TCM protocols for ruptured membranes

TCM views ruptured membranes as disharmonious and as a potentially preventable disruptive event. The term “ruptured membranes” is what some people would describe as ‘your water breaking’ or ‘release of amniotic fluid’. All terms suggest the same thing and provide an excellent insight that your body is getting ready for the adventure of labour. It is valuable to keep in mind only 1 out of every 10 women experience the release of fluids before experiencing the onset of labour (1)

From a TCM perspective, it stems from a deficiency of yang, Qi, and or dampness

What does this mean?

In simple terms, dampness is the stagnation of fluids. When the body is unable to move fluids efficiently, this results in an overall feeling of heaviness, achiness, especially achy joints, and swelling. Dampness has many origins, (poor diet, lack of exercise, environmental – living in damp conditions, mold)

Qi deficiency and yang deficiency are both ways of describing a lack of energy or power.

The body can not create efficient contractions. This typically occurs from doing too much, ‘pushing through’, or after an illness (eek covid). This demonstrates how valuable it is to listen to our body’s internal and external cues to slow down.

As a society, we encourage business as usual even for cyclical, hormonal bodies. Most pregnant individuals will work till full-term whether for financial reasons, external pressure, or simply for fear of being in the quiet unknown before birth.

Most of the folks coming to the clinic don’t know how to stop, relax or take a nap.

If a person is exhausted before birth their outcome for spontaneous labour and vaginal delivery are greatly reduced.

When your membranes rupture and there are no contractions using acupuncture has demonstrated success in encouraging contractions (2)

What can acupuncture do to help?

In order to prevent being artificially induced, acupuncture is beneficial as soon as possible and possibly again if there are still no contractions as you reach the 24-hour mark, which is usually the cut-off for induction (3)

We encourage coming in for acupuncture throughout pregnancy to maintain balance and strengthen the body’s reserves. Towards the end of pregnancy cervical ripening acupuncture is used as a labor prep. And no, there are no points on your cervix!

Cervical ripening is often your only pause before the storm. It’s a time to discharge both physical and emotional stress.
Sometimes this is through dialogue if appropriate, or simply through the alignment that occurs with acupuncture.

A New Zealand study published in 2006 found that women who received weekly acupuncture in the 4 weeks prior to birth had a (4):
A 35% reduction in the number of medical inductions
A 31% reduction in epidural use
A 32% reduction in emergency C-section rate
A 9% increase in normal vaginal births

If you’re looking for a local acupuncture clinic, please feel free to get in touch with Acumamas located in Vancouver. We would love to help answer any questions you may have regarding acupuncture and how it can be beneficial throughout your pregnancy and birth experience.  https://acumamas.janeapp.com

 

References:

1. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health: Vol 61, no 4. Wiley Online Library. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2022, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/15422011/2016/61/4

2. Acupuncture Administered after Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes at Term Significantly Reduces the Length of Birth and Use of Oxytocin: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Obstetric Anesthesia Digest: June 2007 – Volume 27 – Issue 2 – p 96-97 https://journals.lww.com/obstetricanesthesia/Citation/2007/06000/Acupuncture_Administered_after_Spontaneous_Rupture.50.aspx

3. Gaudernack, Forbord, S., & Hole, E. (2006). Acupuncture administered after spontaneous rupture of membranes at term significantly reduces the length of birth and use of oxytocin. A randomized controlled trial. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 85(11), 1348–1353. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17091416/

4. Betts, Debra & Lenox, S.. (2006). Acupuncture For Prebirth Treatment: An Observational Study Of Its Use In Midwifery Practice. Medical Acupuncture. 17. 16-19.

Leave a Comment