Acupuncture & Massage During Labor and Birth: Jody’s Story

Today’s guest post is a testimonial offered by Jody, whose baby Soren was born on October 15, 2013-  two years ago today. (Happy birthday, Soren!) Jody generously shares her abbreviated birth story with you here, explaining why she found acupuncture support to be so helpful during her long and intense natural birth, which was expertly attended by her partner, Licensed Midwives, a Certified Birth Doula, a professional birth and family photographer, her sister and several close friends. All photographs are by Little LA Photography, and may not be shared or reproduced without express permission by the photographer.

birthing stick

Abigail has been my acupuncturist for over four years. She supported me at my birth in three interrelated ways, each of which was invaluable and integral to my empowering birth experience.

First, during the long early stages of labor (which felt like active labor because my contractions were so close together!), Abigail drew on her experience as a massage therapist.


Photo Copyright Little LA Photography

She provided soothing massage, effective counter-pressure, and strong, supportive touch to help me through difficult contractions.

My birth team created an incredible backyard birthing garden for me, complete with an inflatable kiddie pool!

Photo Copyright Little LA Photography

Photo Copyright Little LA Photography

Abigail’s intuitive sense of what I needed and her willingness to do the work to support me in this way for hours was amazing. I would not choose to labor without Abigail at my side.

My birth team also included two phenomenal midwives, an excellent doula, and my loving partner.

Second, when my labor stalled and my midwife determined it was time to get it rolling again, Abigail was able to make that happen: after spending an entire night at my house, she used acupuncture in the wee hours of the morning to jump-start active labor.

Photo Copyright Little LA Photography

Photo Copyright Little LA Photography

I sat on the birth ball while she put acupuncture needles in my hands, feet and back. I felt so grateful to be able to DO SOMETHING to get labor going (or, really, to have something done to me).

And it worked! I started contracting regularly again, just as the sun was coming up on the second day of my labor.

Third, as the contractions started to get intense again, I was tired, concerned about conserving energy, and focused on being as comfortable as possible.

Soren's Mamas. Photo Copyright Little LA Photography.

Soren’s Mamas. Photo Copyright Little LA Photography.

At this point, Abigail did something really important: she spoke to me in an honest way, while holding space for how I was feeling.

She leaned right down to meet me eye-to-eye as I sat in the birth tub.  She told me that, in her experience, at a certain point in labor, it’s no longer about getting through the contractions and just waiting for the baby to make an appearance.

Abigail told me that eventually you have to go INTO the experience — INTO the intensity and pain — and get focused on bringing the baby down and out.

I remember looking at her, all innocence, and saying, “do you think this is that time?”

She looked me square in the eyes and unequivocally said, “yes.”

I heard her.

This was a turning point for me.

I felt strong and empowered.

I trusted Abigail implicitly, so now I knew what I had to do.

Now that I saw clearly that it was time to go INTO the intensity, I geared up to do what I had to do to get my baby out!  I gave birth to Soren ten hours of lunging, walking stairs, squatting, and pushing — ten hours of going INTO the experience — later.

We didn’t know until he was born that Soren was all wrapped up in the cord and that I was going to have to help him move down and out so much.  But I learned that I needed get INTO it to get him OUT! And I did it.

Photo Copyright Little LA Photography

Photo Copyright Little LA Photography

Hello, Soren! Thank you, Abigail!

This guest post was written by Jody, and published on MamaFloat with permission. No part of this post may be reproduced in any way, shape or form. 

If you would like more information about finding a Licensed Midwife to support you during pregnancy and planned homebirth, contact the North American Registry of Midwives. For a list of homebirth midwives in the Los Angeles area, contact me at abigail at floatchinesemedicalarts dot com. For information on finding a certified doula to attend your homebirth, birth center birth or hospital birth in Southern California, contact the Doulas Association of Southern California