Where are the pressure points to induce labor and how can I do it? The exact due date of your pregnancy is just an approximate date and you may very well start labor a week prior or after the due date.
When your baby is overdue it can cause a lot of anxiety and discomfort for mothers and it’s at this point many begin looking for ways to help, one such method is acupuncture for labor.
Many people swear by this practice which originated out of Chinese medicine over 5,000 years ago. Acupressure, also known as the practice of applying pressure to specific points on the body is recommended as an alternative method for helping to induce labor.
Massage Pressure Points to Induce Labor – Feet, back & ankles
Although it is not fully understood or proven why it helps, this practice originated from the more commonly known acupuncture, which involves stimulating blood flow through the use of needles.
Many women who have received acupressure insist it does help with labor, as stimulating the required areas prompts the body to release the neurotransmitter called Endorphin, the body’s natural painkiller, in turn, helping ease the pain, stress and some even believe it may even help to induce labor.
Before reading on, bear in mind that there is the risk that inducing pregnancy can make it more likely for accidental bowel movements to occur during labor.
Is it Safe to do Acupressure during Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time when you need to take extra care and consideration. So when is it considered safe to do acupressure during pregnancy? While opinion varies, prior to 12 weeks and the last month of pregnancy is commonly seen as the best times to do it. It’s a great way to relax and stimulate blood flow during these periods.
If you are overdue, the advice is to only partake in acupressure after the 41 weeks mark. Other times acupressure is considered acceptable, include the following circumstances:
- If you have exceeded the due date and labor has not yet commenced
- If you are in labor and want to help it along
- If your waters have broke and prior to the process of labor commencing
It’s also advisable to seek advice from your doctor prior to carrying out acupressure as it’s not always suitable for all parents to be. For instance, applying pressure to certain parts of the body may not be suitable for individuals with certain health conditions, so make sure you check with your doctor beforehand.
An Important Note about Acupressure
- Acupressure is not seen as valid by registered allopathic medical professionals; however, many alternative therapists hold the belief that it can aid in the process of labor.
- Labor is a process that occurs when your body is ready to deliver the baby, so acupressure cannot impinge this process.
- In any case always ensure you follow the advice and instructions of your doctor and seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your health, pregnancy or labor.
Acupressure Points to Induce Labor:
There are several pressure points to induce labor, which can be stimulated through acupressure to try and help induce labor, as well as to help maintain muscle strength and stimulate contractions.
These can be found ranging from your toes to your shoulders. Each has a specific force of pressure and massaging techniques required to aid in the desired result.
1. Pericardium 8 Point (Laogong):
The first point is the pericardium 8 point, also known as the ‘labor palace’ because of the effect it has on inducing labor.
Position: You can locate this pressure point by sliding your finger and thumb along the palm of your opposite hand. Next, bend your hand to make a fist and find the space between your index finger and your middle finger metacarpals, the long bones that connect your knuckles to your wrist.
Stimulation: To activate this pressure point applies gentle pressure and massage in a circular motion for a few seconds, repeat after waiting a minute.
2. Bladder 32 Point (Ciliao):
The bladder 67 point is the second acupressure point and is believed to help lower the baby into the birthing position and correct the position of breech babies.
Position: Located on your pinky toe you can find this pressure point on the outside of your toe, slightly below your toenail.
Stimulation: This acupressure has slightly higher pressure needed to get the result, almost as if you were to pinch your toe but not enough that you’re able to feel pain.
3. Liver 3 Point (Tai Chong):
Another pressure point located on your foot is called the liver 3 point.
Position: To find this on your foot slide your thumb and index finger between your big toe and index toe about 3 cm from where your toes join and apply slight pressure for a few seconds.
Stimulation: This acupressure point is said to be helpful in relieving the pain of menstrual cramps and lower back pain, as well as helping with relieving stress during labor.
4. Spleen 6 Point (Sanyinjiao):
Next is the spleen point, also known as Sanyinjiao, and can be found on your lower leg. The best time to use the spleen point is when needing help maintaining muscle strength during contractions and stimulating the cervix since this is believed to be affected by the spleen point.
Position: To locate the spleen point finds the back of your shinbone and places your fingers slightly behind it.
Stimulation: Slide your fingers along this point until you are about 4 fingers above the ankle bone, where you will apply light pressure for a few seconds and then release. Wait one minute and repeat the same procedure.
5. Bladder 60 Point (Kunlun):
The bladder 60 point is located in a similar area as the spleen point, on the back of your lower leg. This is another pressure point used to stimulate the body’s production of endorphins, resulting in eased pain associated with labor while also helping move along the birthing process.
Position: This pressure point has a higher tolerance and requires a more pressure to be applied while massaging the area in a circular motion for several minutes; you can wait a minute or two and repeat again.
Stimulation: To find the bladder 60 point place your fingers behind your ankle joint, located slightly above and further towards the back of your leg than your ankle bone.
6. Gallbladder 21 Point (Jian Jing):
The next pressure again requires the assistance of a partner for the best results since you will be reaching above your collarbone.
Position: To locate the gallbladder point slide your fingers upwards towards your head starting at your nipple until you reach the trapezius muscle. The trapezius muscle is about 2 inches above your collarbone and is the highest part of your shoulder when you squeeze you should be able to feel the muscle.
Stimulation: To activate this pressure point apply gentle pressure while massaging the area in a circular motion, making your way down towards your collarbone.
7. Bladder 32 Point (Ciliao):
Homeopathic experts say the bladder 32 acupressure point can be used to trigger contractions and aid in inducing labor.
Position: This pressure point is located on your lower back around the dimple of your buttocks. This pressure point requires a second hand to reach.
Stimulation: Get a partner to run their fingers down your spine until you find your intergluteal cleft and the groove slightly above where it starts. To use this pressure point correctly apply a slightly stronger pressure to the area and massage toward the buttocks for a while, take a break, then repeat again.
8. Kidney 1 Point (Yong Quan):
The kidney 1 point is said to ease your stress making labor a more enjoyable process while also providing a relaxing effect.
Position: This is another pressure point to induce labor that can be found on your foot, in the indent that appears on the sole of your foot when you point your toes. If you are having difficulty finding it you can also slide your thumb and index finger about 2 inches down towards your heel from where your index and middle toe meet.
Stimulation: Again, since your feet can handle a firmer grip apply more pressure to this point for around a minute, release and then repeat.