Dr E: Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for Labour and Childbirth
As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture I also trained to become a doula
(birth assistant) and have since assisted women in labour at home, in hospital and at birth centres with Acupuncture, Acupressure and Chinese Herbal Medicine for birth, labour and postpartum.
During labour, I choose acupressure and acupuncture points most commonly used for general pain relief in labour: SP6, LI4, BL32, BL60, GB21, BL67 and LV3.
For specific conditions, I use the following points:
- Failure to progress/strengthen contractions; SP6, LI4.
- Cervical Dilation: SP6, BL60.
- Baby Descend: GB21, BL60.
- Failure to progress (2nd Stage): GB21, LI4.
- Delivery of Placenta: GB21, LI4
Other points are included depending on the conditions that arise, for example: P6 for nausea, ST36 for fatigue, GV26 and GV20 for shock.
Throughout labour, I work with long, deep breathing and assist the birthing mother to try different labour positions.
The birthing mothers feel that the use of the points and breathing greatly assist how they cope with the pain of labour contractions. They feel a marked difference when assisted in this manner.
In conclusion, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture provide tools for an accessible, effective and safe method of pain relief during labour.
Dr M: Case study
I have an interesting case I attended to recently.
A 26 year old female who presented with a severe headache for the past 6 days. She was admitted to a local hospital. She is HIV positive, her cd4 count was 548. On questioning she had a lumbar puncture and some blood tests. No drips. She was discharged after 2 days with pain pills only.
She came with her mother to consult me the next day. She appeared very uncomfortable, covering her eyes complaining of severe headache in the back of the head and neck. She was irritable the whole night and could not sleep. Her pulse in left hand appeared wiry in the liver area, she had no fever and she had some stiffness of neck and felt dizzy. BP 120/90. Her blood sugar was normal.
Provisional Medical diagnosis: Migraine. Lumbar Puncture was normal at hospital.
Chinese Medicine Diagnosis: Liver yang rising. Internal wind pattern.
Acupuncture points selected to reduce and relieve headache: LI 4, GB 8+20, LIV 3,
Herbal prescription: Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang - 4 tablets 3 times a day.
I asked her to return 3 days later.
At the follow-up she came on her own, eyes normal, neck pain and headache gone. She felt better. Her complaint was some dizziness but more vertigo even when lying down.
Herbal prescription - I prescribed more Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang and Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang.
She would return the following week for a follow-up. She called to say she felt much better and would not come in.