Pre-Birth Acupuncture for efficient labour

How Pre-birth Acupuncture supports an efficient Labour

17 March, 2023

Pre-birth Acupuncture refers to a to a series of treatments in the final weeks of pregnancy to prepare women for childbirth and for the most efficient birth possible. Also known as Labour Preparation treatment at The Dao Health, treatment begins from 36 – 37 weeks and continues weekly to full term. Treatment involves a specific set of points to help prepare a woman’s body for birth, ripen the cervix and support maternal mental health. From full term, treatment increases to twice a week and induction Acupuncture points are added.

In addition to supporting the body to prepare for birth, there is also the opportunity to treat late pregnancy induced symptoms as well as support posterior positioned babies to move to optimal position.

What does the research tell us about the benefits of Prebirth Acupuncture?

Research suggests that Prebirth Acupuncture is beneficial in a numbers of ways to prepare the body for birth outcomes, including:

  • A shorter duration of Labour (Betts & Lennox, 2006)
  • Reduction in the rate of Medical Intervention including in induction, the rate of Epidurals and Emergency Caesarean Delivery  (Betts & Lennox, 2006)
  • Increased rate of a Physiological Vaginal Birth (Betts & Lennox, 2006)
  • Reduction in Postdates Induction due to cervical ripening support (Rabl et al. 2001)

What does Labour Preparation treatment involve at The Dao Health?

At The Dao Health we support our patients to prepare for Labour with Prebirth acupuncture, encouraging education and awareness to empower women which includes discussing birth preferences and how to prepare for the postpartum period, known as The First Forty Days in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Read more via our blog post The Dao Does Postpartum TCM Broth.

We encourage birth partners to attend the initial appointment at 36 – 37 weeks so our practitioners can teach them how to confidently use Acupressure to support women to prepare for labour, to support labour induction from full term as well as specific points to use during each stage of labour to reduce pain and to support the mother.

Recommended Acupressure Points for Labour from 36 weeks

Recommended Acupressure Points for Labour from 36 weeks
Two Acupressure points we recommend using from 36 onwards.

What does the research tell us about the benefits of Acupressure in Labour?

Research ( C.Smith et al. 2020. ) suggests that Acupressure for pain management during Labour reported the below benefits:

  • Reduced pharmacological analgesia
  • Less intense pain
  • Increased maternal satisfaction

I am having an Elective C-Section, is it worthwhile to have a book in a series of Labour Preparation treatments?

For patients preparing to have an elective caesarean, it is important that the body and mind are supported to be prepared for birth and postpartum recovery as well as manage late stage pregnancy symptoms. Labour Preparation treatment and education will differ and there are a set of specific points practitioners at The Dao will use to support women having an elective caesarean which differ to the Prebirth Acupuncture points in addition to specific Acupressure points which can be used leading up to the elective c-section date. We recommend Birth partners come to the initial appointment at 36 weeks to learn the specific Acupressure points in addition to how to support the mother in the Postpartum period.

Where should I have Prebirth Acupuncture?

When considering to have Prebirth Acupuncture, it is important that treatment is practiced by an AHPRA registered TCM Practitioner and Acupuncturist who is trained in Women’s Health and pregnancy.

To learn more, listen to our episode on Integrating Chinese Medicine:  Is Acupuncture safe during pregnancy?


Labour Preparation and Induction Acupuncture


  • Acupuncture for Prebirth Treatment: D. Betts & S. Lennox Acupuncture for Prebirth treatment: An Observation Study of its use in Midwifery Practice , Medical Acupuncture Vol. 3, 2006.
  • Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P. Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a randomised controlled trail. Wien Klin Wochenschr 2001; 113 (23-24): 942-6.
  • Smith CA, Collins CT, Levett KM, Armour M, Dahlen HG, Tan AL, Mesgarpour B. Acupuncture or acupressure for pain management during labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020