Research by Rabl (2001) showed that acupuncture shortened duration from due date to delivery by almost 3 days. 4 out of 45 women were delivered within 24 hours of their first acupuncture treatment, while no women in the control group delivered within 24 hours of their first examination. In the end, only 20% in the acupuncture group was medically induced, compared to 35% in the control group.
Research by Zeister et a (1998) concluded that one positive effect acupuncture had was in shortening the first stage of labor. In the study, the acupuncture group had a median duration of 196 minutes compared to 321 minutes in the control group.
“One aspect of the acupuncture course for midwives that has been particularly useful in my practice is the use of prebirth treatments. I believe that this has made an impact on the birth experience of the primigravida women who have receive the treatment. All first-time mothers under my care from October 2000 to February 2001 agreed to have prebirth acupuncture, once a week for three weeks. These were their outcomes (note that estimates of duration of ‘normal’ labor are around 14 hours for primigravida and eight hours for multigravidae): Janice: normal birth, 5-hour labor; Andrea: normal birth, 9-hour labor; Robin: normal birth, 6-hour labor; Suzette: normal birth, 7-hour labor; Nicky: water birth, 7-hour labor; Rachael: normal birth, 7-hour labor.”
– Nicky Costello (midwife, USA)
Regardless of whether you are late-for-dates or otherwise, at least one session of pre-birth acupuncture after the 36th week will be helpful to the birth journey that awaits you.