Cervical Ripening Acupuncture
Acupuncture is very helpful for labor preparation; it helps to soften the cervix, reduces labor time and encourages labor to start near (typically still after) the due date.
A randomized controlled trial in 2001 by Rabl and team that included 45 women studied the effect of acupuncture on cervical ripening in the hope of reducing inductions. The findings showed that acupuncture helped to ripen the cervix and it shortened the time between the due date and the actual delivery date; this decreased the need for a medical inductions. (1)
149 women in New Zealand were monitored by their midwives for the 4 months leading up to birth. They were measuring gestation at onset of labour, incidence of medical induction, length of labour, use of analgesia, and type of delivery. The results were that when compared with the local population rates, there was an overall 35% reduction in the number of inductions (for women in their first pregnancy, this was a 43% reduction); 31% reduction in the epidural rate; 32% reduction in emergency cesarean delivery; and a 9% increase in normal vaginal birth. (2)
In 1998, a study found that acupuncture treatments from 36 weeks on wards had a positive effect on shortening the first stage of labour, which is defined from 3cm cervical dilation to complete dilation of 10cm. The acupuncture group had labour's that lasted on average of 196 minutes compared to the control group of 321 minutes.(3)
(1)Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P. Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a randomised controlled trail. Wien Klin Wochenschr 2001; 113 (23-24): 942-6