A few weeks ago I had multiple women come in for labor inductions with acupuncture, and another patient called to let me know he wouldn’t be able to make his appointment that afternoon because his wife had just gone into labor!
The stars must have been in alignment, and lots of babies came into my world all at the same time.
In the middle of “Baby Time”, a patient asked about acupuncture for labor. I know that some acupuncturists are also doulas, or specialize in Women’s Health, and will do ear acupuncture while a woman is in labor – to ease pain, speed up delivery, and address other issues that can come up during this time.
A colleague of mine, Debra Betts, wrote a great book on the use of acupuncture to support pregnancy and childbirth. She has found, for herself and many patients that she’s treated, that acupressure in labor is actually more effective that acupuncture!
Betts recommends practicing these techniques before labor is expected. Most of these points also double as labor induction points – so don’t start using them too soon. The best effects come when acupressure is started at the beginning of labor. Experiment with a few different points, finding the one that works best for you. You may find that as labor progresses, your preferred points change. Encourage your partner to use firm pressure, but it shouldn’t be painful.
5 Best Acupressure Points for Labor
1. Shoulder point: GB-21 – Helps the fetus descend, best for the 1st and 2nd stages of labor.
2. Back point: BL-32 – Promotes dilation and helps with low back pain
3. Foot point: KI-1 – Calms the mind, best for transitions or a time of panic.
4. Hand point: LI-4 – Increases the intensity and frequency of contractions, or for general pain relief.
5. Ankle point: SP-6 – Useful for delayed, prolonged or difficult labor.
If you have any questions about how to find the points or how to use them, go see your acupuncturist. If you're in the Greenville SC area, I would love to help!