Acupressure. This practice has been around for thousands of years. It has been known to help with stress relief, circulation, and help improve your immune system. It has also been known to help with labor and delivery.
During labor and delivery, the woman’s body is working overtime. She’s in pain, her body is contracting, it is preparing to do one of the most difficult, yet natural, things that it will ever do, it is about to bring a life, a baby, into this world. This is where the practice of acupressure becomes particularly helpful.
It has been said that when particular pressure points on your body, such as your hands, or feet, have pressure applied to them, it can ease pain in a certain area of the body. For instance, there is a pressure point in your hand that, if you are having an especially hard time on your period and your cramps are really bad, if you apply pressure and massage this area of your hand, the pain can either lessen, or go away in its entirety. So, why wouldn’t it be able to help a woman who is going through the natural process of labor and delivery? Well, to answer that question, it can and will help. Well, that is if you know which areas will help with the pain. And that is what I am here to explain to you, how acupressure can help a woman during this time.
First, let’s start before the woman goes into labor. Acupressure has been known to help induce a woman, thus causing her to go into labor. Here are just a few known pressure points that are used to help induce labor:
Pericardium 8 Point: This one is known to be one of the most effective acupressure points. And it’s also very easy to find. You make a fist, and where your middle finger meets the palm of your hand is where the point is. You use the thumb of your other hand to apply pressure to that spot, for a few seconds.
Bladder 67 Point: This one is also known as Zhiyin. This one can be found on the outside end of your pinky toe, near the edge of the toe nail. With this one all you need to do is apply pressure with your thumbs and index finger, like you are pinching your toe.
Next, let’s move on to during labor. Now that you have gotten to this point the pain will begin to increase ever so gradually, and you are probably going to be wanting some relief. Again, acupressure can help you. Here are some that you can do yourself, or have your birthing partner help you with:
Kidney 1: This one is located in the center of your foot, right below the ball of your foot. Just apply pressure. This point is good for relieving stress, and helping with anxiety. It is also good during transitions of labor.
Spleen 6: This one is located on the lower calf, about four fingers above the foot. There will be a tender spot, so it should be relatively easy to find. This is great if your labor is stalling, and you are trying to get it going again. Also with this one, all you have to do is apply pressure to this point as well.
Finally, you have gotten to the delivery process. At this point you have been able to find the pressure points, and have hopefully been able to use them with success. But you may have some pains even after your little bundle of joy is born. And yes, even now you can use acupressure. Each of the next acupressure points are great for post-delivery care of the mother or if you are having issues lactating:
HT7: This one is located on the crease in your wrist directly below your pinky finger. Apply moderate pressure with your thumb for three to five minutes. This one is known to help with insomnia, depression, and help with emotional issues.
ST18: This one located on the outside of both nipples, lining up with your armpit. Applying light pressure, and stimulating this area, can help with breast pain, swelling, and issues with lactating.
So ladies, now you know. We may have to go through the labor and delivery process, but it doesn’t mean we have to suffer in pain the entire time. Let’s use our bodies’ natural pressure points, to help relieve our pain. Well, at least as much pain as we possibly can during this time. And just like with anything, practice makes perfect, so try several acupressure points out before you give up, one that works for one woman, may not work for you.
Disclaimer: If you are under 36 weeks pregnant please do not try any of these, they may cause preterm labor, and harm to the mother.