Can acupuncture be used in labour?
Find out whether acupuncture is safe to be used during a natural birth.
I’m a first-time mum-to-be and keen to have as natural a birth as possible. I’d like to try acupuncture; have you ever seen it used in labour?
I’ve never seen acupuncture being used but I’ve looked after many women who have used it. This has mainly been in the antenatal period, to help with anything from morning sickness to inducing labour.
Many alternative therapies claim to help you deal with labour, but at the moment scientific evidence is not available for me to be able to recommend many of them. There is evidence suggesting acupuncture may help the many minor problems of pregnancy and birth, but it’s not conclusive.
If you really do want to try acupuncture, the risks and side effects are minimal, but I’d advise that you ensure the practitioner is properly trained and experienced.
A natural birth is more achievable if you understand what your body will be going through and what strategies you might use to deal with difficult situations. My tips are that you attend antenatal classes with your birth partners; make a flexible birth plan; eat little and often and keep well hydrated; stay at home for as long as possible; and consider using water to help you through the first stage (showers and baths are proven to be as good as an opioid drug in helping you with the pain).
Have a look at the NHS website for further advice on managing labour and birth – to find out more go to nhs.uk and search for pain relief in labour.