Acupuncture is often recommended by midwives to induce labour in a more natural way than the chemical induction which triggers the contractions but without the natural simultaneous release of home-made painkillers, leading to an unpleasant experience and often a cascade of medical intervention ending up in emergency C-section or forceps delivery.
However, inducing labour by acupuncture is truly beneficial only if the ensuing labour is efficient. Inducing labour when the baby’s position is not optimal for delivery or when there is another underlying condition is not recommended as, yes the acupuncture treatment will result in a successful induction, but the labour might be difficult.
It is therefore very important for acupuncturists to understand that before doing induction treatments, the body of the pregnant woman must be in an optimal state. Otherwise, the acupuncturist needs to treat the underlying condition (which in itself might prevent labour from starting) before anything else.
To this purpose, it is often recommended for pregnant women to have weekly preparatory acupuncture session from week 37. However, unless expressly recommended by the midwives or consultant, explicit consent must be given by them to the acupuncturist before any treatment is done.
Other than induction, the other “popular” acupuncture treatment is the needling and application of moxa on BL67 on the small toe to turn the baby. Again, explicit consent must be provided by the midwife before any treatment is done.