Inducing Labor Through Acupuncture: How It’s Done

inducing labor
Photo by ethan.john on / CC BY-NC-ND


Why is it necessary to induce labor?

Sometimes, a woman’s pregnancy may reach the full term of 40 weeks with no signs that she’s going to give birth soon. When this happens, her doctor may give her the option of inducing labor using artificial means. In dire situations, pregnant women are sometimes heavily encouraged into giving their consent to a set of procedures. Doctors cite dangers to the mother’s life and/or the infant’s if labor takes any longer. These dangers include pre-eclampsia and stillbirth.


However, artificial means of inducing labor, such as using the drug pitocin, are not without dangers of their own. In fact, it can sometimes be more dangerous than waiting a few more days for natural labor, and it causes labor pain to be that much greater in many women. More often than not, agreeing to one intervention would precipitate the necessity for more, including but not limited to needing an epidural and having to go under the knife for a C-section delivery.



Why choose acupuncture for inducing labor?

For thousands of years, traditional medicine practitioners in China have been using acupuncture to induce labor naturally. Since the introduction of traditional Chinese medicine in the West, its methods of healing—primarily acupuncture—have been seeing a steady rise in proponents and patients alike. This is also true in the arena of women’s health. In terms of women’s health, it’s not just the overall balance of the energy in the body that acupuncture seeks to restore but also its reproductive function.


Acupuncture is highly ideal as a complement or alternative to conventional medicine. Not only does it help promote fertility and induce labor, it also poses very little risk.


Learn about how acupuncture improves fertility.


acupuncture for labor
Acupuncture can help expectant mothers prepare for giving birth.


When inducing labor using acupuncture, the use of very thing needles stimulate several key points in the body. Among other things, doing this promotes the production of hormones needed to signal the body to prepare itself for giving birth. An example of such a hormone is oxytocin, the very same one that makes up the drug pitocin, which is the chemical that induces contractions. Another group of hormones that acupuncture can stimulate is prostaglandins, which trigger the softening of the cervix. This, in due time, may allow a less painful and completely natural delivery.



The effects of acupuncture

But how quickly do the effects set in? While it may greatly differ from case to case, it almost certainly doesn’t happen during the acupuncture treatment, and most women would require getting multiple treatments before there are results. Sometimes, when the fetus or the mother is under stress, the induction of labor at 37 weeks is recommended. In these cases, the mother may have to undergo up to four acupuncture treatments in total.


Acupuncture works more as a preparation for the mother’s body to reach the ideal state for giving birth. It can also serve as a therapeutic measure to lessen anxiety and stress. That said, there have been instances when birth occurred just a few hours after one treatment. If for nothing else, the benefit to their mental and emotional state could already mean so much for a woman who’s expecting a blessing to arrive any day and would wish for no harm to come to them.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


About acupuncture in Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

One of the main specialties of the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic is women’s health, particularly  female reproduction. As one of Master Richard Tan’s last students, Tram Pham, L.Ac. is a proponent of the Balance Method of distal healing which she harmoniously combines with other traditional Chinese medicine’s modalities such as herbal medicines, moxibustion, acupressure or tui na, and fire cupping in order to effectively address diverse types of conditions. Tram uses premium Japanese needles for acupuncture, which are finer than other kinds and thus offer minimal pain.


The clinic also operates an Herbal Pharmacy that offers many other all-natural remedies. These include herbs, powders, pills, medicinal teas, and other all-natural remedies. You can set an appointment and visit us at the clinic, or schedule a consultation via video or phone call. We also offer the service of mailing your prescribed herbal medicines if you live outside of the Santa Barbara area.