I'm frequently asked about whether "inducing labor with acupuncture" is something I do. My quick answer is that a labor induction can only be performed in the hospital by your doctor or midwife. I prefer to think of late-pregnancy, pre-labor acupuncture as removing potential roadblocks to the birth process.
What does that mean?: By 36 or 37 weeks an expectant woman may be tired, she may have excess physical tension, or she may be anxious about giving birth. By addressing these symptoms with acupuncture we can allow the body to go into labor naturally.
How quickly after a pre-labor treatment does a woman typically go into labor?: For better or worse, rarely right away. Yes, I've seen babies born the evening after I treated the mom, but this is in a situation where the mom was very close to going into labor on her own. Usually it takes more than one acupuncture treatment.
So, is it still worth it to have acupuncture in the last few weeks of pregnancy?: Yes, research shows acupuncture can make for shorter, more efficient labors. It can also make you feel better, stronger, calmer, clearer going into labor. And, being as healthy as possible prior to giving birth will make postpartum easier too, whether you have a natural birth or a C-section.