Tori's Blog

Acupuncture Does Not Help Induce Labor

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

I was in a nail salon not long ago and a very pregnant woman was sitting with her feet soaking in hot water asking the woman working with her to be very careful so as not to put her into labor. She mentioned several acupressure points on the feet that induce labor. I was very tempted to launch fully into my “no, no, it does not” speech but instead decided to stay quiet.

The pregnant woman started explaining how certain acupressure points stimulate the body to begin contractions or cause the amniotic membranes to rupture. A very lively discussion ensued with great concern taken to be certain not to let this happen. I am surprised the salon woman even agreed to finish her pedicure after hearing all of this.

Unfortunately, articles such as this say  things like “recently acupuncture and acupressure have been widely researched and discussed in Western countries, for its amazing effectiveness to strengthen labor and facilitate the entire process of childbirth”. Well actually, not really. Although, both acupuncture and acupressure have been long studied, there does not seem to be good evidence that it either induces labor or causes labor to be shorter or more effective.

As you know I feel very strongly about helping women understand that labor and birth are natural, somewhat random and highly unpredictable. Which means, we don’t drive the train.  What science helps us do is to sort out and prove a belief or a theory. Because I believe something works does not mean that it actually does. If I eat spicy pizza (because I have heard that it works) and then go into labor, I will say “Wow! It does work” but when we look at 100 women – half who eat the pizza and half that don’t and the same number in each group go into labor, we see that it is random.

Again, I just have to say about labor, “Ride the train, let things happen, try to let go of expectations of how it should be and welcome your baby into the world.

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