Acupuncture for Cervical Ripening
Acupuncture for Cervical Ripening is very similar to how we use acupuncture to induce labor. The difference is in our point selection, focusing more specifically on points that “move the Qi” through the midline of the body, were the cervix is located. Of course these are distal points on the wrists and feet.
Cevical Ripening Vs. Labor Induction
According to the Cleveland Clinic—
Cervical ripening is a normal process of softening and opening the cervix before labor starts. The cervix is stiff and closed through most of pregnancy to hold your baby inside your uterus.
Induction of labor, on the other hand, is more geared towards promoting uterine contractions.
How Do I Know If I Need Cervical Ripening?
Cervical ripening normally begins before labor starts, and in many women it happens on its own.
But women with health problems such as gestational diabetes, growth restriction, or preeclampsia may benefit from natural cervical ripening and labor induction.
Your midwife or ObyGyn will tell you whether you need cervical ripening. But if its an ObyGyn MD who is not yet progressive, remember you have a choice. Even mainstream medical websites like Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic recommend non-drug, non-invasive procedures.
Are the Western Medical Methods for Cervical Ripening Safe?
The great advantage of non-invasive, non drug procedures is the relative abscence of risks…Acupuncture is completely safe. Whereas the BioMed Western Medical procedure, such as using an instrument to stretch your cervix, have these risks–
Risks of Western Medical procedures for cervical ripening may include:
- Drops in fetal heart rate.
- Fetal injury or death.
- Infections in the mother or fetus.
- Umbilical cord prolapse (cord drops into the cervix) or compression (cord stretches or gets pressed, so it doesn’t deliver enough blood to the fetus).
Safe, Non-Invasive, Non-Drug, Natural Methods like Acupuncture to Promote Cervical Ripening
The list of safe, non-drug and non-invasive procedures includes some of the same things recommended to promote labor (uterine contractions).
- Breast stimulation to promote natural Oxytocin
- Castor oil by Mouth
- Enemas (injection of water or liquid into the rectum to clear the colon).
- Hot baths.
- Sexual intercourse especially that leads to Orgasm. (This need not involve a male of the species either)
- Gentle Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
All of these methods, acupuncture included, in some way help to encourage the downwards movement of Qi in the body (especially the castor oil and enema, both of which will give you diarrhea, but also relax the pelvic floor).
These methods also relax the body and relax the pelvic floor. The acupuncture can very specifically affect the area of the cervix.
Acupuncture Points are like Caves, or Springs
Lets first just rephrase our language. Acupuncture “points” are not points on a line, they are more like springs, where the Qi that passes through the channels rises to the surface. The chinese word for the acupuncture locations has the image of the cave, a collection point for Qi.
We can influence internal organs, biological, and mental processes of the body by placing needles in these “caves.” This way I can promote the flow of Qi through a desired area of the body. In the case of cervical ripening, through the cervix and the entire pelvic floor.
Cervical Ripening Acupuncture Point Selection
The points I use for cervical ripening have a few different effects
- Acupuncture points on the Upper Trapezius, Mid-Back, Sacrum, and Iliacus muscles and fascia that Promote Doward Flow of Qi and Relax the Pelvic Floor
- Points on the wrist, feet, and lower abdomen that open up the flow of Qi in the pelvic area, and that specifically open the flow of Qi in the cervix and uterus.
- Points on the inside and outside of the leg and on the mid line of the lower abdomen that strongly stimulate your overall Qi as well as open the flow of dampness out of the lower body.
- If needed, points on the scalp or forehear to calm the mind, and on the ears to further assist the above processess.
I may also add moxabustion to some of these points, and in the case of the ear, place tiny pellets over the points for the cervix, uterus, and endocrine systems.