At BodaHealth, our goal is to provide you with the best natural care throughout your entire pregnancy, and that includes cervical ripening and labour induction, when necessary. Labour induction involves a procedure that encourages uterine contractions to begin labour for a vaginal birth. In Western medicine, methods to induce labour include cervical sweeps, rupturing your amniotic sac (also known as breaking your water), intravenous or intravaginal medications, such as prostaglandins, that causes your uterus to contract, or through other cervical ripening methods. Our practitioners at BodaHealth use acupuncture treatments, both for cervical ripening and labour induction.
Whether you are induced or not, your cervix, or the passageway to your uterus, needs to be ready for labour. Ripening your cervix helps it become softer and thinner in preparation for labour and delivery. Cervical readiness is determined by a number of factors that make up something called a Bishop score, which is a way of determining the likelihood of going into labour soon. The Bishop score of cervical readiness is determined by:
- How far your cervix has dilated, which is measured in centimeters.
- The thickness of your cervix. It thins as labour approaches and becomes more so as labour progresses.
- The quality of your cervical tissue. Before labour your cervix becomes softer.
- Cervical positioning. As your baby moves downward in the birth canal, your cervix moves forward.
- Fetal position, or where your baby is in the birth canal. Generally, before labour, your baby’s head is high in the birth canal, and during labour your baby moves lower into the canal, until its head is visible right before delivery. www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/bishop-score
Cervical readiness is an important factor in labour induction. That’s because induction, regardless of the method, can cause uterine contractions. However, if your cervix isn’t adequately dilated and thinned, and your baby hasn’t moved downward, then the contractions may not result in the labour progressing sufficiently. This may make having a vaginal delivery more difficult.
At BodaHealth, we begin labour preparation about 34 to 36 weeks into your pregnancy. We do so by focusing our acupuncture treatments to prepare your cervix for labour, long before you might know whether or not labour induction is needed. Our strategy of using acupuncture for cervical ripening is supported by research. In one study, researchers documented that the time between due date and delivery was significantly shorter in women who received acupuncture. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11802511 Additionally, in a later analysis of several studies, the researchers also found significant evidence that acupuncture supports cervical ripening. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23945980
There are a wide range of reasons that labour induction may be necessary. Among them:
- You are past your due date
- Labor hasn’t progressed after your water has broken
- There isn’t sufficient amniotic fluid surrounding your baby
- Your baby is very underweight
- Maternal health issues, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, or preeclampsia
- Your placenta has pulled away from the inner wall of your uterus
- Other medical conditions that have put your health at risk
At BodaHealth, our goal is to help you avoid a medically induced labour. That’s because inducing labour through medical procedures carries with it some risks, especially in women who have an unripened cervix. Up to a quarter of first time mothers who are induced ultimately end up having a Caesarian section, as the induction fails to progress to a vaginal delivery. In addition, the medications used for labour induction may affect your baby’s oxygen supply or heart rate, your risk for post-delivery bleeding is increased, and some methods of labour induction may increase the risk of infection for you or your baby. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/labor-induction/about/pac-20385141
Our practitioners have found that one of the most common reasons for induction is that your pregnancy has gone past your due date. We perform acupuncture treatments for labour induction, especially if your labour hasn’t begun after 39 weeks or if labour has begun but isn’t progressing. We are also able to work with women who have not been under our care previously, but have found BodaHealth for help with a pregnancy that has gone past 40 weeks.
Regardless of how you have found us, we will continue to work with you until you deliver your baby or are medically induced. Our practitioners are also capable of providing treatments even after you have been medically induced if your labour isn’t progressing. The bottom line is that our acupuncture practitioners are able to support your labour in a wide range of circumstances, including early preparation, cervical ripening, labour induction, and labour support.
At BodaHealth, we understand that who you choose for pregnancy care matters. When you choose to work with the practitioners at BodaHealth, here is what you will receive:
- Acupuncturists, practitioners of Chinese Medicine, and naturopathic physicians who are highly trained in women’s health and obstetrics. They have completed extensive training in order to offer you the best natural treatments possible.
- Our practitioners have years of experience treating women just like you. They have been go-to health care providers for women from preconception through labour, delivery, and postpartum care.
- Our practitioners are happy to collaborate with your health care team, including your midwife or obstetrician. Midwives and obstetricians refer their patients to BodaHealth for acupuncture to help reduce the need for a medically induced labour.
- Every staff member at BodaHealth is dedicated to making your care their highest priority.
- Our practitioners and support staff understand that your pregnancy is special and unique. They are caring, supportive, and committed to making you feel comfortable.
Give us a call today to find out how we can help you during your pregnancy journey.