Frequency of treatment

Ideally the patient's first treatment would last for 45 minutes. This is quite sufficient, as most women do not find it very pleasant. Success depends on how far beyond term the pregnancy is, with the best results at 10-14 days over.

Figure 10.2 A mother with needles inserted for induction.

Treatment will usually start the uterus hardening, and contractions may get going. However, the contractions are often not sustained and repeat sessions are necessary. In practice, it is often not possible to provide treatments more than once a day, but twice or more would ensure greater success (Kubista et al 1975). The research that has been done shows that acupuncture takes from 3 to 60 hours to initiate contractions.

CASE STUDY 10.1

Sharon was 10 days over her dates and due to come into hospital to be induced on day 14. She came along to me to try acupuncture. She had been feeling niggles of pain and thought she would go into labour at any time. I sat her on the bed with her feet placed on a chair, inserted the needle into BL-31 and 32 and began to manipulate them very strongly for 2-4 minutes. I then came from around the back of the bed and placed the needles in LI-4 and LR-3, and again manipulated the needles very strongly.

I carried on working my way around the points for 35 minutes, every now and then stopping to see whether there was a contraction. The uterus started to contract after about 20 minutes. Sharon then began to feel back ache and a slight niggling, period-type pain in her groin.

The contractions continued after I took the needles out and while she was up and about, carrying on well into the evening and then stopping at around

II p.m. I gave the same treatment again the next day, and again it worked throughout the day and into the evening. It then stopped for a couple of hours and started again, and she went into labour at 7 a.m. the next morning, with regular contractions.

CASE STUDY 10.2

A friend and neighbour of mine was 7 days past her dates and came to my home every evening for five nights. Nothing happened and she had to be admitted to hospital to be induced.

However, when the gel was inserted, she went into labour very quickly and delivered 3 hours later, at 2 a.m. Sadly, I was at home asleep and missed the birth!

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Acupuncture For Cynics

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