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To Ripen or Not to Ripen - Cervical Ripening in preparation for natural birth*

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Cervical ripening is the process which occurs at the end of pregnancy as the cervix begins to soften, thin and dilate to prepare for the birth of your baby.

The question is should I start treatment at 36 weeks to ripen or not?

The answer is it is totally up to you!

But, once you hit 40 weeks it is too late to start and we cannot go back in time wishing we had started. So the option is always open and it is a nice tool to use for you and baby in preparation for a natural vaginal birth.

Acupuncture treatments focus on the entire pregnant woman, and can facilitate the cervix to soften and a natural dilation to occur. For baby the treatment will help achieve an optimal position and for mama it relieves aches and pains and helps to calm anxieties and fears around birth.

There are many studies documenting the benefits of receiving acupuncture in the final weeks of pregnancy. Pre-birth acupuncture has been shown to be a safe option for supporting cervical ripening and shortening the the time interval between due date and actual time of delivery. Studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce the duration of labour, particularly the first stage of labour . A study published in 2006 observed 169 women receiving pre-birth acupuncture. In comparison to those who did not receive acupuncture, the women who received pre-birth treatments had a:

- 35% reduction in medical inductions (43% if it was the woman’s first baby)

- 31% reduction in epidurals

- 32% reduction in emergency c-sections

Acupuncture in the late stages of pregnancy is a safe and relaxing option for those looking to prepare their body and mind for labour. I offer cervical ripening acupuncture starting from 36-37 weeks twice a week until labour begins. I enjoy accompanying you at the beginning of the journey into labour, and then I love getting to see the beautiful baby afterwards!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at

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