Newman Studio/Fotolia

What Pressure Points Induce Labor? Here's How To Massage That Baby Out

Ad failed to load

The last few weeks of your pregnancy can often feel like it's longer than the rest of it combined. No shoes fit your swollen feet, your belly is stretched to the max, every little movement takes about 30 minutes of pre-planning, and you have to pee every minute of the day. And, sleep? It's a thing of the past, regardless of how tired you are. You'll try just about anything to get that baby out, but do different foods, long walks, and acupressure really work? Some women swear by acupressure, but what pressure points induce labor?

According to a literature review conducted by Women and Birth, further research has to be done in order to really prove whether or not acupressure is effective in initiating labor. But, if your doctor has given you the OK to try it out, it could be worth a shot.

If you think you want to give it a go, you should also find someone who can show you how to access the relevant pressure points safely (which might be hard to do, as certified practitioners can be rare). One good first step is checking to see if you can find any professionals nearby through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  

Ad failed to load

Kristen Burris, Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.), Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine, and Master Herbalist of Eagle Acupuncture, tells Romper there's a few things to check on before you attempt acupressure to induce labor.

You want to make sure that you are at least 38 weeks pregnant, Burris says, and that the baby is in position with its head down. You also want to make sure you can tolerate a bit of pain. "While acupuncture tends to be painless depending on practitioner skill level and needle quality, acupressure, when done properly, is quite strong and can feel painful, especially to women who are sensitive or have fibromyalgia," she says. Once you're ready, try getting comfortable in a reclining chair, and have a few things close to you (like a wooden spoon or bottle top) that you can use to apply pressure if your fingers get tired.

Ad failed to load

Angela Le, Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.), of Fifth Avenue Fertility Wellness, tells Romper that acupressure works best when firm and deep pressure is applied in a rotary or up-and-down motion to the point for a minute or so.

So where do you actually apply pressure? The Spleen 6 acupressure point is traditionally used for delayed labor and has been known to shorten labor and reduce uterine contraction pain. In addition, it can help labor process by causing cervical ripening and strengthening the intensity of contractions. It's located approximately four fingers width above the inside of the anklebone, along your shin. Usually, using the palm of your hand will get you close to its location, says Burris.

Bladder 60, Le tells Romper, is helpful for stimulating labor and reducing pain. This point may also be helpful to encourage the baby to engage in the most ideal position if done before labor. Bladder 60 can be found on the outside of your ankle bone, halfway between the tip of that bone and the edge of your Achilles tendon.  

Ad failed to load

Large Intestine 4 has many treatment benefits and traditionally has been used for delayed labor, inducing labor, abdominal pain, and increasing lactation, Burris says. To activate this point, squeeze the midpoint between the web of your hand between your thumb and pointer finger right up against the bone in your hand.  

Gallbladder 21 is located on top of the trapezius muscle, directly above the nipple, says Le. This point may help descend the baby and stimulate contractions, and relieve pain. This is relatively easy acupressure point for your husband, doula or partner to access, Burris adds. "They basically have to squeeze your shoulders like they are giving you a traditional shoulder massage," she says.

Ad failed to load

"The sacral region is also helpful to relieve pain and stimulate labor progression," notes Le, "and this area can be stimulated by leaning against your labor partner's fist or a massage ball roller."

But don't get lost in figuring out the perfect point. "It is important to go with what feels right for you," Le continues. "Different points will feel good during different stages of labor. Communication with your labor partner will help them know which points to use for you."

Burris recommends checking out tutorials created by a professional as well. "Attempting to find acupuncture points to apply pressure with your fingers or instruments can be a challenge for those untrained, however, finding a video online with a skilled practitioner can aid in finding the exact locations you are trying to stimulate," Burris says.

Ad failed to load

And, as always, check in with your doctor before attempting any sort of labor induction methods at home, regardless of how much you want that baby out.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack