If you are pregnant and have gone past or approaching your due date, but still no signs of labor, you might be reaching the point of ‘I have had enough!’ in your pregnancy! I remember the last two weeks of pregnancy where just so hard I couldn’t wait to go into labor. I could hardly sleep anymore at that point, bending down was a real mission, and I just wanted to meet my little baby. Read our guide to calculating your estimate delivery date.)
But you might also start experiencing some anxiety as you approach the 42 weeks mark, as doctors will be pressuring you to have a medical induction and you desperately want to avoid that (particularly if you are aiming for a natural birth).
Whatever the reason, I am sure you landed here because you are looking at acupressure as a way of inducing labor naturally, and you’ve come to the right place! Acupressure is indeed one of the quickest ways to induce labor overnight (you can read about other methods that you can try here, with stories from real moms).
Below is all the information you need to know about acupressure and labor and how you can use it to get those contractions started sooner rather than later.
- 15 Signs that Labor is 24 to 48 Hours Away
- 10 of the Quickest Ways to go into Labor Overnight (with Stories from Real Moms)
- 24 Tips for a Birth without Epidural (Yes, you can do it!)
Acupressure and Labor: the Facts
Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that works by placing manual pressure on specific points of the body to release blocked energy (called qi). It’s principle is quite similar to acupuncture, with the main difference that instead of using needles, acupressure uses firm massage or touch.
By restoring the body’s energy flow, acupressure is believed to stimulate certain nerves, muscles and connective tissue. This, in returns, will help with certain health problems, such as pain or digestive issues.
Some practitioners also believe that it can increase the blood flow to the uterus, influence hormonal responses, and even start labor contractions (most likely by increasing oxytocin levels). Even though there isn’t much scientific evidence to back this theory up, there are moms that swear by it.
And even if it can’t help in inducing labor, researchers found that acupressure can reduce the chances of having a c-section and can help in making labor a little shorter, as well as reducing labor pain.
Acupressure Points for Inducing Labor
Without further ado, here’s a list of all acupressure points that you can try applying pressure to to induce labor.
1) Spleen 6 – SP6
This point is located on the inner leg – four finger widths above the inner ankle – and is one of the most commonly used points, not only to induce labor. Is also believed to be effective in decreasing labor pain and helping labor move faster.
What to do:
- Apply firm and continuous pressure to the point with your index finger for a few seconds.
- Wait for a minute, then repeat.
2) Bladder 60 – BL60
BL60 is believed to not only help induce labor, but also reduce pain during contractions and help babies who are stuck in a bad position by reducing obstruction. It is located a few inches below SP6 – on the foot – between your ankle bone and the Achilles tendon.
What to do:
- Massage the point for a few minutes with your thumb, by applying light pressure
3) Pedicardium 8 – PC8
This acupressure point is also called “labor palace”, because it is believed to be very effective at inducing labor and starting contractions. It is located in the middle of your palm: if you make a fist, it’s exactly where your middle fingertip touches the palm.
What to do:
- Use the thumb from the other hand to apply light pressure to the point and massage for a few seconds
4) Bladder 67 – BL67
BL67 is thought to help both with starting labor contractions and help babies turn if they are stuck in a certain position. A study also found that it helps ease pain during the first stage of labor.
It is located on the outer edge of your pinky toes, next to the nail.
What to do:
- Use your thumb and index finger to firmly pinch the point
5) Large Intestine 4 – LI4
This point is the most common one used in acupressure therapy, particularly because it’s believed to stop pain and strengthen immunity. It is located on the back of your hand, between the webbing of your thumb and the pointer finger.
What to do:
- Apply soft pressure to the point with your other thumb and massage the point for one minute
- Wait for one minute, then repeat
6) Bladder 32 – BL32
BL32 is believed to help with labor induction, we well as reducing labor time. It is located in the dimple at the base of your back, above your butt: you can find this point by running your fingers down the spine until you feel an indentation.
What to do:
- Press firmly on the point with your thumb and massage, moving towards your butt
- Repeat for a few minutes
7) Gallbladder 21 – GB21
This acupressure point is believed to induce contractions but also make them less painful during labor. It is located in the middle of your shoulder muscle, above the collarbone.
What to do:
- Press firmly on the point with your pointer finger and thumb and massage for a few seconds
How Long do you Pressure Point to Induce Labor?
If you are wondering for how long you should be applying pressure to the points for it to be effective, I have given specific instructions above on what to do with each point. However, if you wondering for how many days you should be repeating the process for it to become effective, know that it could literally work overnight.
Just make sure you don’t start too early – I know the last weeks of pregnancy are touch, but you don’t really want to go into labor prematurely. It also actually advisable not to stimulate these acupressure points during pregnancy until you reach 39/40 weeks.
Acupressure Points for Inducing Labor: Final Thoughts
Here it is – all the acupressure points that you can try stimulate to induce labor. I hope you’ve found this guide useful and that you are ready to put things into practice to get things moving. Also, remember this is not the only thing that you can try to induce labor overnight: there are other natural (or not) methods that you can try here.
As a final comment, be aware that all these methods only work if your body is already ready to go into labor, whether you are aware of it or not. In fact, your cervix needs to be ripe (at least 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced or thinned out) and facing forwards, or they will likely fail.
Unfortunately there is not much that you can do to actually get your body to gear up for labor: it needs to get there by itself. What you can do though, is get things started sooner rather than later once it is finally ready. That’s also why it’s probably best if you wait until you are at least 40-41 weeks pregnant before you start trying anything.
In the meantime, try and relax as much as you can (you won’t have much time to relax once baby comes!), make sure you have your hospital bag ready with your birth plan, you’ve download a contraction timer app on your phone, you’ve ticked off everything from your newborn baby checklist, and don’t forget to start getting ready for postpartum as well.
For more tips and information on how to get through labor, also check out these related posts:
- 23 Tips for a Birth without Epidural (Yes, you can do it!)
- How to Give Birth Naturally without Pain (17 Tips from a Mom who did it!)
- How to Achieve a Confident Birth
- Perineal Massage during Pregnancy: increasing your chances of an Easier Labor
- The Most Powerful Birth Affirmations for a Positive Birth Experience
- 12 Must-Have Clothes for After Delivery in Hospital
For more information on postpartum check out these posts:
- Postpartum Care Kit Checklist (with all Essentials!)
- What to REALLY expect with your Postpartum Recovery
- Best Postpartum Pads (for Bleeding & a Quick Recovery!)
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