Stimulation of pressure points is one of the most effective and safest techniques for inducing labor. A pregnant woman has certain spots in her body, which when pressed gently, may stimulate uterine contractions. Maternity acupressure is well-known to ease and smoothen the process of childbirth.
Acupressure points which are used for labor induction should not be used during the 36 weeks of pregnancy, and should only be done to induce labor after the 37th week or passing of the due date.
Each acupressure point explained in this article, is also used to treat different ailments, as mentioned below, but should not be used to treat those conditions on an expecting mother.
This therapy, at all times, should only be done under the strict guidance of a qualified medical expert.
What is Acupressure?
Acupressure is a very old Chinese healing art developed around 4,500 years ago. It is a procedure used for healing and curing different types of ailments, using fingers and applying pressure on the various points, which gradually stimulates the body’s self-healing capabilities. This method influences the energies and gives positive vibes to the twelve meridians that a human body has.
5 Most Effective Points
Spleen 6 (SP 6)
Chinese Name: San Yin Jiao ( Three Yin Intersection or Life Support )
Position: This is a point where three yin channels meet, i.e., kidney, spleen and liver. This point is located on the inner side of the leg, between the Achilles tendon and the ankle bone, four-fingers width upwards from the ankle bone and on the back side of the shinbone.
Role: Firmly press this point by rubbing it for several minutes, every hour. This procedure might help in expansion of the cervix and toning the contractions. It may also stimulate the baby to move downwards into the pelvis.
Other Ailments: This point is also used in treating sleep disorders, menstrual cramps, abdominal pain, gynecological issues, urinary infections, anxiety, diarrhea, digestive problems, and emotional instabilities. It nurtures the blood vessels as well.
Bladder 32 (UB 32)
Chinese Name: Ci Liao (Second Bone Hole)
Position: It is located on either sides of the body’s median, in the little hole on the sacrum, behind the superior iliac spine, in the second sacral hiatus. You can feel this point as a small dimple above the top of the buttock bend.
Role: Using the thumb, apply firm pressure from this point vertically downward till the buttocks. Repeat this procedure for around five to six minutes. It helps in regulating the lower abdomen and the pelvic area and hence, elevates labor. This pressure point can be used in combination with bladder 31, 33, and 34 points (all located in the little holes on the sacrum).
Other Ailments: Stimulating this pressure point helps in curing problems related to gynecology like painful menses and leukorrhea (white mucus discharge from vagina, indicating infection), poor blood circulation, urinary tract related disorders, etc.
Large Intestine 4 (LI 4)
Chinese Name: Hoku or Hegu (Union Valley or Great Eliminator)
Position: It lies in the webbing between the thumb and the index finger. It is exactly located at the juncture of these two finger bones.
Role: Apply pressure and gently massage this point. Rubbing this point for a few minutes would stimulate contractions. A part of the uterus which is bordered by the large intestine is affected by this pressure point. Hoku, when pressed on steadily during labor, eases pain.
Other Ailments: This point is very effective for the head, face and mouth and is used for the treatment of headaches, fever, sore eyes and throat, sinus-related problems, allergies, etc. It also reduces shoulder and arm pain.
Gallbladder 21 (GB 21)
Chinese Name: Jian Jing (Shoulder Well)
Position: This pressure point is located at the stem of the neck and at the peak of the shoulder (acromial process) on either sides of the body.
Role: Place the thumbs or elbows at this point and by pressing it firmly, stimulate it downwards. GB 21 has proven to be helpful in pushing down the retained placenta and relaxing the mother.
Other Ailments: This pressure point is also used in curing other ailments like headaches, muscle tension, asthma, spasms, etc.
Bladder 60 (UB 60)
Chinese Name: Kun Lun (Kunlun Mountains)
Position: It is located in the back of the foot, at the center of the ankle and Achilles tendon.
Apart from the most effective acupressure points mentioned above, a few other points which also help in easing the birth procedure are as follows:
Liver 3 (Tai Chong)
It is located in the depression lateral to the joints of the first and the second metatarsals.
Kidney 1 (Yong Quan)
It is located near the top third sole of the foot, and it can be spotted clearly when the foot is flexed towards the ankle.
Bladder 67 (Zhi Yin)
It is located at the extreme outside corner of the little toe.
Pericardium 8 (Lao Gong)
Located right at the center of the palm, in between the second and the third metacarpal bones, it can be spotted easily when the middle finger is bent towards the palm.
When to Use It
- The due date for delivery has passed and the baby is still in the womb.
- When the mother is in labor and wants to strengthen the contractions.
- The amniotic fluid should have broken before the commencement of active labor.
Make sure that you are using maternity acupressure only when your condition matches with any of the situations mentioned above. Never use it before you have completed all the stages of pregnancy and it is absolutely safe for you to deliver the baby.
Role in Labor Induction
- When the expecting mother receives pressure on the specific labor points, the blood flow is stimulated and helps the baby to descend into the pelvis.
- Maternity acupressure encourages the baby to get into the position for delivery.
- It stimulates the baby to dilate the cervix and initiate contractions.
- It has an additional advantage of relieving labor pains.
It is preferred over medical induction as it is absolutely free of side effects and is safe for both the mother and her baby.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.