I have been waiting to try pregnancy acupuncture for a while now, well, since I was about 24 weeks and heard about the benefits. There are a lot of different kinds of acupuncture you can get while pregnant (to help with aching backs, headaches, any pain you may have, there’s acupuncture to help with) but I am not talking about that kind of acupuncture. I am talking about labor inducing acupuncture. Essentially what it does is prepares your cervix and helps you dilate, it brings on contractions and kind of gets the ball rolling. Please don’t be alarmed, you do not go into labor until your body and baby are ready for it -I am not trying to kick the little boy out! Another advantage it has is it has been proven that it can shorten active labor (the hard pushing part that we’re all looking forward to) by 2 hours! Uhm, YES PLEASE! Anything that makes the process easier on my body and little love is an absolute yes in my books!
In Germany (where we currently live) you are not allowed to start labor inducing acupuncture until you are full term (37 weeks). You can have it every week until the baby is born.
I started my first round yesterday evening and want to share my experience as I know on most mommy-to-be forums there are so many questions being asked and not many answers. I will post updates every week, 24 hours after having it done, as that is when you are most likely to notice any affects from it.
First, I have NEVER had acupuncture, not for headaches, muscle pain or anything, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I was EXTREMELY excited!! I want to meet this little boy more than anything -but want him to be healthy of course, so I trusted that acupuncture could perhaps speed up the process while he is still healthy and ready to join us.
So she asked all of us (about 10 women) what kind of issues we we’re having. Most complained of the usual back pain, headaches, a few also commented that the had high blood pressure or were well past their due date. Those who suffered from aches and pains weren’t quite 37 weeks yet so they were only given some needles to help with their issues, not to induce. Those of us who were ready to get induced (or ever beyond) had needles put in our toes, ankles and lower calves (these are the points to induce or cause your uterus to contract).
A few of the points in my toes felt a little pinched but others, I couldn’t even feel. Overall, after she put them in my feet and calves, I couldn’t feel them at all.
I also mentioned that I had a lot of swelling in my hands and she offered to put some in my hands and wrists to help reduce swelling, however, she did warn me that this would come at the expense of several trips to the washroom through the night (what else is new with pregnancy?!) I gladly took the chance, hoping that I would be able to wear my wedding ring in the near future.
I have to say, the ones in my hands and wrist were quite annoying, in my wrists especially. The needles seemed to cause a pulsing effect in my hands and it was very uncomfortable. After about 10 minutes, my hands had gotten a little puffier, I was a little skeptical.
Overall, the feeling after she put them in was a sense of calmness. It was relaxing and I seemed to feel at ease (forgetting the pulsing hands). I also felt the baby move quite a bit and my uterus get very tight, something was definitely happening.
They were left in for about 35 minutes. Once she took them out, I noticed my hands had DOUBLED in size! I could barely move them or use them. My wrist were also so tight and uncomfortable, I was a little apprehensive. She told me that they would stay like that for the next few hours and then it would go down.
So, about one hour after the process we were back home, and I could barely walk. The pressure in my lower abdomen was so hard that I could barely move my legs. I have felt pressure throughout the pregnancy but this was intense! I had never had it so strong. So I relaxed and let the process happen. My hands went down to their normal ‘swollen’ size after about 3 hours, and I didn’t notice any extra washroom trips until about 7 hours after the acupuncture. I went to the washroom about 8 times in 5 hours throughout the night -which is a few more than normal. I also felt the baby get really active and my contractions pick up for an hour or two, nothing too drastic though. But the pressure in my lower abdomen was REALLY different.
Exactly 24 hours later, my hands don’t look any smaller, just their normal puffiness from pregnancy and my contractions have not increased since last night, in fact they have nearly stopped. My pelvic area is still quite tender but not nearly as uncomfortable as last night. I have notice the baby is a lot more active today, but that could be coincidence. Overall, it hasn’t induced me right yet, but I do feel that something is happening. I don’t know if I will try the hand pressure points again as I felt it didn’t do too much, but the rest, was great!
I will let you know how next week goes and if I notice another symptoms in the next 24 hours (6-48 hours is when you notice the symptoms).
And of course, this may not be for everyone. I am a new mom and am trying out different things to see how my body reacts. Please talk to your doctor or midwife before you do anything and make sure it is best for you -this is just my experience and both my doctor and midwife told me to try it.
Have you tried acupuncture during pregnancy? What was your experience like!?
Thanks for reading!