Pre-birth acupuncture is a safe and natural therapy used in the final weeks of pregnancy to help the body prepare for labour. Many health care providers (ie. Naturopathic Doctors, Midwives, MD’s [especially in China]) have used it as a part of their patients pre-birth plan and treatment.

Pre-birth acupuncture promotes relaxation of the tendons and ligaments of the pelvis, and encourages gradual softening of the cervix. Softening of the cervix is a natural process known as cervical ripening, and is what eventually allows the cervix to dilate during active labour. Supporting the body in this way through acupuncture has been shown to reduce the length of labour and promote normal, uncomplicated vaginal births (1).

The beneficial affects of acupuncture in pregnancy expand further. Midwives in New Zealand have reported that women who use acupuncture as part of their pre-birth preparation have a 35% reduction in medical inductions (a 43% reduction in first time moms), 31% reduction in epidurals, and a 32% reduction in emergency caesareans (2).

If you are interested in including acupuncture as part of your pre-birth prep, here’s what you can expect:

– Acupuncture treatments are recommended to start at 36-37 weeks gestation.

– 30 minute treatments are done weekly until your baby’s due date.

– If baby has not arrived at 40 weeks, treatments can be done twice weekly to increase stimulation for labour.

– Moms-to-be sit or lay comfortably as the practitioner places small, thin acupuncture needles in specific points, typically on the lower leg.

– Your practitioner may choose to add additional points based on your specific needs. For example, if you are feeling a little nervous leading up to labour, acupuncture points can be added for a calming effect.

Wishing you all the best as you prepare to meet your little one!

Dr. Stephanie Liebrecht, BSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor



1. Betts, D. (2004) The use of acupuncture as a routine pre-birth treatment. Journal of Chinese Medicine, 76.
2. Betts, D. (2006). Acupuncture for prebirth treatment: an observational study of its use in Midwifery practice. Medical Acupuncture, 7(3),16-19