A woman who is coming along in her pregnancy and getting closer to the birthdate may want to attempt to induce childbirth, but doctors advise mothers-to-be to wait until at least a couple of weeks after the baby is due to allow the baby to come in its own time. But, if the baby still has not come within two weeks after its due date, and the doctor has declared the baby physically ready for birth you may wish to try to use acupressure to induce labor. Caution: Acupressure should not be applied before the 41st week of gestation.
What is acupressure
Acupressure is a word that combines the terms for acupuncture with the word pressure to connote how pressure, rather than needles are used at certain points in the body. You can also think of the word as “accurate pressure” in that the points of the body are pressed to alleviate pain or cure illnesses in other parts of the body accurately. Among all the ways women may learn, using acupressure to induce labor is the safest way available.
A brief history of acupressure
Over the course of medical history acupressure fell in and out of favor according to the current philosophies of the times. Currently, acupressure is enjoying a period in good favor and for good reason. The theory behind the treatment is backed up with scientific research and used in medical practice to the wonder and delight of patients.
What does acupressure do to induce labor
Once you are cleared to induce labor at home and you have decided to use acupressure to induce labor, you need to understand how it works. Particular points of pressure have particular effect on the mother’s body to prepare her for labor.
Not only do the particular points in the body help to induce labor, but they also stimulate contractions and ease subsequent pain. One thing to realize about acupressure is that the physical contact itself is also a stimulant.
When the body feels safe and secure, whether with the touch of acupressure, intimate contact with a spouse, or even a warm bed the hormone Oxytocin is released into the body. This natural hormone helps thin the cervix to enable the baby to pass through the birth canal, stimulates contractions, eases the pain of the contractions and child birth to some extent and calms the mother-to-be.
Pressure Points For Acupressure To Induce Labor
• Hand: First try the easiest one to reach. The soft, meaty area of the hand located between the thumb and forefinger is easy to reach and you can do it yourself if necessary. Press the area for a few seconds and then rub it in a circular motion, then stop. After a few minutes, do it again. You can do this a few times an evening. This area will effect the large intestine that is located near the uterus. This may stimulate contractions.
•Ankle: Your spouse, labor coach or midwife can help with the next location on the body. This area is located on the inside part of the ankle about four fingers width above the bone structure. You can also press or rub the area across from the first location on the ankle on the outside of the leg. This area helps the fetus descend toward the cervix.
•Back: If your coach or spouse can find the pressure point in the upper back and apply comfortable pressure to the area, you may be able to stimulate contractions.
A woman who has carried a baby for 41 weeks may get tired of the pain and pressure. She may want to finally get back to her life in smaller clothes. Or she may simply be eager to see her little one enter the world.
Whatever the reason for wanting to use acupressure to induce labor, she should use caution. Although acupressure is the safest way to induce labor, it should never be done until both you and your doctor agree that the baby is ready to enter the world.
Although babies are usually ready by the 42nd week, your doctor will still want to check the fetal weight and viability. He will want to make sure the baby has fully developed everything his or her little body will need when it enters the world. He can do an ultrasound to look at the baby’s physical development, including the heart and lungs. If everything is good to go but the baby still has not been born by the 44th week, you can safely use acupressure to induce labor.
There are other means available both medical and at home, but acupressure is the safest one. Herbs sound safe, but some herbs like Blue/Black Cohosh have been linked to fetal heart failure. Castor oil sounds innocuous, but it can bring on uncontrollable bowel movement that can be both painful and rather messy and that is not a good combination for childbirth.
Medical labor inducements are perfectly safe under the supervision of your doctor, but if you prefer not to use them, you doctor must respect that. He may actually be the best person to advise you about alternative means to induce labor at home.
Once you and your doctor agree that you can use acupressure to induce labor, read all the literature you can find so you will know what to expect when you begin and how it will help you as you experience childbirth and bring your little one into the world.