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Acupressure for Relieving Pregnancy and Labor Discomforts

Acupressure which is form of Chinese medicine uses pressure at certain points in the body to relieve pain. By applying pressure to these certain points, labor pains and discomforts during pregnancy can be relieved...
by Patricia Hughes
 
accupressure can help relieve pregnancy and labor discomforts, plus it feels great!Acupressure is a form of Chinese medicine which uses pressure at certain points in the body to relieve pain. These pressure points are also known as meridians. There are 14 meridians located throughout the body. Acupressure is a method of pain relief has been used successfully by thousands of women for natural pain relief.
 
In acupressure, the fingers are used to press the points on the surface of the skin. This pressure releases tension and stimulates the human body’s natural self healing capability. By applying pressure to these certain points, labor pains are decreased, the body and mind are relaxed and the patient experiences increased energy and a feeling of well being.
 
There are three areas, or pressure points, which are considered effective for both inducing labor and relieving pain. One spot is the area of skin that is located between the thumb and forefinger. This webbed area is pressed to relieve pain during labor. The shoulder well is another area associated with pain relief in labor. This is the area located near the shoulder joint, moving toward the neck. Another area for inducing labor is the area on the ankle between the Achilles tendon and the ankle.
 
These positions will induce labor, so don’t use them until the end of your pregnancy, either on or past your due date. Using them earlier in pregnancy could be dangerous to the baby. Although you may feel ready to give birth in the weeks leading up to your due date, your baby is not ready. Don’t take any changes by starting acupressure techniques too soon.
 
Once labor has started, you can begin using the techniques and pressure points to reduce the amount of pain you experience. Acupressure practitioners and women who have used this method of pain relief recommend starting the technique earlier in labor, rather than later. When the techniques are started early, it increases the effectiveness in terms of pain relief.
 
A study at Dankook University examined the effectiveness of acupressure on the pain and duration of labor. Participants were asked to answer questionnaires about the pain they were experiencing at several points during labor and before and after interventions. Researchers found the group receiving the acupressure reported less pain. Not only did they have less pain, but their labors tended to be shorter.  You can view more information here on this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15673989
 
If you are interested in trying acupressure, you will need to locate an experienced practitioner. Your midwife or doctor may be able to recommend someone in your area. Ideally you want someone who is experienced in working with pregnant women. The reason for this is some pressure points can actually induce labor and should not be used during pregnancy. An experienced practitioner will know this information.
 
Bring your coach, doula or labor support person to the appointment with you. This way the acupressure practitioner can teach the support person the correct technique for use in labor. There are books available on the subject, but most people find it is easier to learn and perfect the technique when working with a professional. Ask about pressure points for post partum pain and to increase milk production. You may want to try these after the baby is born.
 
Biography
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.

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