Today I had my first “Pre-Birth Acupuncture Treatment” at a great little place called East Meets West, a Traditional Chinese Medicine practice in Tuart Hill.
So what is a pre-birth treatment and what does it do? Starting from 36 weeks gestation you go in for weekly pin-cushion sessions that are designed to prepare the body for an efficient labour by ripening and softening the cervix, helping position the baby (they offer a separate, more intense treatment for breech presentation), promoting blood flow to the uterus and encouraging optimal energy and stamina.
They also claim that research at a major midwifery practice in New Zealand showed that these treatments are able to reduce the number of inductions, reduce the need for epidural anaesthesia and reduce the need for emergency caesarean sections (their site has some statistics but I won't bore you with them here).
The service was recommended to me by one of the women I met in antenatal class (the one who also wanted delayed cord clamping), because she did it and found it very helpful. Mind you, it appears to have worked so well for her that her baby came a week early! She experienced a quick (less than twelve hours start to finish) and natural birth, required no artificial pain relief and was absolutely thrilled at the way everything turned out. That's what I want!
I'm feeling really positive about it, not only because of a personal recommendation but because during the session (the tiny needles are left in for 20 minutes) I was simultaneously treated for a bout of heartburn I was experiencing – and by the end of the appointment the heartburn was gone. Whether it was the dozen or so miniature stab wounds doing their thing or it was the placebo affect I don't really know... but I also don't really care – either way it was gone and that was BRILLIANT! After taking out all the needles, the practitioner then put “seeds” on these heartburn spots – a tiny little metal ball on what is basically a little bandaid – for me to press whenever I feel the burn or to use as a preventative three to four times a day for 30 seconds. Plus as an added bonus, on the third session Hubby is invited along to learn the pressure points he can press for labour pain relief (although whether he decides to press his or mine remains to be seen).
Acupuncture isn't for everyone though, and I'm sure some will think I'm just going way too hippie freak. But I'm going to try everything I can to help me get through this birth as naturally as possible for as long as possible. I've already trained in meditation but having never meditated DURING LABOUR before I don't know how good I'll be – so a few other bits and pieces might be necessary. Next stop, the aromatherapy store!