Acupuncture to Induce Labor

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that involves inserting very thin needles into different acupuncture points to relieve pain and pressure. Quite recently, many women have started talking about the effects of acupuncture to induce labor. And a debate started after a small study conducted at the University of North Carolina. The study suggests that women who get acupuncture have higher chances of going into labor without the need of a medical "push". The study also shows that most of the women who have received acupuncture don't require cesarean section for deliver. So, do you think that using acupuncture to induce labor is actually a good option?

Acupuncture to Induce Labor: How Does It Work?

Acupuncture involves stimulating an expectant mom's body to make it ready for labor. Needling in this case will encourage your body to release prostaglandins that will ripen your cervix and prepare it for labor. This alternative treatment option will also release oxytocin to trigger contractions that make labor easier. So, generally, acupuncture works because it makes your body to produce certain hormones, so the process is completely natural, which is the reason why you are more likely to experience a less-traumatic onset of labor with acupuncture.

If you have already reached full gestation, you are only going to need 1-3 treatments before your labor becomes imminent. Many studies have confirmed that your labor usually begins 6-48 hours after receiving an acupuncture treatment. If you are post-date, you may want to receive a treatment every other day to induce labor. It is, however, a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before seeking induction assistance.

There is no need to worry about anything with acupuncture though because it is the natural way of preparing your body for labor. However, needling will not induce labor if your baby is not ready to be delivered yet. Acupuncture is just a way of triggering the process of natural labor.

6 Points in Acupuncture to Induce Labor

As you may already know, acupuncture involves inserting needles into specific pressure points in your body, so you may want to know the specific points for inducing labor. Here's a list of some common points. Remember that you cannot do it by yourself and must find a professional acupuncturist to insert needles in these points. However, you can gently press these areas with instructions below. 

1.  Large Intestine 4

Located on the hand between your index finger and your thumb, it is among the most popular acupuncture points to induce labor. Simply pinch the webbing in this area and lay more emphasis on the middle of your hand. Apply pressure to this point and use your fingers to rub in a circle. Shake your hand a bit if you feel tired and repeat again. Don't rub the pressure point if a contraction starts and resume once again after the contraction stops. You can use this pressure point during labor to deal with contractions.

2.  Gallbladder 21

Located between the shoulder and the neck, the acupuncture point helps induce labor and is a good treatment option for headaches, neck stiffness and shoulder aches. Simply drop your head forward to find a round knob – it is close to the upper part of your spine. Then, look for the ball of your shoulder and pick a point between these two points for stimulation. Simply use your index finger to apply pressure on this point or massage it gently in a downward motion for better effects.

3.  Bladder 32

The exact location of this acupuncture point is between your lumbar spine and your back dimples. It helps induce labor, eases pain, and helps your baby descend. Press your knuckles into it and apply constant pressure – you can also rub the point in a circular motion.

Watch the following video to find the above 3 acupuncture points.

4.  Spleen 6

You can find this pressure point on your lower leg, right above your anklebone. Stimulating this pressure point will help stretch the cervix and even can help strengthen weak contractions. It is important to use this point with caution though. Place three fingers above your shinbone and slide them enough to go to the back of your leg. Locate a tender place behind the shin and rub it in circles. You can simply apply pressure for 10 minutes or until you notice your contractions start. Stop and resume after your contraction has passed.

5.  Bladder 60

If you're interested in using acupuncture to induce labor, you will benefit a lot by stimulating this acupuncture point. Located between your Achilles tendon and anklebone, it proves quite helpful if your baby hasn't dropped already. Apply pressure with your thumb or rub in a circular motion. This will also improve blood circulation and help relieve pain.

6.  Bladder 67

Located in your pinky toe, this acupuncture point works amazingly well in reposition breech babies. Ask someone else to help you with the stimulation of this pressure point. A person helping you should hold your foot in hand and use fingernail to apply pressure to the tip of your pinky toe for some time.

Check out the following video for acupuncture point 4-6's location:


It is important to bear in mind that you shouldn't be using pressure points associated with inducing labor on yourself or on others unless at least 40 weeks pregnant. There is an inherent risk of applying pressure to these points to induce labor a bit too early. It is, therefore, the best idea to let an acupuncturist do it for you. Schedule a visit today! 

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