Empower - Support - Prepare
Acupressure is an amazing tool that can be used to promote natural labor, reduce pain and cultivate partner involvement. It is safe, efficient and easy to learn. Acupressure is based on the same principles as acupuncture but instead of using needles to stimulate the acupuncture points you use your hands. Unlike massage, this method involves a rather direct and firm pressure held on the desired area for a minimum of 1-2 min at a time, every 30-60 min or longer depending on the situation and progression of labor.
Women can utilize acupressure starting at 36 weeks in preparation for labor. Prior to labor it can be used as a natural induction or in preparation for medical induction. During labor it may be used for pain relief, ineffective contractions, to promote dilation, babies presenting with posterior positioning during labor, nausea/vomiting, anxiety, transition, delayed 2nd stage and retained placenta. After labor it can support breastfeeding and promote sufficient milk supply .
The specific acupressure points you'll learn prompt the body to work more efficiently for optimal efficient labor, delivery & recovery. These points have been demonstrated to release endorphins, block pain receptors to the brain, dilate the cervix, and increase the effectiveness of contractions.
Build your confidence,
Encourage partner involvement
Depend your birth experience
Start as early as possible! Based on clinical practice it has shown that acupressure for childbirth works best when started as soon as labor begins. So to gain maximum benefit start pressing on those fabulous pain relief points right away! Women have reported to receive highest satisfaction by pressing on the acupressure points from the beginning of their labor.
This is NOT a massage. Please use strong, continuous pressure during labor (but light pressure while practicing). Of course always check with your partner to make sure it feels right for her!
Mix it up! Don’t get stuck on one place only. If something does not work keep trying different acupressure points following the women’s feedback of course. As labor progress be fluid, let the woman guide you to what she needs best as things constantly changing and something that worked at the begging of labor might not be as useful later on.
When pressing on the acupressure points it should produce a pleasant, comfortable sensation. If at any point the acupressure produces pain or discomfort something is off and should be adjusted. Furthermore, it should produce a noticeable effect that wears off when discontinued.
Worried about where and how much pressure to give? Don’t be! If the point/s you are using are useful it would be very clear form the women’s response. The success of acupressure to relief pain during labor does not depends on prior anatomy knowledge or Chinese Medicine but rather on listening and paying attention to what the woman needs at every step of the way.
What if it dose not work? It will be obvious to the woman and her birthing team if the acupressure and other techniques for pain relief is adequate. There is no shame ever in asking and receiving other medical pain relief. It should always be remembered that no one can predict exactly how labor will progress and that western medical intervention might be needed for the safety of both mother and child.
How much should I practice? Well you know, practice make perfect! But really, it is up to you to decide how comfortable you are wit finding the acupressure points and remembering which one/s to use and for what. Remember that during actual labor the points are going to feel quit different then practice time and so feedback from the woman would be your best guide.