Acupuncture : Natural Way to Induce Labor

Giving Your Baby a Push with TCM – Acupuncture, Acupressure and Moxibustion

Bringing a new life into this world is one of life’s most precious and powerful moments. For pregnant women who have reached their due date and are looking forward to the birth of their baby, natural induction techniques may be a good option. Acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular as a method to induce labor. In this article, we will explore acupuncture as a means to stimulate labor and discuss its benefits, how it’s done, the sensation involved, essential pressure points, and ultimately, its potential as a safe and effective method for encouraging childbirth. By the conclusion of this article, you should have gained a better understanding of acupuncture, acupressure and moxibustion benefits in the induction of labor. Prior to engaging in these sessions, consult with your OB/GYN or midwife to make sure that the treatment is in accordance with your general care plan.

What Is Labor Induction and Why It’s Done?

Labor induction initiates contractions in the uterus before labor can begin on its own. It is mainly advised in cases when there is a concern for the health of the mother or the unborn child.

Some of the reasons for inducing labor are post-term pregnancy (approaching 1 to 2 weeks past the due date with no signs of labor), pre-labor rupture (labor does not start after the water bursts), low levels of amniotic fluid, gestational diabetes, delayed fetal growth, etc.

If your doctor or midwife has advised you to induce labor, you have the choice of requesting either a conventional medical or holistic induction.

Conventional medical labor induction types include sweeping the membranes, medication, rupturing the amniotic sac and mechanical dilation. However, medically induced labor might not be suitable for every expectant mother. For example, pregnant women with placenta previa or those who already had a C-section or a major uterine surgery should opt for natural procedures.

Plenty of post-term pregnant women will resort to complementary or alternative medicine to help trigger the start of childbirth. Acupuncture is one of the most popular methods for inducing labor naturally. Administered on its own or in combination with moxibustion, it is believed to improve cervical readiness for childbirth.

Understanding Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice in which very thin needles are applied to specific points on the body to encourage healing and improve energy balance. The purpose of this therapeutic method is to restore the flow of Qi energy along the meridians of the body which is important for the physical and emotional well-being. Acupuncture has become increasingly accepted in Western medicine due to its efficient reduction of pain, relieving stress, and treating various medical conditions.

When used for induction of labor, acupuncture stimulates specific points that are thought to activate the secretion of hormones, including oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that is essential for initiating labor contractions. Acupuncture utilizes the body’s natural mechanisms to provide various benefits, such as drug-free treatment, the potential to reduce the need for medical interventions, and increased confidence during childbirth.

Makari Wellness: Leading Provider of Acupuncture Treatments for Inducing Labor in San Diego and Oceanside

If you are looking for an integrative and natural approach of Complementary and Functional medicine, you have come to the right place! Makari Wellness is run by Michael Woodworth M.S. L. Ac, Dipl., a certified and licensed practitioner with extensive experience in this field.  He has the necessary qualifications and knowledge to administer the treatment in a safe and effective manner. With his profound knowledge and years of experience, he has mastered the art of acupuncture, herbal medicine, Active Release Technique (ART), moxibustion, and many more, consistently delivering exceptional results to his patients. Makari Wellness stands out as a true leader in Functional medicine field, offering nurturing and supportive environment for women seeking acupuncture for labor induction, breech presentation, and other pregnancy-related issues. We strive to provide you with the highest quality of internal and external medical care from both East and West Natural Medicine. Our mission is to assist you and your loved ones in achieving the best possible life.

Contact us at (888) 871-8889 and let Mike and Makari Wellness improve your well-being by client-centered holistic approach to inducing childbirth.

How Its Done: A Step-by-Step Guide to Acupuncture for Labor Induction

Acupuncture for Labor Induction typically begins with a consultation with a certified acupuncture practitioner, Michael Woodworth M.S. L. Ac, Dipl. of Macari Wellness. You can send your inquiries here or directly book your appointment. The practitioner will collect information about your pregnancy, medical history, and the current state of your health. Following this, we will create a tailored treatment plan to meet your specific requirements. During the session, the acupuncturist will insert ultra-fine needles into certain points on your body to promote contractions and prepare your body for childbirth. The needles are usually kept in place for approximately 20-30 minutes to allow the body to respond to therapy.

The procedure is simple and easy, and it involves 5 key steps:

1.      Preparation

The practitioner will place you in a comfortable position prior to the procedure, usually lying down. An alcohol swab will be used to clean the chosen acupoints to ensure proper hygiene.

2.      Needle Placement

The second step of the procedure is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the chosen acupoints. The practitioner will gently and rapidly place the needles, ensuring that the desired depth is reached. He will usually use about 20 needles. The sensation of needle insertion is often referred to as a gentle pinch or prick.

3.      Needle Handling

Once the acupuncturist has positioned the needles, he may gently manipulate them to create a therapeutic reaction. This routine may include twirling, or the lifting and lowering of the needles. Depending on your response and desired outcome, the intensity and frequency may vary.

4.      Supervised Retention

After the needles have been optimally positioned, they are usually left in place for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. You should relax and rest during this period. The practitioner will supervise your reaction to the procedure and ensure you are comfortable. You can expect him to check on you several times during the session.

5.      Needle Removing

When the recommended time has passed, the needles will be carefully removed. The removal is typically painless and swift, so you should not feel any discomfort.

Most Common Acupuncture Points for Labor Induction

Spleen 6 (SP6)

It is situated on the inner side of the lower leg, approximately 4 fingers above the inner ankle bone and is widely regarded as a critical factor in the induction of labor and the regulation of the menstrual cycle.

Bladder 32 (BL32)

You will find this acupuncture point in the sacral area, between the 2nd and 3rd sacral foramina, and is associated with uterine contractions.

Bladder 67 (BL67)

This acupuncture point is located on the outer rim of the fifth toenail. It is usually used when the baby is breech, but it can also be used for labor induction.

Acupuncture to Induce Labor: How Long Does It Take?

How many sessions of acupuncture do you need for labor induction? The amount of time it takes for acupuncture to produce labor varies between women. Some women experience effects immediately, while others need several sessions. Generally, majority of women experience changes within 24-48 hours following their first acupuncture session. It is important to note that every pregnancy is different, and each person’s reaction to acupuncture may be different. The treatment plan will depend on your individual situation and your body’s reaction.

Addressing Concerns about Acupuncture: Does It Hurt?

Many people wonder whether acupuncture is painful. The truth is it is not, as acupuncture needles are incredibly thin, so there is little to no pain when administering them. In fact, most of the time, the only sensation you will feel is a mild tingling or pressure. Generally, the procedure is safe and gentle, creating a calming atmosphere to ensure a pleasant experience for the expectant mothers.

Acupuncture With Moxibustion to Induce Labor

Acupuncture coupled with moxibustion is used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat numerous health conditions, including labor induction. The purpose of integrating these two techniques together is to provide a better outcome.

Here’s an overview of how they work together to induce labor:

Certain acupoints trigger contractions and aid in the induction of labor. These points may include Spleen (6), Large Intestine (4), Bladder (32) and Bladder (67), among others. Activating them by acupuncture is believed to aid in hormonal regulation and facilitating uterine contraction. Moxibustion involves burning wooden sticks or dried mugwort leaves (moxa) to propel the energy and circulation of blood in the pelvic area and uterus. Moxibustion heats up strategic points, which is thought to help with contractions and cervical development.

Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Breech Baby Position

In a typical pregnancy, the baby is positioned head-down by the end of the last trimester. However, in certain circumstances, the baby does not change into a head-down position, with the baby’s buttocks or feet being positioned to come out first.  This position is also known as breech. Acupuncture, as well as moxibustion, can be used to encourage the baby to position itself head-down again.

Studies suggest that the stimulation of BL67 and SI1 acupoints between 32 to 35 weeks of gestation may facilitate the movement of the baby, resulting in a head-down position.

Moxibustion or burning an herb “moxa” is usually performed near Bladder 67 point. The heat generated is believed to support the movement of the baby.

The exact ways in which acupuncture can help a breech child is not fully understood, however, it is believed that these methods may influence the circulation of energy (Qi) and blood throughout the body, thus altering the fetal position.

Acupuncture vs. Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure are both ancient forms of healing that work with the meridians (energy pathways) in the body. Acupuncture means inserting needles, while acupressure involves applying pressure to strategic points on your body by fingers, thumbs, or massage tools. Acupuncture tends to be more precise than acupressure, as the needles can penetrate deeper into the tissue creating a stronger effect. However, acupressure is a more accessible form of self-care for expectant mothers or their partners.

Spleen 6 (SP6), located above the inner ankle, Bladder 60 (BL60), located behind the ankle bone, Large Intestine 4 (LI4), located between the thumb and index finger, and Bladder 67 (BL67), located in the pinky toe corner, are all possible acupressure points to stimulate during the treatment.

Benefits of Using Acupuncture to Induce Labor

It is Natural Treatment

Acupuncture is a natural and drug-free method of inducing labor, which may be attractive to women who prefer to stay away from medical interventions or are looking for a more holistic approach to childbirth. By promoting the body’s natural processes, acupuncture may enhance the likelihood of natural labor and labor progression without the requirement for medical interventions, such as induction with synthetic drugs or induced rupture of membranes.

Stimulation of Natural Hormones

It is believed that acupuncture supports the production of hormones, including oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for triggering contractions by stimulating specific points of the body. Acupuncture encourages propelling the body’s natural hormones without the need for synthetic hormones.

Relaxation and Stress Relief

During pregnancy, many women experience heightened levels of stress and anxiety, which can be quite difficult to manage. Acupuncture sessions provide a tranquil and soothing environment that can help pregnant women to reduce stress and tension. This, in turn, can help prepare the body for childbirth and support a more positive birthing experience.

Fostering Empowerment through Active Participation

By opting for acupuncture as an induction method, women can actively initiate their own labor. The feeling of power can boost self-esteem and feelings of well-being, allowing future mothers to feel more in control of their birth experience.

Shorter Labor

Some studies show that women who are induced with acupuncture may have shorter labor times than those who are not. Although the results may differ from person to person, this potential benefit may be significant for women who are looking for a more comfortable and smoother childbirth experience.

Maternal-Infant Bonding

Maternal-infant bonding starts with gentle birth. When acupuncture is used to induce labor, a mother can make an initial connection with her newborn in a relaxed state, creating a nurturing and loving atmosphere.


Acupuncture for labor induction provides an alternative method to assist women during the last trimester. The sessions offer a tranquil and calming atmosphere, which can lead to enhanced mental health. The non-intrusive nature combined with its personalized approach, provides a holistic approach that complements conventional medical care. By concentrating on specific acupuncture points, this ancient practice may induce contractions, promote cervical ripening, and encourage a more efficient labor process. If you are looking for a gentle and drug-free way to induce labor, acupuncture is an excellent choice. It addresses both the physical and mental aspects of labor, providing a tranquil and supportive atmosphere for childbirth.

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