WWYD (If You Were Me), Acupuncture Edition

A genuine and probably too-broad question for the end of the day: Have any of you tried acupuncture and is it ‘worth it’?

My due date is this weekend and at my OB appointment yesterday the doctor recommended that I:

– go get acupuncture to induce labor
– stick 2000mg of Evening Primrose up my you-know-what every day
– have “as much sex as possible”

A bottle of the evening primrose oil pills was $5.80. FINE. Let’s do this.

As for the sex, I am probably going to interpret the “as much as possible” to be, “None, are you crazy?” but TBD.

But the acupuncture? I am intrigued by and supportive of friends who go, and even my DAD (unlikely candidate if there ever was one) was singing its praises for helping him cope with work-related stress. I would definitely be like, “Okay sure” if it was free. But how much is this stuff? Would going to “community acupuncture” for labor induction be kind of weird? What if my water breaks at community acupuncture? Unlikely, but still.

Tell me your experiences!!

Photo: stillgherrian


36 Comments / Post A Comment

EM (#1,012)

I recently went to a community acupuncture clinic, which was wonderful– sliding scale of $20-40, and there was a pregnant lady there who was two weeks overdue, so at least this one data point suggests that they are not concerned about water breakage. Basically I sat in a big comfy chair (with a blanket) and got a bunch of needles, which were strangely relaxing, and then my acupuncturist was like “You can just chill here for up to two hours. Do you want to take a nap and let me know what time to wake you up?” Pretty great.

Okay that sounds amazing!

stinapag (#2,144)

@EM yes, that’s how my community acupuncture works too. I get to take a nap once a week and call it a doctor’s appointment.

readyornot (#816)

Hey Meaghan, have you read Expecting Better by Emily Oster? She takes doctor’s pregnancy-related advice and examines whether or not medical studies back it up. The checklist on whether certain interventions help you go into labor on your own:
– Evening Primrose Oil, red raspberry leaf tea – no effect
– sex – no effect
– acupuncture – does show an effect, but the placebo group who received “sham acupuncture” in non-pressure places also had an effect
– nipple stimulation – large effect. 37% who were stimulated went into labor in 3 days v. 6% who were not. Crazy? Not crazy?

Allison (#4,509)

@readyornot that seems like a final systems check before launch. Food production: READY!

Oh yeahhhh! You know what I did read (and love!) that book but it was at the beginning of pregnancy and I was paying more attention to coffee / no coffee and all that jazz. I am going to pull it down off the shelf.

Also oh shit re: nipple stim. *side eyes breast pump*

Meaghano (#529)

@Allison Ha! it’s so weird, I feel like I am hitting puberty all over again.

readyornot (#816)

@Meaghan O’Connell It is so good for mythbusting. Chapter 17! Unfo. the nipple stimulation is time-consuming – at least an hour a day, in one study one hour THREE TIMES a day. Sheesh!

@Allison I know, riiiiiight?

ellabella (#1,480)

@readyornot Yeah, my developmental biology teacher backs up the nipple stimulation thing! Definitely worth doing, low cost (Billfold-friendly?).

My friend was overdue and decided fuck it, I’m going out to dinner and a rock concert tonight. Her water broke at dinner! So maybe your baby is actually waiting for it to happen in an embarrassing location or something?

Allison (#4,509)

I’ve only had accupuncture done by a family friend who was working on getting licensed – so like going to a hair school?? – when I was a kid. It seemed to work well for things like the bizarre bee sting reaction I had (getting stung by a bee in the middle of soccer practice means the venom-y stuff hits your entire calf and you still have a scar 15 years later apparently) and some rash that’s apparently really common in 5-9 year olds.

We might have paid for the bee sting one since she had an office by that point, but I was 12, so I’m really unhelpful there. But the needles were the teeny tiniest things and you barely felt them.

LanuHoos (#6,333)

One of my good friends swears by acupuncture to the point that her acupuncturist is like a therapist to her. Definitely recommend!

garli (#4,150)

I might be the only weirdo who has adverse reactions to eastern medicine on the planet but the one time I had acupuncture I got muscle spasms in my back for 2 weeks after. (I also have adverse reactions to random western medicine so there’s that)

HelloTheFuture (#5,275)

Alternatively, you could just *watch* Evening Primrose, since it’s on Hulu now: http://www.hulu.com/watch/370480

(I’m only making this reference because I suspect Meaghan will recognize it. For all y’all who don’t know, Evening Primrose is a Stephen Sondheim made-for-TV musical that is essentially Today’s Special for adults. It stars Charmian Carr in her only other role besides The Sound of Music’s Liesl.)

@HelloTheFuture I just may have to watch that, I loved Charmian Carr!

Meaghan, yes! I went to acupuncture to induce labor a week before my due date. I delivered 2 days later. Now, I’d been going regularly throughout my pregnancy, so perhaps the pump was primed (ew) but I definitely think it played a role in my early delivery. It was also a super fast, intervention and medication free labor (I almost had him in our bathroom…yeah). Perhaps also because of the acupuncture? Who knows! Also, eat a bunch of dates. Might be pseudoscience, but they are supposed to have a similar effect on a speedy/easy labor. (Side note: I’m typing this as I nurse my 2 month old because there is no alone time ever again.) God speed!

samburger (#5,489)

THIS WEEKEND!!! I had no idea Billfold baby was so close! ALL THE GOOD VIBES FOR YOU AND BABY AND DUSTIN

Re acupuncture: I tried it for chronic pain when I was a teenager. It didn’t help with the chronic pain, but it was unbelievably relaxing and a really wonderful experience. I can’t speak to its labor-inducing qualities, but if you can find a place that’ll do it for a price you’re cool with, I’d recommend it.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@samburger William Fold O’Connell.

samburger (#5,489)

@aetataureate omg

Lily Rowan (#70)

@aetataureate SO GOOD.

AitchBee (#3,001)

If nothing else, I’ve always found acupuncture to be suuuuper relaxing, so…why not? Get some needles stuck in you, take a little nap, have a baby!

RiffRandell (#4,774)

@AitchBee I second this sentiment.

lolapie (#5,967)

I was 6 days late with my first but I had awful prodomal labor for almost a week where I went into labor every night and then it would stall out/stop. My midwife suggested that the baby was misaligned in my pelvis. I did some inversions/stretches from SpinningBabies.com and went into actual labor that same day! Could be anecdotal…but when you’re trying to get that baby out, anything is fair game!

Katni (#6,141)

I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies, buuuuut, as others have said, acupuncture can be super relaxing, whether it stimulates any “activity” or not. Acupuncture schools are definitely the cheapest route, if you’re cool with having a noob jam needles into your body. WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN, RIGHT???! And also, congrats/good luck!

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

Oh man, didn’t realize you were so close to your due date! I hope all goes smoothly for you, your partner, and the baby!

Also…my mom swore by doing some deep squats. I was 10 days overdue and she’s convinced that is what did the trick.

meatcute (#1,430)

Go for it! I had acupuncture periodically throughout my pregnancy, and went twice or three times before the end. Also did the whole primrose oil thing. Sex was not so much happening because the 8 1/2 pound baby I was carrying did not make for comfortable sex, sadly.

Hang in there through these last few days! I ended up being three days late — not bad in the big scheme of things, with a first pregnancy. I don’t know if acupuncture helped, but it certainly didn’t hurt, and I was amazed at how active my little guy got during the sessions; clearly something was going on. At the very least it can be a really lovely way to relax and chill out for an hour during your last days of pregnancy.

meatcute (#1,430)

@meatcute Also, I’ll add my acupuncturist (who I love) accurately predicted the sex of my baby based on my pulses. Crack science? Lucky guess? ANCIENT CHINESE WISDOM? Who knows?

WriteBikeBobbi (#3,938)

I’m 37 weeks. My baby was breech, and my doc suggested acupuncture to try and turn him. No success, though I did enjoy some aspects of acupuncture (and I had an external version procedure which worked to turn him, thankfully). My acupuncturist said he’s had definite success with inducing and we can explore that when the time draws near. I’m going to try it. Sex has worked for some friends, not for others; the tea and herbs, etc., not so much. But given how I feel now, I imagine when I hit 40 weeks that I’ll be willing to give anything a shot to get the baby OUT :-)

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

Wowwwww good luck! One of my closest friends was due this weekend last year and she ended up being two weeks late (sorry) but the upside was that her baby was born on PRINCE’S BIRTHDAY which is June 7th in case you were wondering. So, if you are late, just hold off until the 7th, and then your baby will share a birthday with the majestic purple one.

stinapag (#2,144)

FWIW, I go to community acupuncture once a week for fertility. It’s a lovely part of my week, and I enjoy it quite a bit. I intend to stay with my acupuncturist while pregnant as well.

Susan Tidebeck (#5,691)

I used to go to a Buddhist monastery for the all-you-can-eat vegetarian lunch, and they had a little area where a couple acupuncturists did free consultations. I was having trouble with a heel spur so I gave them a try. These people spoke no English, they were authentic Chinese acupuncturists.

After pulling the curtain of the portable doctor’s office setup, the smiling little man took my pulse, looked in my ears, pulled on the hair on each side of my head, looked at each hand, and then took my pulse again. Meanwhile I did all I could to point at my foot to indicate it was the area that required treatment.

The acupuncturist wrote me a prescription in Chinese on the reverse side of one of the monastery’s donation envelopes and pulled back the curtain, showing me the way out. Later that day, I scanned the prescription and emailed it to a friend that knew Chinese.

It was one of those herbal remedies that you have to go to Chinatown to get, so I went down to Mulberry Street and got a rather large bundle of unknown mixed plant material. After I got home I contacted my Chinese-literate friend again to find out what the herbs were.

After a bit of research, he told me what SOME of the plants were, and I looked them up on Wikipedia. It turned out that some were suspected to be carcinogenic. This ended my single experience with acupuncture. I went to a podiatrist and got some shoe inserts for my heel spur. A couple months later I was fine.

David R (#6,742)

Er, I’d be inclined to try a different doctor next time, but I don’t have a lot of patience for that kind of stuff.

As mentioned earlier, acupuncture doesn’t have any proof of efficacy and neither does evening primrose. And stuff like ‘evening primrose’ isn’t a regulated drug; 2000 mg of primrose oil may have any range of whatever it is supposed to contain that’s helpful.
From a quick search, evening primrose may interact with some important anticoagulants and anesthesia, so you might want to let your docs know if you’ve taken it before the delivery. Oh, and most of the labels for it that I’ve seen have the standard ‘don’t take if you’re pregnant or nursing’ boilerplate.

Anyways, best of luck and I hope everything goes very well and you and the new baby are in the best of health. Congrats!

raptoresq (#6,612)

Why would having needles stuck in your face induce pregnancy? Do you think that your face has magic buttons only accessible via small needles?

honey cowl (#1,510)

@raptoresq “incude pregnancy” lol

raptoresq (#6,612)

“Traditional Chinese medicine is an odd, dangerous mix of sense and nonsense.”


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