Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine | Pre-birth Acupuncture

Pre-brith Acupuncture

Pre-birth acupuncture involves a series of acupuncture sessions in the third trimester. Acupuncture although can be used safely throughout pregnancy (For more info see our Acupuncture in pregnancy page here), pre-birth Acupuncture is generally started from week 36. At Balanced Life Health Care we found that 2 session per week from 36 weeks has positive effects on the mothers and a smooth transition into the labour process. The process is aimed at building up the expectant mother’s strength for a more natural birth process. Research is indicating that  regular Acupuncture before onset of labour include the following positive effects;


  • Reduced duration of labour
  • Reduced rate of inductions
  • Reduced epidural rate
  • Reduced rate of emergency caesarean
  • And clinically we have noted that many of the women go naturally into labour close to due date, very few go over more than a week after receiving regular sessions from week 36


How effective is Acupuncture for preparation for birth?

Pre-birth Acupuncture is currently being used routinely in hospitals in China and Germany with positive results. For example in many countries expectant mothers begin weekly acupuncture sessions at 36 weeks gestation and continue right through till birth. Research has suggested that pre-birth acupuncture can decrease mean labour times from 8 hours and 2 minutes to 6 hours and 36 minutes.


“Feedback suggest that pre-birth acupuncture offers a range of positive effects that goes beyond reducing the time spent in labour, with midwives reporting a reduced rate of medical intervention” (1)


Most recent observationally study in New Zealand has suggested that women who received Acupuncture in their last 4 weeks of pregnancy had a third less the number of medical inductions, epidurals and emergency caesareans compare to local population rates (3).


When should I start my sessions?

You can start from week 30 fortnightly sessions building up to twice weekly sessions from week 37.


Can I address other health concerns?

Although it is common to use preparation points each treatment can be tailor to suit your specific needs. If you have hip pain for example, we can add some specific points to relief the pressure and ease the pain.


Can acupuncture help breech or posterior babies?

Acupuncture and Chinese moxibusion has shown to be very clinically effective. Ideally Acupuncture and Chinese moxibusion would be started from week 34. However positive results can still be achieved after. A study conducted in China suggested that 81% of babies respond to Acupuncture treatments (2).


How does treatment for breech or posterior babies work?

The treatment involves the application of moxa to a particular acupuncture point located on the small toe bilaterally. Moxa is rolled Chinese mugwort which is burn beside the skin allowing the smoke and heat to stimulate the acupuncture point. Moxa is applied for 20 minutes once a day for 10 days Most practitioners will teach the client or partner how to perform this at home. Most women report that during and after moxa the baby is very active. Generally speaking most babies take 4-5 days to turn using this method.



1. Debra Betts (2006) The essential guide to Acupuncture in pregnancy and childbirth, The Journal of Chinese medicine

2. Co-operative research group on moxibusion version (1984) Clinical observation on the side effects of version by moxibusion, Abstracts from the second national symposium on acupuncture and moxibusion and acupuncture anaesthesia, All China society of Acupuncture and moxibusion

3. Betts D and Lennox S; Acupuncture For Prebirth Treatment:
An Observational Study Of Its Use In Midwifery Practice, Med Acup 2006, 17, (3) 16 – 19 Medical Acupuncture