Table Of Contents:
- History Of Acupressure
- When to Use The Acupressure Points
- Things To Remember Before Trying Acupressure
- Pressure Points To Induce Labor
- Useful Tips That Provide Comfort With Acupressure Labor
- Role Of Acupressure For Labor Induction
Due dates are just estimates. It is quite common for mothers-to-be to go into labor a couple of weeks before or after the due date. However, an overdue can make you feel stressful and uncomfortable. This is when you would turn to other methods of delivery. One such popular method is acupressure for labor.
Sounds new? Momjunction helps you know all about acupressure to induce labor effectively and naturally.
Acupressure For Labor:
Acupressure is an age-old practice stemming from traditional China. Derived from acupuncture, which uses needles, acupressure uses finger pressure at certain locations to relieve you of stress and pain.
The therapy works by stimulating different points on the body and maintaining the energy flow throughout the body, removing any blockages in the way.
It is thought to stimulate labor and also help ease pain and discomfort associated with different stages of labor by stimulating the release of endorphin, the natural painkillers of the body (1).
[ Read: Simple Ways to Induce Labor Naturally ]
When Is It Safe To Use Acupressure During Pregnancy?
You can use acupressure during your first ten to 12 weeks, and in the last four weeks of pregnancy. It helps boost the blood flow to the uterus and also stimulates the hormonal responses.
If you are way past your pregnancy due date, you can practice acupressure only after 41 weeks of gestation (2).
There are three situations where you can use acupressure points to induce the labor process.
- When the due date has passed and the delivery did not happen yet.
- When you are in labor and require contractions to strengthen muscles.
- Where the amniotic fluid breaks with a gush of fluid before the active labor commences.
You can use acupressure only when you are in any of the above situations and not before them.
It is always important to talk to your healthcare provider before you consider acupressure. Certain trigger points may not be suitable for every mom-to-be or the baby, and you should avoid using them during pregnancy.
Points To Note Before Trying Acupressure:
- Though acupressure is not validated by allopathic practitioners, many alternative health experts believe it helps you deal with the labor pains.
- Your body will not go into labor unless and until it is ready. But, as there are no negative impacts associated with the use of acupressure to stimulate labor, it can be used effectively.
- Do make sure you are in a situation where you can deliver if you go into labor.
Acupressure Points To Induce Labor:
1. Spleen 6 Point (Sanyinjiao):
The Spleen 6 acupressure point is known to shorten the labor process and reduce pain (3). Acupressure experts also believe that it helps encourage labor process by causing cervical ripening and contractions strengthening.
Location: On the backside of the shinbone, four cm above (or four fingers width) the anklebone
Activation: Use your index finger to apply gentle pressure on this point for a few seconds. Remove the pressure, take a one-minute break, and repeat.
2. Pericardium 8 Point (Laogong):
It is very useful in inducing labor and is also called labor palace.
Location: In the middle of the palm region between the second and third metacarpals when you bend your middle finger
Activation: Use the thumb of the other hand to apply gentle pressure on the point. Massage the area for a few seconds.
3. Bladder 32 Point (Ciliao):
It is known to trigger labor contractions, and help treat gynecological issues such as cervical dilation and infections.
Location: In the dimple of your buttocks, which you can locate by running your fingers way down your spine until you get right above the intergluteal cleft.
Activation: Apply gentle pressure on the point and massage towards the buttock for some time. Stop, take a break, and repeat.
[ Read: When & How To Push During Delivery? ]
4. Bladder 67 Point (Zhiyin):
It is helpful in turning the breech babies to correct position. It is also useful to stimulate uterine contractions and induce labor by bringing the baby to lower positions for birth (4).
Location: On the lateral side of the little toe (also known as Pinky toe), about 0.1 body inch posterior to the nail’s corner.
Activation: Apply firm pressure on this point using your thumb and index fingers, as if you are pinching the toe. The pinch should be so gentle that you should not feel any pain.
5. Large Intestine 4 Point (Hoku):
Also known as Joining Valley, this point helps to stimulate and support the labor process. It makes more efficient contractions and also makes the irregular ones consistent. It also helps in relieving pain and strengthens immunity (5).
Location: On the back of the hand in between the webbing of your thumb and index finger about one inch above the web
Activation: Apply firm pressure using the thumb of your other hand and massage for one minute. Remove the pressure, take a break, and repeat.
6. Kidney 1 Point (Yong Quan):
This foot pressure point offers a great relaxing effect, and you can use it at any time of the labor. It produces a calming effect during the transition, and the best pressure point to use when you are positioned on your knees. It is useful when your labor brings in mixed feelings of panic.
Location: In the depression that appears on the sole, when the foot is in plantar flexion (movement of the foot where toes or foot flex downward towards the sole). It lies at the junction of the anterior and middle toes of the sole.
Activation: Apply firm pressure on this point for some time and then release. Give a break and repeat.
7. Gallbladder 21 Point (Jian Jing):
It will stimulate contractions and, therefore, make the baby descend quickly into the pelvic region. It also provides relief from labor pain (6).
Location: On the top of the trapezius muscle, directly above the nipple, i.e., the peak region of the shoulder situated a little far away from the neck
Activation: Apply gentle pressure and massage the area towards downwards.
[ Read: Gallstones During Pregnancy ]
8. Liver 3 Point (Tai Chong):
This pressure point on feet is helpful for relieving lower back pain during labor. It is also beneficial for menstrual cramps, anxiety, and insomnia.
Location: On the top of the foot in between the big toe and second toe, about two to three cms away from these toes
Activation: Use your thumb to apply gentle pressure on the point for a few seconds.
[ Read: Castor Oil To Induce Labor ]
9. Bladder 60 Point (Kunlun):
This pressure point is useful for encouraging the baby birth process, easing labor pain, and reducing any obstructions.
Location: Behind the ankle joint, in between the prominence of lateral malleolus (outer side of ankle formed by the lower end of the fibula) and the muscle of Achilles.
Activation: Apply firm pressure using your thumb, and massage the area for a few minutes.
10. Bladder 48 Point (Yang Gang):
Also known as the Bladder Vitals, it helps relieve back pain, and stimulates energy flow through the pelvis. It is beneficial for lower backache, pelvic tension, hip pain, and sciatica which are developed during pregnancy.
Location: About three cuns width (Chinese unit, 1cun = 3.333cm) outside the sacrum (the large bony area at the spine base), midway between the iliac crest (top of the hip bone) and base of the buttock.
Activation: Apply gentle pressure to the point and massage for some time. It is a very soft point, henceforth stimulate with care.
11. Bladder 28 Point (Pang Guang Shu):
Also known as Bladder Shu, this pressure point helps greatly in relieving lower back during labor.
Location: In the inner bladder line, halfway between the sacrum and the ribcage
Activation: Use your index finger to press this point for a few minutes.
12. Kidney 3 Point (Tai Xi):
It is also called The Great Ravine, useful for treating lower back pain during labor. It is also helpful for emotional well-being and combating fear.
Location: On the inner side of the ankle midway between the ankle bone and back of the ankle.
6 Useful Tips To Get Comfort With Acupressure Labor:
Some simple measures can help when you stimulate the above pressure points for labor. They can provide comfort during the labor process.
- Start the acupressure session with some breathing exercises, and do not perform any stretches at this time.
- These labor inducing pressure points can be stimulated in any order.
- The points that help subside the discomfort at the early labor stage are bladder 28, bladder 48, stomach 29, and kidney 3 points.
- The points, which assist in delivery and prepare the body are spleen 6, large intestine 4 and gallbladder 21 points.
- Your partner should assist you in rubbing your feet during and after the delivery.
- Use these acupressure points at any time during the delivery as it offers relaxation from back pain and prepares the body for a smooth labor.
[ Read: Exercises to Induce Labor Naturally ]
Acupressure Role In Labor Induction:
Acupressure is the best natural way to induce labor. When you receive pressure on the acupressure points, it stimulates the blood flow helping the baby move into the pelvis. It keeps your baby in the right position for labor, initiates contractions and dilates the cervix. There is also an additional benefit of acupressure for labor induction. It relieves labor pains and is free of side effects.
If you try stimulating any of the points and feel pain, stop immediately. These stimulation techniques must help you induce labor effortlessly and not cause discomfort or pain. It is also important to note that different points work for different women. You may try stimulating one point at a time to see how your body reacts to it.
Most Frequently Asked Question:
Q. How fast does acupressure work to induce labor?
A. This is a million dollar question, and no one knows for sure. You will start to feel a response from acupressure from an hour to a day. Also, the effects may vary from woman to woman. However, regular use of pressure points can speed up the labor process.
Did you use acupressure during pregnancy? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section below.
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