As your pregnancy draws to a close, it's normal to look into natural ways to induce your labor at home. The last weeks of pregnancy are some of the most difficult and wanting to get the "show on the road" as your due date arrives (or, in many cases, passes) is common. Acupuncture is one method that isn't as well known for induction, but one that research may suggest can still be effective. Like most at-home induction methods, every woman's body will respond differently and some treatments will work better than others. But knowing how acupuncture can induce labor will help you and your health care provider know if its the best method for you to try.
According to Pregnancy Birth and Beyond, acupuncture for the past-due mother is a safe, effective way to induce labor that works with her delicate hormone balance. However, since it is less aggressive than other more western forms of medicine, the timeframe of when labor will start is hard to pinpoint, as well as how effective it will be from person to person. Similarly, Belly Belly noted that since acupuncture is a well-documented, researched, and practiced form of medicine that dates back more than 2,000 years, it may be an option worth considering.
The reason acupuncture is believed to be effective is that it stimulates the release of oxytocin (the hormone that causes your uterus to contract,) according to Healthline. Additionally, acupuncture can help prepare your body for labor and ripen your cervix, according to New Heatlh Advisor. Acupuncture works with your body's natural processes, which for many moms, is preferable to other more invasive medical interference.
However, one study published in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine found that among the 407 women included in the controlled study, the ones who received acupuncture didn't require medical induction but there wasn't a noted increase in the onset of labor compared with those who had their membranes stripped and those who had both. Another study published in the National Institutes of Health compared ten different studies on acupuncture and labor, finding that although acupuncture's exact role in starting labor has yet to be determined, existing studies suggest it may be beneficial. And, when you're past your due date ready to meet your little one, it certainly can't hurt to try.