I’m sorry, what was that? A quarter, like 25%, you mean 1 in 4? Erm, yep. Given babies naturally only want to go one way (and no, Yazz, the only way isn’t up) and the very best, most efficient way to deliver most babies is by a woman going into labour spontaneously, the current rate of induction seems more than risk averse, it seems like some sci-fi Handmaid’s Tale kinda shit is going down.
So as you might imagine, it’s no exaggeration to say I get enquiries every week from women looking for ‘induction’ with acupuncture, understandably keen as they are to avoid more intrusive procedures.
So how can acupuncture help? Well I will say now it’s not a magic bullet. If a baby isn’t ready to make an appearance then one treatment a day before an induction is booked may not be enough to tip you into labour. What we are trying to do when we meet women in the later stages of pregnancy is encourage her cervix to ripen. And like all fruits when they ripen, well, you can imagine…
Things that might stop that happening? Working up to the last minute, fear or anxiety, not feeling ready, home improvements (I can’t tell you the number of couples I know who are expecting a baby and then undertake major home renovation projects, or a house move) – basically anything that messes with your adrenalin and cortisol levels (ie stress) can affect the hormones that help your body transition to the next stage.
The very best way to help you avoid induction in my opinion is to support your body in the final weeks of pregnancy time with acupuncture, reflexology, or better still, both. Pre-birth acupuncture from 38 weeks (see HERE for a dedicated post about this) is a wonderful way to support your body in the final weeks and encourage the ripening process. It could also help you deal with sleeplessness, anxiety around the birth, or what happens after the birth (yes madam, that’s yours now, yes, you have to take it home and keep it alive), and any other shifts and changes that might be experienced.
Now, please let me be clear, I don’t mind one way or the other if you choose induction. It’s your right, your decision, your body, your baby and your birth experience. So you get to choose. And in some cases, for some women and their babies, it is absolutely the safest option. For the rest of us, I say try acupuncture in the final weeks of pregnancy. It’s like putting a banana in the fruit bowl.