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safety of acupuncture in VBAC?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
safety of acupuncture in VBAC?

I posted this in VBAC, too, but didn't any response, so I thought I'd try here. And yeah, I tried the ICAN website and e-mail list, and no response there, either. I'm going to call the acupuncturist and discuss it with her, but any other info is helpful, too.

I am 38 1/2 wks along and planning a VBAC. Things are progressing slowly but surely wrt my cervix (according to dh). I went "late" with ds (2 1/2 wks) before an emergency cesarean due to fetal distress (yes, I believe it was genuine). I've been thinking about doing acupuncture to gently try to move things along (probably starting next week, if I haven't had the baby yet). I'm trying to find information about VBAC and the safety of acupuncture... anyone have any info? I've definitely found info contraindicating castor oil and blue and black cohosh and won't be doing those. (Also, the reason I'd like to start the acupuncture slightly before my due date is that I'm aware it can take more than one session to get results...)

Any information is welcome! Thanks!
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'd still appreciate some concrete info, if anyone has any...

I scheduled an acupuncture session for Saturday. I asked the acupuncturist about the safety of acupuncture and VBAC, and she said she honestly didn't know, that she was going to call an OB friend of hers that she'd done acupuncture on recently (and she'd given birth recently) and get back to me... I had a funny feeling--it turned out it was the dr. at my ob practice whom I don't like (part of the reason I don't like her is that she was *so* negative to me about VBAC the 1 time I saw her). I think it's kind of funny that *she* did acu to stimulate labor (because she struck me as being so anti-crunch, so anti-alternative). Anyway, the dr. thought (from her own experience) that acu is so gentle that it wouldn't be dangerous. (But she also told the acupuncturist numbers for risk of uterine rupture that are about double what I'm used to reading elsewhere, so I guess I'm taking the whole thing with a grain of salt.) We're going to do a pretty mild session, with no TENS (the electrical stimulation unit thingy), per my request.

FWIW, I'm dilated a bit and effaced more, also having a lot of BH contractions. I did acupuncture when I was pg was ds, to no avail (I think he was too poorly positioned and tangled in his cord at that point).
post #3 of 7
Sorry, this won't be a well written post, but something is better than nothing, right?

I'm in major period pain, and working projects to prepare house for ds'd Confirmation party, which is in 48hours.

First and foremost, I would not be overly concerned about the 'danger' of acupuncture because you are a vbac mom. You know that it is gentle stimulation, not cytotec.

I'd personally be more concerned about messing with a natural, healthy process in a healthy mama, and starting a lead into interventions leading to even more interventions and possible culminating in another surgery, but that's me.

My last baby was 2.5 weeks "late," induced with pitocin after I *stupidly* agreed to test for gbs, and my water broke without immediate (24 hrs) labor. No way would I have agreed to induce without being gbs+, and in hindsite, I'd never do that again even *with the gbs. Live and learn.

Also, don't the med ppl just LOVE to throw around exaggerated rupture rates to vbac moms?!! At eight months along, a MEDwife in the practice decided to tell me I had a TEN percent chance of rupturing??!! WTH?! Needless to say, she was OFF my 'case!'

Wishing you a healthy labor and baby,
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Ooh, sorry about the pain...

I'm not worrying that acupuncture is dangerous... I have just come to the conclusion (from my reading) that too much uterine stimulation in a VBAC mom isn't the best idea... it's the reason I don't want to start with TENS, which is more stimulating that acu without TENS.

I'm heading for the low intervention route, anyway... We already have an agreement that I can go to 42 wks (if needed), which is more than a lot of drs. are willing to give. And absolutely no prostaglandins or pitocin. AROM, an epidural, etc. are up to me... I'll do them if they are warranted, but I see them only as tools to be used if nothing else is working.

I'll post later on how things go.
post #5 of 7
i had accupuncture when i was 13 days past due w/ ds, and planning a vbac. the needles were in my feet and legs, the back of my neck, and the web between my thumb and fore finger. when the practitioner twisted the needles in my hands, i felt uncomfortable uterine contractions. i ended up getting really stressed and started crying, and begged her to take them out. seeing the needles really freaked me. she taught me how to perform accupressure massage to the spot on my hand, and i spent all day sat and sun doing that, mon a.m. my water broke. i don't especially attribute that to the massage, as i was so over due anyway, and i know this isn't statistical information, but i thought i'd share anyway.
maybe try the massage first before going to needles. and i did castor oil several times that weekend, and black and blue cohosh. my mw gave it to me, never told me it was contraindicated for vbac. again, not sure it helped, but certainly didn't hurt.
post #6 of 7
I guess, since I'm such an acupuncture purist, I don't understand how it could be dangerous to begin with.

But I don't go to acupuncturists who attach anything to the needles, and they do what they do solely to help my body's chi (though they certainly do ask for all my symptoms!). I don't think I'd ever use a stimulation unit on the needle, unless it was moxibustion or something traditional like that.

So maybe I'm of no help at all! sorry!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Here I am to report back.

I had a session this afternoon. I think a really good thing is that I felt a very good rapport with the acupuncturist; I think she understood very well what I was looking for (because that's what I got!).

My needles were in my legs, lower back, back of neck, ears. Contrax started within a few minutes (same experience as last pregnancy). They seemed more organized and productive than most of the BH contrax I've been feeling. She did some needle twisting... this seemed to intensify the lower back part of the contrax, if that makes any sense. Finished up with some intense acupressure on the spleen meridian (IIRC... that super tender inner leg to ankle meridian). BH contrax continued in their more organized and productive state off and on all afternoon and evening. Gone now, but that's fine.

Anyway... I think it was/will be helpful... I guess I didn't mention it before, I did acupuncture at the end of my last pregnancy, too. (But much more intense acupuncture... I was "very overdue"... won't go into the details of why I had the cesarean--do believe it was necessary--the acupuncture couldn't have helped by that point, but I'm glad I did it...) I feel like this time, I have more time for more spaced out, low-key sessions...
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