Pre-birth acupuncture refers to a series of treatments in the final weeks of pregnancy to prepare women for childbirth. Now that the Duchess of Cambridge has retired from public life to await the birth of the royal heir, there is much speculation about the type of birthing plan she might follow, but what about her pre-birth treatments.
Acupuncture can be very helpful as a pre-birth treatment. German research has demonstrated that the average duration of labour in a group of women giving birth for the first time was reduced from just over 8 hours in the control group (70 women), to just over 6 1/2 hours in the group of 70 women who had received pre-birth acupuncture. It can be seen as a safe and effective treatment to promote natural labour. It is an ideal way to help women prepare themselves to have the most efficient labour possible.
Debra Betts in her book: Essential Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Childbirth (2006) says that feedback from midwives suggest that pre-birth acupuncture offers a range of positive effects that go beyond reducing the time spent in labour as midwives also reported a reduced rate of medical intervention.
The Ancient Chinese believed that the environment of a pregnant women was very important . ” A pregnant woman carries with her the finest piece of jade. She should enjoy all things, look at fine pictures and be attended by handsome servants”*. This may almost have been written for the Duchess of Cambridge! However it is also true of all women preparing for birth. My aim is to promote prebirth treatments, so allowing women access to the benefits of acupuncture as part of their preparation for labour.
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*Gasgoigne S (1996) The Manual of Conventional Medicine for Alternative Practitioners. Jigme Press, p.371