Is there a way to help avoid epidurals and caesarian births?
Acupuncture has been used for centuries for women’s health issues including inability to conceive, morning sickness and breech baby. Many women seek acupuncture now also for late delivery and to prepare for their birth.
A famous Chinese physician from many centuries ago, Dr Xu Zi Cai (493-572 C.E.) details appropriate and incorrect foods to eat during the various stages of pregnancy as well advocating the importance of rest and avoid lifting heavy objects.
He also advocated the necessity to control the five emotions such as anger, worry and fear which is pretty well on par to the modern day concept of recommending the reducing of stress. Many pre-birth classes teach mindfulness and yoga to address this.
Debra Betts in her book, The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth says that midwives report that pre-birth acupuncture reduces the time spent in labour as well as a reduction in medical intervention.
Are there standardized acupuncture points used for pre-birthing?
There have been a number of studies demonstrating the reduction of labour time and hence forth some of these acupuncture treatments have become the “norm”. It is important to remember that “researched” point prescriptions are not necessarily always the best choice and these standard points have been selected to make their research “easier” for analysis and write up. There are some acupuncture points, however that are commonly selected and discussed below.
How do certain acupuncture points help for pre-birthing?
A commonly used acupuncture point used starting around week 36 is ironically a point Stomach 36 or known as zusanli in Chinese. Translated, this point means Three leg Mile which has been used for centuries as it has the reputation to give extra strength so that one can walk for an extra three miles. It is commonly used in the weeks leading up to the due date to treat the tiredness experienced by so many women in that last month as well as provide extra qi (energy) to help push the baby at birth time.
Gall Bladder 34, yang ling quan, is another acupuncture point close in proximity to stomach 36 below the knee that is used as part of a pre-birthing acupuncture treatment protocol. This point is known as the master point of ligaments and tendons and helps to moisten all sinews to help them loosen and stretch more easily. It is commonly used to treat any tendon or ligament injury as well as to soften up the pelvic ligaments prior to labour.
Bladder 60, kunlun, is used as the point has a descending action and thus helps the bring the baby down.
What other acupuncture points could be used for pre-birthing?
We ask Kane Monrad of Connect Therapies in East Hamilton. “It is important to regard the patient as a total individual with their own unique imbalances and problems. Some patients are generally very anxious and this is only compounded at birth time so its important to address these issues to allow the other energies in the body to not get drained. Acupuncture points in these instances could be Heart 7, shenmen or the extra point yintang in the forehead”.
Careers and work commitments will often see women working almost until the due date, which takes a heavy toll on the body’s energy and blood reserves. Kane Monrad says “Many of the women I see have been working quite hard late into their pregnancy, so they naturally need acupuncture points to promote supplementation of energy and I often use moxibustion for this as well“.
Where can I go for pre-birthing acupuncture in Hastings?
Heiko Lade, the author and director of The Acupuncture Clinic in Hastings has been in private practise for over 30 years.