There’s no reason to worry if your pregnancy progresses past 40 weeks, but it may make you antsy to give birth already! In addition to that, if you are nearing 42 weeks and your doctor starts talking about an induction, you may want to do something to start your labor naturally.
Reflexology and acupressure are both safe and often effective means of stimulating labor. They are similar in that they both work by applying pressure to certain points on the body. Acupressure involves the whole body, while reflexology focuses on the feet, hands, and ears (primarily feet). Additionally, they are based on different concepts of energy flow throughout the body.
- The following pressure points should not be accessed before you reach your 40th week of pregnancy.
- Always check with your doctor or midwife before doing anything to stimulate contractions
- Pressure points may feel tender, but it should not hurt you. If you feel pain, reduce pressure and make sure you have the right spot!
- If a contraction starts, stop the pressure and wait until the contraction ends. Then you can apply pressure again.
Thumb Point: Press firmly on the center of your thumb for a few minutes, then switch to the other thumb. This is one of the most effective points used in reflexology for inducing labor. It stimulates the pituitary gland to release oxytocin, one of the main hormones that causes the uterus to contract.
Arch of Foot: This point is located inside the arch of the foot, just in front of the heel. Apply firm pressure, but not so hard that it causes pain. This point is also very helpful in relieving intense pain during childbirth.
Inside Heel: Apply pressure to the point just inside the heel of the foot, aligned with your ankle. If it feels tender you’ve found the right spot.
Between Toes: Apply pressure one finger’s-length below the point between the big toe and the second toe. This point will also be tender when you find it.
Webbing between your thumb and forefinger. Press or massage the top of this webbing. This point affects the large intestine which surrounds a portion of the uterus, stimulating contractions.
Shoulder muscle. Press and massage the highest point of your shoulder muscle.
Inside ankle. Find the point four finger’s-width above the inside of your ankle. Apply pressure; it helps ripen the cervix and strengthen weak contractions.
Outside ankle. To help the baby descend toward the pelvis, put pressure on the point between your ankle bone (outer ankle) and Achilles tendon (which runs up the back of your leg).
Lower back. This point is actually located one finger’s-width above your buttocks crease. Feel for a small indentation and massage for a minute.
Roof of Mouth. Using your tongue, press on the roof of your mouth with your tongue as far back as you can. This is a handy one you can use as you go about your daily routine!
feature image from holistic therapy room