Pregnancy Acupressure has been in use for centuries. It allows you to begin labor at home, safely and naturally, easing yourself into the contractions and dilation that will result in the birth of your baby. But the time you get to the hospital, your labor will already be half over. This leads to shorter delivery times, and an much easier birthing process. Maternity acupressure techniques also help increase blood flow, eliminate pain, and reduce stress on the mom-to-be, while at the same time aiding in contractions, dilation, and providing extra oxygen to the baby. All of these benefits to reflexology for pregnancy have made it increasingly popular in delivery rooms across the world.
Massage during labor includes using the body’s various pressure points to stimulate other parts of the body. Learning how to do maternity acupressure is easy, and requires no prior experience. It consists of gentle pressure applied with fingertips, the ball of the thumb, and sometimes the palm or elbow. These pregnancy massage therapy techniques are both safe and natural, and can be used even after childbirth for continued stress and pain-relief benefits. However, these points should not be used during the developing stages of pregnancy – on a pregnant woman this type of acupressure to induce labor should be reserved for helping to start contractions and for aiding in childbirth only.
* Hand (to aid with contractions) – Place your own thumb on the meaty web between your partner’s forefinger and thumb. Close your middle two or three fingers upward to rest in her palm, and begin gently squeezing, concentrating on applying downward pressure with the ball of your thumb. This pressure point is important in pregnancy reflexology in that it can be used to aid in strengthening contractions. By timing your pressure with each contraction you can help the baby descend, pushing along with mom to move the child through the birth canal.
* Palm (to release endorphins for pain) – Look at your partner’s hand. In the center of the topmost crease on the palm, there’s an acupressure point that can be used to force the body to release it’s natural painkillers: endorphins. Gentle pressure to this region will produce anesthetizing feelings in the brain, but overly pressing it can cause pain so be careful how much pressure you use. If you have trouble finding this spot, tell your partner to close her fingers until the tips of each finger are touching the palm, almost like a half-fist. The place right below where her fingers are touching is where you want to apply pressure.
* Foot (to release tension and relax the body) – Beneath the ball of the foot is a depression just as the arch of the foot begins. By placing your thumb here and wrapping your fingers around the top of the foot for counter pressure, you can begin pushing gently inward and upward, rolling your thumb toward the big toe. Reflexology and pregnancy go hand in hand, and this massage will have the effect of soothing and calming your partner. With the right pressure, and the right direction, you can use this technique well into childbirth to relax and keep your partner free from excess anxiety. It also makes a great technique to use months and years afterward, any time you or your partner both need to relieve stress.
* Hip (for pain, and to promote contractions) – Your partner will need to be on her side for this one. Find the top of the buttocks crease, then move in a perpendicular line toward her hipbone. When you’ve gone about two-thirds this distance, press gently inwardly and upward toward the spine. This acupressure pregnancy point should be immediately felt, and it should feel pretty good. Pressing and rolling this point will accomplish both pain relief and the inducing/strengthening of contractions. You can use this to both induce labor, and to aid in contractions once the onset of labor has occurred. After childbirth, you can use this point at any time to help break up trapped pelvic stress and relax the lower body.
* Lower back (to release endorphins for pain) – For this acupressure point, your partner will need to be pressing back against a firm object. Find the halfway point between the spine and the dimples of your partner’s gluteus. Pressing downward with a slight twisting motion, do some probing until you find the spot where your partner feels a very pleasant sensation of relief. This spot works wonders for pregnancy pain, and it can also dissipate pent-up stress in the lower back and gluteus muscles.
* Shoulder (to stimulate contractions) -Find the bump at the base of your partner’s neck – this is her C7 vertebrae. Now trace a line to the other bump at the end of her shoulder. Right in between these two areas is another pressure point on the shoulder muscle itself, and applying pressure to this one can help greatly with uterine contractions (and it can later be used to stimulate milk production as well). Stimulate this point during initial stages of labor to help begin and promote these contractions.
These are the six most popular techniques of acupressure during labor, but note that most of them can be very useful beyond childbirth. Pregnancy massage therapy methodology has been proven to have radical benefits in the delivery room and beyond. Massage during labor itself can dramatically decrease the chances of unwanted medical intervention or C-section during the birthing process. Learn these techniques for a safer, faster delivery… and then use them on each other in the years to come to relieve stress, pain, and pent-up tension in the body.