Cervical Ripening: The Acupuncture Pre-Birth Protocol

by Heather B.

January 23, 2019


At the beginning of each and every pregnancy, I encourage all my patients to make plans to utilize this pre-birth protocol. This is not only to promote an easier, smoother and faster labour with a more rapidly progressive rate of dilation, but also serves to reduce the chances of intervention when the time comes.

Ideally, the pre-birth protocol starts at 36 weeks and continues weekly until birth. By gently preparing the body and the mind for labour and delivery, we are better able to support our patients throughout the final stages of their pregnancy.

This means utilizing points to aid in cervical dilation (the ripening/ softening of the cervix), building blood, loosening the pelvic ligaments/ tendons and supporting the pelvic floor. In addition, I always use acupuncture points to increase energy, stamina and the immune system to fortify a women’s body for the journey ahead.

Each woman as well as every pregnancy is special and unique unto itself. Pre-birth acupuncture appointments give us the valuable opportunity to manage any symptoms or discomfort that can arise at this stage of pregnancy, such as back and hip pain, insomnia, constipation or pelvic floor issues, so that our patients can go into their delivery feeling strong and grounded.

Offering mental and emotional support in terms of calming the mind, encouraging healthy sleep and lowering any stress, anxiety, depression or fear in preparation for the upcoming birth gives our patients the support they need to go into their birthing journey feeling healthy, confidant and empowered.

These weekly appointments also offer us a chance to discuss important issues with our patients, such as nutritional considerations for this stage of pregnancy, stretches and exercises to mitigate any discomfort or simply allowing a space for quiet self-reflection and self-care.

The Benefits of Pre-Birth Acupuncture:

Research has shown that women who have received cervical ripening treatments prior to delivery experience:

-a significant reduction in labouring time

-increased efficiency in cervical dilation

-fewer requests for pain management

-fewer complications for mother and baby

-less interventions such as chemical induction, epidurals and emergency caesarean sections


According to a clinical study conducted in New Zealand by Betts and Lennox in 2006, women given weekly pre-birth acupuncture resulted in:

-35% reduction in medical inductions (43% reduction in women having their first baby)

-31% reduction in epidurals

-32% reduction in emergency caesarean deliveries

-9% increase in normal vaginal births

We would love to work with you! Online booking is live on our website, and we recommend booking weekly appointments from weeks 36 to 41 weeks pregnant.

Heather Bracken, H.H.P., R. Ac.

Heather it the owner of The Garden Holistic as well as Acupuncturist, Holistic Health & Reiki Practitioner. Specializing in mental health, women’s health & chakra-based Acupuncture and Reiki exploration.

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