Many post term pregnant women prefer using alternative medicine to help in induction of labor if medical induction is to be avoided. And for this one popular method for induction of labor is acupressure. According to some studies it has shown that acupressure helps in induction of labor.
Acupressure is lesser known as acupuncture. Acupuncture is the traditional Chinese medical practice of sticking thin needles into areas of the body that are believed to control a specific organ or body part. This helps in relieving pain and preventing illness. But in acupressure, it requires physical pressure and massage from the hands to be applied instead of needles.
Pregnant women should check with the doctors before trying any acupressure treatments. Women during the first 10 to 12 weeks and final 4 weeks of pregnancy are more susceptible to acupressure treatments. This might increase blood flow to the uterus, influence hormonal responses and stimulate uterine contractions. So, before starting the treatment consult the doctor.
12 Most Effective Acupressure Points to Induce Labor
The major 12 acupressure points on the body to induce labor are –
1.Spleen 6 Point (S6P)
It is considered as one of the most versatile and commonly used points. It is used in many conditions including labor induction. It is located above the ankle, on the backside of the shinbone (lower calf). It is about the distance of four finger widths above the inner ankle bone.
How it is done- use the index finger to apply firm pressure on the point for a few seconds. Take a minute break before repeating.
2.Bladder 60 Point (BL60)
It is located on the foot, in the depression between the ankle and the Achilles tendon. It is used to promote labor, ease labor pain and reduce obstruction. It is a few inches below SP6.
How it is done- use the thumb to apply light pressure to BL60 and massage the point for a few minutes.
3.Pericardium 8 Point (PC8)
It is very useful in inducing labor. It is located in the center of the palm. It can be found easily by making a fist and finding the point where the middle fingertip touches the palm.
How it is done- use the thumb of the other hand to apply light pressure to the point. Massage for a few seconds.
4.Bladder 67 Point (BL67)
It is located on the outside of the end of the pinky toe, near the edge of the nail. It is used to turn the fetus and stimulate uterine contractions.
How it is done – apply firm pressure on BL67 with the thumb and index finger, as if pinching the toe.
5.Large Intestine 4 Point (LI4)
It is the most common point in acupressure therapy. It is located on the back of the hand, deep between the webbing of the thumb and pointer finger. Like BL67, the LI4 point is also believed to induce labor. It may stop pain and strengthen immunity, among other problem relieving functions.
How it is done – apply soft pressure with the thumb and massage the point for one minute, take a minute break and start again.
6.Bladder 32 Point (BL32)
It is located in the dimple of the buttocks, which can be found by running the fingers down the spine until it reaches right above the intergluteal cleft. This point is believed to trigger contractions and help relieve labor issues.
How it is done – press firmly on the point and massage, moving toward the buttocks. This should be repeated for a few minutes.
7.Kidney 3 Point (K3P)
It helps reduce the pain in the back when labor is induced. It is located in the right in the middle of the ankle bone and the back of the ankle towards the inner side.
How it is done – start applying pressure gradually in the upward direction using thumb for a minute.
8.Bladder 28 Point (BL28)
It helps in bringing relief from a backache during labor. It is located between the ribcage and sacrum towards the inner bladder line.
How it is done – locate the point halfway down the ribcage and press on it for a few minutes using the index finger.
9.Bladder 48 Point (BL48)
It stimulates the area around the pelvis that reduce sciatica pain, hip pain and any tension in the pelvic region. It is located in about 10 cms below the base of the spine between the top of the hipbone and the butt.
How it is done – since id point is soft, apply little pressure while gently massaging it.
10.Kidney 1 Point (K1P)
It can bring relief from pain at any point in time as well as reduce panic and anxiety. It is located below the foot, on the depressed area of the sole, right in the line of the middle toe junction.
How it is done – apply some pressure and then let go. Repeat after a few seconds.
11.Liver 3 Point (L3P)
It brings relief from menstrual pains and insomnia. It also relieves any back pain during labor. It is located about 3 cms away from the toes, in the middle of the first two toes, on the top side of the foot.
How it is done – press the point gently using the thumb for a few minutes.
12.Gallbladder 21 Point
This is the major points that can cause contractions and allow the baby to descend speedily. It is located on the trapezius muscle towards the top, directly in a vertical line above the nipple.
How it is done – massage the shoulder area downwards with a little pressure.
Is Acupressure During Pregnancy?
Acupressure has many benefits like releasing energy blockages, encouraging the baby to take an appropriate position for delivery, bring relief from pain and maintain proper hormone levels. All pressure points are not necessarily beneficial. Since it releases energy, it ends up affecting the hormones and increases blood circulation which makes it beneficial in the first 3 months of pregnancy and the last month. These are the situations when acupressure can be used to induce the labor process –
- When the due date has passed and the delivery did not happen yet.
- When in labor and require contractions to strengthen muscles.
- Where the amniotic fluid breaks with a gush of fluid before the active labor commences.
Does Acupressure Really Work to Bring on Labor?
Both acupressure and acupuncture have shown effectiveness in inducing labor as well as relieving labor pains. Sometimes, using acupressure could cut down the duration of labor leading to a speed delivery. The pressure points help the baby in moving down the birth canal which triggers the labor and assists in easy delivery as well.
How Does Acupressure Work?
The principle behind acupressure is relieving the energy that is trapped in the various parts of the body. Inside the body, all activities have a natural flow to them that allows it to function without problems. If there are any obstacles in this flow, it leads to pain and tightness in the area. Acupressure removes these obstacles or reduce them in a natural way. Therefore, it helps the body achieve that normal progress of the labor cycle by clearing up the pathway of any issues.
Things to Remember Before Trying Acupressure
- It is not medically approved. There are health experts dealing with alternative medicinal therapy.
- It stimulates labor in an effective manner when the time is right. Therefore, the labor will begin only when the right stage of pregnancy for labor to be induced.
- Make sure the place and position to carry out the delivery, should labor be induced because of it.
How Fast Does Acupressure Work to Induce Labor?
Not exactly the answer is known for this question. The response can be felt from acupressure from an hour to a day and the effects may vary from woman to woman. If using acupressure regularly it can speed up the labor induction process.
Acupressure is a method to stimulate labor without any drugs and other medical techniques. But always better to consult a doctor first before starting any treatment.