acupuncture has been used for everything from treating arthritis to providing cold and flu relief. Now studies are showing that acupuncture can be a beneficial and safe alternative for inducing labor in expectant mothers. Using acupuncture to induce labor in over due mothers, is a less invasive and safer method than taking Pitocin, a drug typically used in hospitals.
Currently, a research study is being conducted at the University of North Carolina to measure acupuncture ability to trigger labor in over due mothers. The ongoing study will provide women five treatments over the course of a few weeks. Women who are treated will either be needled using real acupuncture points, or in trigger points that are not though to affect labor.
Using acupuncture is a much softer and easier approach to inducing labor. Chinese medicine identifies more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected with pathways called meridians that conduct vital energy or qi throughout the body. Acupuncture trigger points to induce labor include points on the back, above the ankle, and specific points on the hand. By needling these points, the body's qi is stimulated, and helps prepare the body to begin labor. The only side effect to using this treatment is potential light bruising at the needle points.
When the drug Pitocin is used, it creates a strong reaction, inducing labor almost immediately. While the effects this drug may have on the unborn child have not yet been determined, the side effects for the mother can range from nausea and vomiting, to experiencing more serious conditions such as postpartum hemorrhaging, cardiac arrhythmia's, and pelvic hematoma.
As more women seek drug-free treatment for the conditions of pregnancy, acupuncture can be a beneficial tool for not only inducing labor, but also to relieve nausea, and back pain related to pregnancy.