Acupressure for Labour
Many women associate acupressure for labour with having a natural birth. It is true; acupressure is an essential part of any natural birth. However, when I discuss acupressure with my pregnant clients, I’m not advocating one type of birth over another. Acupressure is simply an extremely useful tool to learn whatever kind of birth you are planning whether it be homebirth, natural birth center or hospital birth with epidural.
What is Acupressure?
Acupressure is when strong pressure is used to activate acupuncture points on the body instead of acupuncture needles. Acupressure is very easy for you and your partner to learn and use effectively.
How can it help in Labour?
First and most important, acupressure can help regulate contractions and make them easier to cope with. Yes, it really can make the pain more tolerable! Even if you are planning on an epidural to help with the pain, there can be several hours from the point when early labour begins to the time when you finally get to the delivery ward to receive an epidural. Acupressure is therefore a great coping mechanism for this in-between time at home and waiting to be admitted to hospital.
Feedback from women, especially first-time mothers, who used acupressure during their labour said they felt it made them feel more in control, giving them a way to cope with the overwhelming and intense experience of labour.
How else can Acupressure help?
Before the baby emerges, the cervix needs to thin and dilate fully to allow for the baby’s head to pass into the vaginal canal. Typically, the cervix thins and dilates more slowly in first-time mothers, which is one of the reasons why first births take longer on average than subsequent births. Acupressure points that help dilate the cervix can be used at home and at the hospital to help lessen labour times. Other useful points help descend the baby and lessen the anxiety and apprehension.
Acupressure is easy to learn and requires no special massage skills. Teaching these points is an integral part of my prebirth acupuncture series. Alternatively, I offer one hour consultations for women and their partner to learn how and when to use these points.