Giving birth is an experience that comes with a rush of emotions and sensations. There is joy, excitement, nerves, and love, but there is also an element of discomfort. For me, labor pains were the most difficult part of my birthing process, but I was determined to prevent this pain from running the more miraculous aspects of giving birth. This is why I turned to acupressure points to start labor and help with my labor pains.
A natural birth was high up on my list of priorities, and with a healthy body and healthy baby, I was sure I could make this happen. My worries only began when my due date came and went. I did not want to experience a medical induction, so I did some research and found an amazing amount of data supporting acupressure points to induce labor at 39 weeks. I immediately put these points to work and soon enough I was experiencing uterine contractions. My next challenge came with the intensity of the labor pain, but luckily I was prepared with acupressure points for labor pain relief. Acupressure is a huge part of how I managed a natural birth and I believe it can be helpful for pregnant women regardless of how they plan to have their child, so let’s dive into the topic of the best acupressure points to start labor and manage labor pain.
Does Acupuncture Really Induce Labor?
Pregnancy and birth are a journey unique to each mother. There are variations and special scenarios, but professionals in the field of gynecology and acupuncture both support the use of acupuncture as a way to naturally induce labor. Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that has persisted to this day due to its effective nature. It is based on the idea of improving natural processes through unblocking energy and relieving stagnant areas of energy throughout the body. This process is considered extremely beneficial for inducing labor because it is a time of high energy flow and support can improve the body’s ability to perform this natural function. As long as you and your baby are healthy and you have carried them to full term, then acupressure points to start labor should be effective.
The scientific study of using acupuncture to induce labor is lacking in research and providing conflicting results, but its historical success makes up for this lack of modern information. It is also worth noting that acupuncture and acupressure are two different practices based on the same idea of improving energy flow by activation points within the body. Acupressure points to start labor are generally prioritized over acupuncture points as they do not require needles and can be performed in many situations, including when you are being rushed to the hospital after your water breaks.
How Long Does It Take For Acupressure To Induce Labor?
The ability to induce labor through acupressure may seem magical, but it is not an immediate cure-all. The time it takes acupressure to induce labor is heavily dependent on the pregnant woman involved, the length of their gestation, and a variety of other factors. If you start administering acupressure to induce labor, it is completely normal for the results to take a little while. So stay alert and try the points again depending on their recommended activations per day. As with acupuncture in relation to many other conditions, results could happen in minutes to hours or even days.
Once you are in active labor, acupressure points can still be used to speed up your labor. Though the realm of acupressure for pregnancy requires far more research, one study found that women who received acupressure for 30 minutes during contractions gave birth in half the time it took women who did not receive acupressure in that study. This suggests that the acupressure process of labor induction may be hard to track, but its results are clearly visible while you are in labor.
Is Using Acupressure To Induce Labor Safe?
As long as you are in the presence of a medical professional such as a midwife, nurse, or doctor, using acupuncture points to start labor is considered safe. This is because no needles are involved in this form of acupoint activation, so there is minimal risk for harming the mother or child as long as gentle pressure is used at the correct points. It is best to be in the presence of a professional because they will be ready to assist as soon as active labor begins and they have the ability to maximize safety throughout the birthing process.
How To Do Acupressure To Induce Labor?
If you are planning to use acupressure points to start labor, then you will first need to know how acupressure is performed. This practice is a matter of identifying acupressure points linked to the induction of labor, the duration of labor, and labor pains. Luckily, I have already identified and listed the points that I have found to be most helpful.
Once you identify each point and its purpose, you can apply firm, but gentle pressure to the point for a few seconds at a time. Some people include a gentle rubbing motion for increased relaxation. You will want to use something that is dull, accurate, and firm which is why most people use their fingers. Be sure to not press so hard as to cause any pain, and it is worth noting that some of these points are best activated by a partner as they may be difficult to reach for a pregnant woman who is at full term.
Acupressure For Natural Pain Relief In Labour
Acupoint: SP-6 (Other Names: Spleen-6/San Yin Jiao/Three Yin Intersection)
This point is also referred to as San Yin Jiao and it is well known for its ability to aid in the relief of pelvic pains. This includes everything from menstrual cramps to labor pains. It is thought that an increase in blood flow to this area further improves its ability to reduce labor pains, so the treatment of this point is often used in combination with a foot bath or other warming methods. This point is also one of the 10 best acupressure points for weight loss, making it useful for post-birth recovery as well.
You can find the SP-6 point on the inside of your lower leg. It is located almost exactly 4 fingers above the inner protrusion of the ankle bone, slightly inside and behind the shin bone. This point should be activated for 3 to 5 seconds and this process should be repeated up to three times in a row for maximum relief.
Acupoint: Liv-3 (Other Names: Liver-3/Tai Chong/Supreme Rush)
This point has a similar effect to the SP-6. It improves blood flow in a way that benefits the pelvic muscles that are generating pain with every contraction. This is also one of a few acupressure points to induce labor on feet, making it useful in a variety of ways including reflexology for hip pain.
Locating the Liv-3 point is simple if you know where to look. Start by tracing the indent between the big toe and second toe. As you move up and towards the inseam of the foot and ankle you should notice a slight indent where the bones meet. This is exactly where you want to apply pressure for approximately 3 seconds before releasing for 3 seconds. After a few activations, some relief should be felt from the labor pains.
Acupoint: Bl-23 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-23/Shen Shu/Kidney Transporter)
The process of giving birth puts strain on many different parts of the body including the back and the many nerves located in that area. The bladder channel provides direct access to this area for pain relief and is an ideal acupressure point for kidney health. This point, in particular, helps with gynecological complications, which include labor pains.
If you are looking to activate the BL-23 point you will need to look on the patient’s back and identify the lowest point of their last rib. This acupoint should be in line with that rib or at the same level as your belly button. So trace back to the spine and apple pressure about 1.5 cun to the right of the spinal protrusion in that location. Since this area is so close to the spine and the organs included in giving birth, be sure to apply firm yet gentle pressure and stop if it becomes painful.
Acupoint: Bl-31 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-31/Shang Liao/Upper Crevice)
This point is deeply connected to sacral pain, and though it is normally used for sciatica it can also be beneficial as a solution to pregnancy pains. It is thought that the point aids in the calming of nerves that are found in this lower area of the pelvis and spine, and is known to be one of the best pressure points in the buttocks for pain control.
This point is easy to locate quickly as it is about 0.8 cun to the right of the first spinal protrusion that can be felt starting at the base of the spine.
Acupoint: Bl-33 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-33/Zhong Liao/Middle Crevice)
The bladder 33 point exists in close relation to the bladder-31 point, and it has similar effects when stimulated. This point is connected to the sacral and lumbar region, resulting in its ability to relieve the pain felt in both areas. This point is also known as a great acupressure point for bladder health, which is extremely important both during and after pregnancy.
If you have already located the BL-31 point then this one should be simple to locate as well. BL-31 exists in a small indent known as a sacral foramen, in fact, it is in the first sacral foramen. As you slide your finger down from this position you should feel other consecutive indents. The BL-33 point will be located in the second sacral foramen beneath the BL-31 point.
Acupoint: Bl-34 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-34/Xia Liao/Lower Crevice)
The pattern of bladder channel points repeats itself with this third sacral region point. They may all offer the same relief from uterine contractions, but they are still very useful pressure points in the buttocks. When used in combination, these points help improve circulation and energy flow throughout the pelvic region which is where most birthing pains are present.
To find the BL-34 point, simply slide your finger down one more sacral foramen, as explained prior, and apply gentle pressure.
Acupressure Points To Induce Labor And Delivery
Acupoint: GB-21 (Other Names: Gallbladder-21/Jian Jing/Shoulder Well)
This point is unique as it joins the gallbladder channel, triple energizer channel, and stomach channel. In doing so, it is able to affect multiple parts of the body from a single location. This is known as one of the best acupressure points for neck pain, but its influence also commonly results in the induction of labor, and its ability to induce labor is so well known that trained acupuncture professionals are trained not to activate this point on pregnant women who are not ready to go into labor.
The GB-21 point is located on the back in the muscle above the shoulder blades. It exists halfway between the spine and shoulders and can be activated on each side with gentle pressure. It is normally easiest to apply pressure to this point using your thumbs and it is most accessible through the help of a partner.
Acupoint: Bl-32 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-32/Ci Liao/Second Crevice)
The BL-32 point is in line with the other three bladder channel points noted earlier. It is often categorized as an effective acupressure point for constipation. However, it is better known for inducing labor than calming pain associated with active labor. Though it is not yet completely understood as to how this point induces labor, many midwives, acupressure practitioners, and mothers stand by the usefulness of this point.
This point falls right beneath the BL-31 point, placing it at the first sacral foramen beneath the BL-31 point. This should be easily identifiable in relation to the prior bladder channel points and it should only be activated with the permission of a medical professional.
Acupressure To Speed Up Labor And Delivery
Acupoint: Bl-67 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-67/Zhi Yin/Reaching Yin)
Labor and delivery are strenuous processes and when they go on for too long they can feel exhausting. The bladder channel 67 point is a simple solution to increasing the speed of labor and delivery for a less painful and less complicated birthing process. It is thought that this point is effective in speeding up the delivery process because it helps create balance in the mother’s body which then helps the baby assume the proper position for delivery.
The BL-67 point is the last point in the bladder channel, placing it on the lateral portion of the foot near the pinky toe. It is next to the edge of the pinky toenail and requires gentle activation.