Acupressure to Induce Labour – Pressure Points You Should Know

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A man massaging a pregnant woman's lower back to induce labour

The entire process of seeing your baby grow inside you is a roller coaster ride. And as you reach the verge of delivery, you can’t wait to hold your baby in your arms. At the same time, you are partially relieved of the fact that your pregnancy time is coming to an end. That relief, however, might take a long time to arrive due to delayed labour. In such cases, many women have heard of acupressure working wonders for the same.

What is Acupressure?

A woman going through an acupressure massage

The word acupressure and acupuncture can cause a lot of confusion and even instil a fear because of it. Both might sound similar but the techniques used are completely different. Acupuncture uses needles that pierce the body and trigger certain points. Acupressure does pretty much the same thing but without needles. Having existed for more than 5000 years and trickled down through the Chinese culture, acupressure is the application of external force on certain pressure points of the body. It can be done either by using fingers, or sometimes even by using feet, knees, elbows, and legs.

Is Acupressure Safe during Pregnancy?

Acupressure has a ton of benefits right from releasing energy blockages, encouraging the baby to take an appropriate position for delivery, bring relief from pain, maintain proper hormonal levels, and so on. However, getting your doctor’s recommendation is absolutely essential before trying out any acupressure procedures. All pressure points existing in the body are not necessarily beneficial for a pregnant woman. Since acupressure releases energy, it ends up affecting the hormones and increases blood circulation, which makes it quite beneficial in the first 3 months of the pregnancy and the final month. However, acupressure could also result in causing contractions of the uterus.

Does Acupressure Really Work to Bring on Labour?

Studies revolving around acupressure to start labour are not as widespread as others. However, the ones that exist seem to hint towards a positive answer. Both acupressure, as well as acupuncture, have shown their effectiveness in inducing labour as well as relieving labour pains.

At times, using acupressure techniques could cut down the duration of labour leading to a speedy delivery. The pressure points used in the procedure assist the baby in moving down the birth canal which triggers the labour and assists in easy delivery as well.

How does Acupressure Work?

The governing principle of acupressure is relieving the energy that is trapped in various parts of the body. Inside the body, all activities have a natural flow to them that allows it function without problems. When there are obstacles in this flow, it results in pain or tightness in an area and so on. What acupressure does is remove these obstacles or reduce them in a natural way, so that the bodily processes can continue unabated. With pregnancy, labour might be delayed due to many circumstances, when it should happen in a natural way. Acupressure helps the body achieve that normal progress of the labour cycle by clearing up the pathway of any issues.

When is it Safe to Use Acupressure for Inducing Labour?

For pregnant women, the acupressure spots must be triggered only if:

  • You are past your due date and yet there are no signs of a delivery taking place.
  • Your labour has been induced but muscles lack the strength for contractions.
  • Active labour is yet to begin and the amniotic sac has broken already.

Things to Remember before Trying Acupressure

  • Acupressure has not been medically validated as an approved method by doctors. That being said, there are health experts dealing with alternative medicinal therapy who swear by its usefulness.
  • Acupressure will stimulate labour in an effective manner when the time is right. Therefore, your labour will begin only if you are the right stage of pregnancy for labour to be induced.
  • In case you do opt for using acupressure, make sure you are in a place and position to carry out the delivery, should labour be induced because of it.

Common Pressure Points to Induce Labor

Listed below are some of the common pressure points that are believed to induce labour.

1. Kidney 3 Point

This point is known to affect the emotional health and reduce anxiety in a lot of ways. For pregnant women, it can help reduce the pain in the back when labour is induced.

Location

Right in the middle of the ankle bone and the back of the ankle towards the inner side.

How To Activate?

Start applying pressure gradually in the upward direction using your thumb for a minute.

2. Bladder 28 Point

Bladder Shu is how this point is referred to in the traditional way. This point, too, helps about in bringing relief from a backache during labour.

Location

Located between the ribcage and sacrum, towards the inner bladder line.

How To Activate?

Locate the point halfway down the ribcage and press on it for a few minutes using the index finger.

3. Bladder 48 Point

Stimulates the area around the pelvis that reduce sciatica pain, hip pain, and any tension in the pelvic region.

Location

About 10 cms below the base of the spine between the top of the hipbone and the butt.

How To Activate?

Since the point is soft, apply little pressure while gently massaging it.

4. Bladder 60 Point

One of the key ankle acupressure points that help stimulate the process of birth and reduce labour pains.

Location

Lies between the outer side of the ankle and the Achilles muscle right behind the joint.

How To Activate?

Use your thumb to apply pressure firmly for a few minutes.

5. Liver 3 Point

Used to bring relief from menstrual pains and even insomnia, it also relieves any back pain during labour.

Location

Lies about 3 cms away from the toes, in the middle of the first two toes, on the top side of the foot.

How To Activate?

Press the point gently using your thumb for a few minutes.

6. Gallbladder 21 Point

This is one of the major points that can cause contractions and allow the baby to descend speedily.

Location

Lies on the trapezius muscle towards the top, directly in a vertical line above the nipple.

How To Activate?

Massage the shoulder area downwards with a little pressure.

7. Kidney 1 Point

One of the popular points that can bring relief from pain at any point in time as well as reduce panic and anxiety.

Location

Below the foot, on the depressed area of the sole, right in the line of the middle toe junction.

How To Activate?

Apply some pressure and then let go. Repeat after a few seconds.

8. Large Intestine 4 Point

This point, too, streamlines the contractions, making them consistent and efficient, while supporting labour.

Location

Between the thumb webbing and the index finger, an inch above on the back of the hand.

How To Activate?

Apply pressure using the other thumb and remove. Repeat in a cycle with small breaks.

9. Bladder 67 Point

In correcting a baby’s position, this point works wonders, especially for breech babies and also for inducing labour.

Location

On the side of the little finger of the foot, nearly 0.1 inches behind the nail.

How To Activate?

Use your thumb and index finger to pinch the toe in that area, but in a gentle manner.

10. Bladder 32 Point

While trigger contractions, this point also resolves issues of the dilated cervix and other infections as well.

Location

Below the spine in the area where buttock dimples are situated.

How To Activate?

Press the point while massaging it downwards. Stop and repeat after some time.

11. Pericardium 8 Point

Yet another popular point that is known to induce labour pretty efficiently.

Location

Lies at the centre of the palm between the metacarpals when you bend the middle finger.

How To Activate?

Use the other thumb to press down on the area and massage it.

12. Spleen 6 Point

For reducing the labour duration, this is an effective point since it also strengthens the contractions and ripens the cervix.

Location

Behind the shin, 4 cms above the anklebone.

How To Activate?

Apply pressure using the index finger for a while and stop. Repeat after a break.

Effective Tips that Provide Comfort with Acupressure Labor

  • Try out a few breathing exercises to calm down the body before beginning the process.
  • Acupressure massage to induce labour can be conducted in any order of the points.
  • Bladder 28 & 48, stomach 29 and kidney 3 points are quite successful in reducing any pain during labour.
  • Spleen 6, large intestine 4 and gallbladder 21 are the points that help the body get ready for delivery.
  • Having your feet rubbed as you deliver the baby can bring your immense relief.
  • Using the acupressure points while delivery is ongoing can help reduce the pain quite a bit.

How Fast can Acupressure Induce Labour?

The effects of acupressure vary from person to person. Pregnant women can experience the onset of labour within an hour of applying pressure or even take as long as the next day.

A delayed delivery can cause immense emotional and physical trouble to a pregnant woman. By making use of acupressure points for labour pain and delivery, you can ensure that the process is smooth and comfortable for you and look forward to taking care of your newborn child.

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