The role of the acupuncturist

Face, brow and shoulder presentation are all self-explanatory terms that you may hear used to describe abnormal head-first deliveries, and they are described briefly here for information. They all carry complications and are sometimes hard to diagnose when the midwife or doctor palpates. You may see these diagnoses written in the notes, or your patient may be admitted to hospital because of them. As an acupuncturist, there is little you can do to treat these conditions directly, but you can of course help to relieve any anxiety and stress they might cause to the mother. It is also important that you are familiar with the terminology so that you have a greater understanding of what is happening in a complicated labour. In all cases, even if complications are not previously diagnosed, labour would begin normally. You would therefore use the same acupuncture treatments as for a normal delivery.

You are most likely to become aware that there is a problem following the midwife's vaginal examination of the mother. If the midwife is unsure of the position of the baby or observes that the fetal heart rate is dipping, she may call a doctor. Understandably, the mother's anxiety is going to be heightened in such circumstances. The acupuncturist can support the mother emotionally, in order to relax her and keep her as calm as possible.

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