To acu or not to acu..?

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To acu or not to acu..?

Postby scotrail » 30 Mar 2014, 18:05

Should I have acupuncture at birth or not?!

OK, so I went to the pre-birth appointment at the (midwife-led) birth unit at the hospital, and the midwife asked if I had any particular requirements or wishes. I pointed out that I would like to not be left alone for hours (last time I fell asleep in the pool and it messed up the whole process), nor to be internally examined by 12 ppl (not that I'm squeamish but I got a post-partum infection which I'm sure was due to one of those 12 ppl touching something before they touched me!), and lastly, not to be offered acupuncture.

The last bit got her all up in arms. She crossed her arms and said sternly "but we see it working all the time!" I said that I can see why trigger point needling might help with muscular issues, but that I've yet to see research indicating that it's not all placebo when they put a needle at the top of your head and say it's going to "release your birth energy" (quote midwife from last time!!). I found the acupuncture quite painful and it appeared to have absolutely no effect whatsoever -I only said yes because the staff seemed so enthusiastic, even though I really don't believe in energy meridians and that sort of thing.

I went home and googled a little to see if anything scientific has happened since I last gave birth, but could find no authoritative review of blinded RCTs (obviously double-blind would be asking a bit much as the acupuncturist has to know where to put their needles!). A couple of single trials showed promise, but I thought most of them had methodical issues.

My take on it is that relaxation is very important in birth, and that if having some needling done helps people relax, then it will appear to help the birthing process. When someone is desperately in pain and is offered a panacea by an authority, the placebo effect (which should not be discounted!) kicks in. Saying "it works" only convinces me if they did sham needling on half the birthees!

But now I'm a bit worried that I'm missing out on a fantastic method of pain relief by turning them down. I mean, midwives are meant to know what they're doing, right?
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Re: To acu or not to acu..?

Postby blackberrycrimble » 30 Mar 2014, 18:20

Personally, I wouldn't let the midwife bully you into something you didn't find effective last time and can't find much evidence for.

I would tend to agree that for someone who finds it relaxing, it might help to calm and focus. but otherwise? Stick to your guns! I had pethidine with Fluff (and everything else) and i really didn't like what it did to me, so it was clear in my birth plan that I didn't want it again.
My peas are gone as well as my marbles.
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Re: To acu or not to acu..?

Postby FestiveTidings » 30 Mar 2014, 18:21

Have no advice as to wether it works or not but honestly if that was offered in my hospital I would be showing them where they could stick their needles. To me, it's an alternative therapy like hypnobirthing. I think if you believe it's going to work then the chances are it will - not so much the placebo effect but a self fulfilling prophesy? I think you perhaps need to try acupuncture on its own first (ie not while in the throes of labour) and see if it makes any impact on you. It's one of these things that either works for you or leaves you feeling bleh.
Mum to Roo born Feb 2011 and Wee One born April 2014 - each one a miracle.
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Re: To acu or not to acu..?

Postby Rahgamuffin » 31 Mar 2014, 06:06

I would say not, because you don't want it! Lots of things are helpful for some women - some like water, some don't, some like massage, some don't, you're unique :) The feedback the midwife gets is going to be from people that it made a difference for - not many people feedback when something is neither positive or negative.
Mum to B (05/08), J (02/11) & L (01/14)
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Re: To acu or not to acu..?

Postby scotrail » 31 Mar 2014, 17:13

Thanks guys, I think you made up my mind.. I will go with the gas, air, pool, whatever.. and hope I avoid the epidural this time. I can't believe I actually wanted that enormous needle anywhere near me last time, but in times of desperation ;)
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