Many women find themselves, as their due dates draw near, searching for ways to jump-start labor. There are many “wives’ tales” going around such as castor oil and walking, but there are alternatives.
What Is Acupressure?
An age-old practice, stemming from Asia, is acupressure. Acupressure is derived from acupuncture. With acupuncture, needles are placed in various locations throughout the body to help relieve stress and pain. Acupressure uses a similar technique except needles are replaced with finger pressure.
Certain locations on the body have been found to be somewhat effective at not only naturally inducing labor, but also with assisting with the pain and discomfort associated with labor. Before you learn what and where the acupressure sites are, you need to understand when it is appropriate.
Before Trying Acupressure
Anyone interested in acupressure should not attempt to do so until it is safe to deliver the baby. There is no universal agreement on when it is “safe”, but most physicians advise nothing prior to 38 weeks. Some say that no matter what you try, your body will not go into labor until it’s ready. There is no guarantee that this is the case and no mom wants to risk their baby’s health. Also, any woman interested in trying acupressure to help initiate labor should ask their health care provider first.
The first area on the body used for stimulating labor is located between the thumb and index finger. This point is actually the “webbing” between these two areas. Techniques vary, but this pressure point can be pressed and rubbed for several seconds or simply pressed firmly for approximately one minute and then released. This technique can also be used during active labor to relieve pain.
The next area of the body used for stimulating labor is the ankle. This area actually has two different pressure points. The first pressure point is located on the outside of the ankle, just behind where the bony prominence is. Just like the first mentioned location, techniques vary but the pressure point can be rubbed or pressed for several seconds or one minute. The other ankle pressure point is inside the leg, above the ankle. This area may be difficult to find but it is more sensitive to touch than the rest of the leg.
Another area is located on the back, above the buttocks and lower back. This area can also be pressed or massaged as tolerated.
The final area commonly used for initiating labor is located on the neck, the large muscle between the neck and the shoulder. This area can be pressed or massaged as tolerated.
Acupressure does not work for all women and may not be tolerated by all. Massaging or pressing on these areas should not cause pain and if it does cause pain, it should be stopped immediately.
Nearing the end of your pregnancy can become very frustrating, but don’t lose hope. Women do not stay pregnant forever, and your baby will be here sooner than you think.
For other natural ways to induce labor, check out this JustMommies.com article: JustMommies.com-Natural Ways to Induce Labor