Did you know Acupressure may help to induce labour naturally? Here's A quick guide to the best labour induction pressure points on the body to get your baby moving!!
LOOKING FOR WAYS TO INDUCE LABOUR AT HOME?
Due dates are just estimates and it is very common for women to go into labour one to two weeks before or after their projected due date. But if you’re officially over the 40-week mark, you are probably looking for any labour induction methods such as home remedies and alternative therapies that may kick start labour and avoid medical induction.
As a maternity reflexologist and shiatsu practitioner, I always try to teach my clients a few acupressure points that can be stimulated after 38 weeks of a healthy pregnancy in order to stimulate the inductions of labour.
Acupressure is an ancient therapy which involves stimulating specific pressure points and "energy channels" in a continuous rhythmic sequence. The pressure points which I will explain in this article have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to promote the blood flow to the uterus, influence hormonal responses, and stimulate uterine contractions.
HOW TO INDUCE LABOUR WITH PRESSURE POINTS
I do recommend to try these pressure points only after 38 weeks of pregnancy and only if your pregnancy has safely progressed to the end of the third trimester.
You can also massage (or even better, ask your partner to massage) these pressure points during labour to try to reduce pain.
I would recommend starting stimulating these pressure points for a few seconds to start, and then you can repeat and stay a little longer on each of them. This may be done hourly.
WHAT ARE THE BEST 5 PRESSURE POINTS TO INDUCE LABOUR YOURSELF
Labour Induction Pressure Point No. 1: SPLEEN 6
Spleen 6 is the most versatile and commonly used pressure point for labour induction. It is thought to regulate the uterus and induce labour and it may help with chronic tiredness and exhaustion.
Where it is: Spleen 6 is located about four finger-widths above the inner ankle bone, on the backside of the shinbone (lower calf). It is quite easy to find as it is usually quite sensitive to the touch.
HOW TO LOCATE SPLEEN 6 (PRESSURE POINT FOR LABOUR INDUCTION):
How to stimulate it: Use your thumb to apply firm perpendicular pressure on the point on the opposite leg. If it is too painful, you can also rub it in a clockwise motion.
Labour Induction Pressure Point No. 2: BLADDER 60
Bladder 60 is a very dynamic point and it is very important in the treatment of any blockage along the course of the Bladder channel. It is thought to have a powerful effect on the uterus, alleviating pain and inducing labour naturally.
Where it is: It is located on the foot, in the depression between the outer ankle bone and the Achilles tendon, level with the outer Ankle bone prominence.
HOW TO LOCATE BLADDER 60 (PRESSURE POINT FOR LABOUR INDUCTION):
How to stimulate it: Use your thumb or index finger to apply stationary pressure or massage it releasing tension in the Achilles’ area. You can also stretch the foot medially to open up the point.
Labour Induction Pressure Point No. 3: LARGE INTESTINE 4
Large intestine 4 is probably the most common point in acupressure therapy, due to its extremely powerful effect on the body and mind. It is thought to help to descend stagnant energy, thus inducing natural labour, helping with inadequate cervical dilatation and difficulty in expelling the placenta.
Where it is: It’s located on the back of the hand, at the centre of the flesh between your thumb and pointer finger.
HOW TO LOCATE LARGE INTESTINE 4 (PRESSURE POINT FOR LABOUR INDUCTION):
How to stimulate it: The most effective way to stimulate this point is to apply perpendicular pressure with your thumb onto the border of the second metacarpal bone. You can also press the point opposite LI4 on the palmar surface simultaneously with the thumb on the top of the end and the index finger on the palmar. Pinch and press the muscle belly, then apply stationary pressure with the index while rubbing LI4 with the thumb.
Labour Induction Pressure Point No. 4: BLADDER 32
Bladder 32 can be used during labour for pain relief as well as to induce labour contractions, help the cervix dilate and helping the baby descend. It can help with lumbar or sacral pain and sciatica as it is located on the lower back.
Where it is: Between the lower back dimples and the lumbar spine. To aid location, it is best if you kneel on all four. Ask your partner to locate the dimples, which are at the level of the sacrum and feel like pea-shape. Bladder 32 is between the dimples and spine, on both sides.
HOW TO LOCATE BLADDER 32 (PRESSURE POINT FOR LABOUR INDUCTION):
How to stimulate it: Apply sustained perpendicular pressure to the point on both side of the spine simultaneously with your knuckles or thumbs or rub them in a circular motion.
Labour Induction Pressure Point No. 5: GALL BLADDER 21
Gall Bladder 21 is with LI4, one of the most commonly used and dynamic points of the body. It is very effective for gynaecological disorders and inducing labour naturally for which it is extensively employed. It may help with prolonged labour, difficult delivery, retention of placenta, swelling and pain of the breasts, mastitis and difficult lactation.
Where it is: Gallbladder 21 is located on the top of the shoulder, midway between the round knob at the top of the cervical spine (neck) and the lateral tip of the bone of the shoulder joint. Drop your head forward and ask your partner to locate these 2 points, GB21 lays midway on the highest point of the trapezius muscle.
HOW TO LOCATE GALL BLADDER 21 (PRESSURE POINT FOR LABOUR INDUCTION):
How to stimulate it: Sustained downward pressure, rubbing, kneading and stretching the trapezius muscle are all very effective techniques and can be applied with the fingers, thumbs, palms, forearms and elbows. For a self-treatment, you can pinch the point between the thumb and index finger on your opposite hand, and then stimulate it with a downward motion.
IS ACUPRESSURE CONSIDERED A PROVEN WAY TO INDUCE LABOUR AT HOME?
For example, a 2010 study found that stimulating Spleen 6 pressure point could have contributed to reducing the length of active labour and another 2014 controlled trial suggested that women who used acupressure point Large intestine 4 for labour induction and during labour, had experienced a statistically significant reduction in pain compared with those who did not.
In my experience as a maternity reflexologist and shiatsu practitioner, I can testify that sometimes stimulating these labour induction pressure points do work. Some of my maternity clients have been able to avoid a medical induction of labour, especially when combining regular reflexology treatments with self- stimulations of labour induction pressure points.
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES TO INDUCE A NATURAL LABOUR?
Come to our clinic and try our Pregnancy massage for Labour Induction! We offer a bespoke prenatal treatment that blends Shiatsu and Feet Reflexology, which both are based on the theory that specific acupressure points are connected to certain organs and body systems.
Through the gentle application of pressure to these acupressure points, we aim to help women giving birth by preparing the body for childbirth, help promote uterine contractions and encourage natural labour.
With over 5 years of experience, Monica has been working with pregnant ladies from the first trimester through to birth to enhance the health and wellbeing of mother and baby.
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We look forward to hearing your thoughts about this article! Please share your experience and whether stimulating these pressure points has helped you to induce labour at home and avoid medical induction!