Anyone who is, or has been pregnant knows that pregnancy is actually not nine months — it’s forty long weeks and sometimes (especially for first time moms) it can be even longer.
But once you reach full term (which most doctors agree is 39 weeks and onward) you’ll probably do anything to get the baby safely born, and stat.
While certain medical conditions may require a medical induction — use of various strategies and medications to start labor when the body won’t start on its own — there are other ways to prep and prime your body for labor too, including acupuncture.
Through the process of acupuncture, the production of oxytocin can be produced, AKA the magic hormone that initiates labor. The strategic placement of acuneedles can, and often does lead to cervical ripening, dilation, and effacement which can begin the labor process for those who have not yet begun.
Acupuncture can also help to strengthen and further dilate the cervix for those in early or prodromal labor, which can last from hours to days to weeks.
Stimulating blood flow, production of oxytocin, balancing qi and promoting relaxation are all direct ways that your body can, and will respond to acupuncture while still being a safe way to induce. (As long as you are full term, that is.) While relaxation can sound nearly impossible when you’re due date is either fast approaching or has come and gone, the state of the body really does come into play as to whether labor will begin or not.
In addition to acupuncture, acupressure (also known as reflexology) can be effective as well. Incorporated into a prenatal massage or as a standalone treatment, specific points along the body can be stimulated to help initiative or strengthen contractions throughout early labor.
When both therapies are used together, though, they typically yield productive results.
And hey — what pregnant woman would turn down a massage?