemia, or late-term fetal growth restriction – should be wary about using this or any other complementary therapy.
Finally, it is essential to note that no matter what method a woman chooses to promote healthy childbirth – whether it is pharmaceuticals, natural therapies, or a combination of the two – it is ultimately her responsibility to consult with her healthcare provider to make sure that she is doing what is best for herself and her unborn child.
There are several different ways that acupuncture can be used to encourage labor. Some women receive acupuncture treatments weeks before their due date, while others opt for treatments during work.
Additionally, some women may use acupuncture to promote healthy childbirth, such as taking pharmaceuticals or using natural therapies.
These approaches have different benefits and drawbacks; it is ultimately up to each pregnant woman to decide which is right for her. However, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks involved with each option before deciding.
So far, two studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals that suggest acupuncture may be effective in encouraging labor. The first study, published in the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, looked at 80 pregnant women randomized into two groups.
One group received four doses of acupuncture during their pregnancies, while the other received standard care alone. The acupuncture group reported less pain during labor, experienced less anxiety, and was more satisfied with their Cesarean sections than the control group.