Natural Induction using Acupuncture
Andrew Orr discusses a study that has taken him two years to complete, and is still going – Most of the women that have come for natural induction technique using acupuncture have been from the birthing centre (Royal Brisbane Hospital). They accounted for 85% of the group with others coming from referrals from other hospitals or word of mouth.
I started my own research to see how effective acupuncture could be in inducing labour in overdue mothers to be. The stipulations were as follows.
1. Had to be 40 weeks and over
2. Had to have a Midwife’s or doctors approval
3. All patients had to fill in a research questionnaire after the sessions
4. Patients were told that two sessions maybe needed
One hundred and twenty women came to see me in the two years duration. Out of the group of 110 went into labour after having the acupuncture. Of the group of 110, only 20 had to have the second treatment of acupuncture, which meant that 90 of the women went in to labour after their first treatment.
15 failed to go into labour and needed medical intervention. Out of the 15 that failed to go into labour, 10 had to be medically induced with prior babies. This meant that using acupuncture to stimulate labour in overdue mothers to be had a success rate of 88%. This showed that acupuncture can still be effective today as it has been for over thousands of years.
While I was working in the Hospitals in China, induction using acupuncture was given for 3-hour intervals with the needles being attached to an electro-muscle stimulator at 3 Hz. This was done everyday till onset of labour and that acupuncture was used to help speed up the labour process and relieve pain.
With my research, needles were only inserted for 1.5-hour period and were stimulated via electro muscle stimulator at roughly 1.5 Hz. Even at this shorter rate of time the same results were produced.
The time lapsing from having treatment and labour commencing was in a time frame of 2.5 hours (being the quickest) to 26 hours being the longest. This would roughly be in range of having a membrane sweep, but not anywhere as invasive or painful.
The points that were used were (Colon 4), (Spleen 6), (Gallbladder 21), and (Kidney 6). Each point was used bi-laterally and firstly stimulated by hand then attached to electro-stimulation for 1.5 hours.
These results showed that acupuncture could not only be very effective in overdue mothers, but, also less invasive and not as confronting. It only starts the natural process of labour form the very beginning.
Medical processes such as the use of cyntosin are very effective but at the same time tend to put the woman into tertiary stage of labour and pain can be very sudden and severe. Many women say that they feel very out of control with this style of process and most of them tend to be overdue with subsequent pregnancies, most probably due to psychological fear of the first process.
With the use of acupuncture for induction, it may not be as effective as some western medical methods but it is less invasive and far less confronting for the mothers to be. All mothers to be who have had medical induction before, comment on how less confronting and how more gradual the whole Acupuncture induction process are. With this in mind, the acupuncture maybe more effective for mothers to be in the fact that it doesn’t produce the same intensity for labour or the same psychological trauma. In saying this, the acupuncture process is not 100% effective, but neither is the medical induction process. Also one application of Prostaglandin gel cost the hospital around $90. Eight acupuncture needles cost around $1.
With that in mind, acupuncture holds many benefits. Cost effective, non- invasive, more than average success rate and less emotionally traumatic. This could be used very effectively within our hospitals here just like it is used in China. It could be used as first choice of treatment and if this process fails, western medical treatment can then take place. Either way, this process save the hospital system much needed money. Not only is it cost effective but also research shows that women who do regularly have acupuncture prior to labour have less medical intervention than those who don’t use it do. Intervention costs money. (This is backed up by a study commissioned by the Victorian Dept Human Health services, NSW Dept Health and Qld Dept of Health)
Read another article by Andrew Orr discussing the use of acupuncture and traditional chinese medicine in pregnancy and birth.
By Andrew Orr (Adv Dip Health Sc(Acup & Ch Herbs),Ac China(Guangxi),Dip Rem Ther)
Andrew Orr is a fully Qualified Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is a member of the Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association LTD (Membership No.1283). Andrew has just returned from Guangxi, China, where he has been working extensively in two major hospitals. Andrew also specialises in care for pregnant women and writes an article for the Natural Birthing Centre, at the Royal Women’s Hospital (Brisbane), every two months. Andrew has great success in treating the many common ailments caused by pregnancy. Andrew has had great success using Acupuncture during childbirth and has even used Acupuncture to turn babies in breech. All care is done while keeping close contact with the patients family Doctor or Midwife.
Andrew has an excellent knowledge of traditional Chinese Medicine and is involved in research both here and in China.