Acupressure has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of ailments. Various points throughout the body have been found to significantly reduce pain when pressure is applied with the fingers. Another common use of acupressure is to induce labor in pregnant women. If you’re interested in trying acupressure to induce labor, you must understand the proper way to do so.
First of all, you should never attempt to induce labor yourself through acupressure or any other method until you are actually overdue to give birth or at the very least 38 weeks pregnant. The longer you can wait for your baby to be born, the better. Although acupressure does not typically work well to induce labor unless you are fairly close to going into labor on your own, it’s best to not risk a premature birth by using acupressure before your 38th week. Your baby could have health problems if she is born before 38 weeks, and this may require her to spend some extra time in the hospital.
There are three primary pressure points used in acupressure to bring on contractions if you haven’t had any, or to intensify contractions if you have already begun to have them. The first pressure point is located in the webbing between your thumb and first finger. You can stimulate this point by rubbing firmly in a circle for 30 to 60 seconds at a time. You should take a 1 to 2 minute break in this rubbing between contractions. The second pressure point to stimulate contractions is located on the inside of your lower leg, approximately the width of four fingers up from your ankle. Rub this spot for about a minute at a time. This pressure point may also help with ripening of your cervix, which is when the cervix dilates or opens and effaces or thins out. The third is located on the back, about one finger’s width above the top of the crease of your buttocks. Each of these spots may feel slightly sore when you rub them, and this is how you can tell you’ve found the right spot.
Acupressure can also be used to bring about progression in other stages of labor. For example, one important stage of labor is when your baby “drops” or moves into a position with her head located further down in your pelvis, in preparation for pushing in the final stage of labor. If your baby has not dropped into your pelvis far enough, you can try to remedy this problem through acupressure as well. The spot to massage to encourage your baby to drop is located on the back of your lower leg, just above your heel.
Acupressure can be done at home at your convenience. Unlike other methods of inducing labor, it does not require any medication to be administered. Acupressure will not bring about unpleasant side effects like castor oil and other home remedies for labor induction can. If you wait until your baby is full term to begin any sort of acupressure to induce labor, you can have great success, especially if you’ve already begun having contractions or cervical dilation and effacement.