Can Acupuncture Make Childbirth Less Painful?

Acupuncture is a powerful tool to help manage many of the problems women face during pregnancy. Exhaustion, depression, digestive issues, constipation, hemorrhoids, headaches, heartburn, insomnia, low back pain, nausea and stress related symptoms are successfully treated within the scope of acupuncture. It can also be helpful as an adjunctive therapy for gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory infections, UTI’s and more. 

Weekly acupuncture during the last four weeks of pregnancy focuses on the preparation of a woman’s body for natural childbirth.

The goals of treatment include:

  • Helping the cervix to ripen or soften for the passage of the baby. 
  • Positioning of the baby for the best presentation. 
  • Supporting the energy and stamina of the  pregnant woman.

Studies have shown that pre-birth acupuncture significantly lowers the incidence of medical interventions including C-sections, epidurals and episiotomies. Women who have pre-birth acupuncture have shorter labors with less discomfort.

Acupressure can be utilized to support a woman during labor. Prior to labor the acupuncturist instructs  the  woman’s partner or labor coach on how to administer acupressure to specific points that will help to facilitate the childbirth process. For some childbirth pairs, we mark the most important points on the women’s body so they are easily accessed when needed.

For childbirth support during labour, I recommend using two or three points together. I’ll  share the name of each point and a little about the spirit of each point. Please note: Some of these points are contraindicated during pregnancy.

Acupressure for Reinforcing Labor

SP6 The United Crossing of Three Yins – This is an earth point. Here, the spleen,  kidney and liver channels meet and the nourishing force of Qi joins with vitality and strength (earth, water, wood.) This meeting point joins these great resources.

LI4 Union Valley –  This is a metal point. Valleys are lush with resources and this point helps clear the body of what is no longer needed, and does so with great vitality, helping the energy to flow.

Acupressure During Labor

GB21 Well of the Shoulder – Baby Descending Point. Wood. Helps us to shoulder life’s burdens, to stand upright and remain balanced. Fresh water gives us inspiration and reserves to shoulder our responsibilities.

BL32 The Second Sacral Bone Notch – This is a water point – water always reaches its destination, it is both soft and strong. In addition to helping babies find their way into the world, it reduces pain during contraction, facilitates dilation.

Maintaining Stamina During Labor

KD1 Bubbling Spring – Also a water point. Bubbles up from the ground with great vitality. The source of vision which comes from growth. This spring taps into knowledge, tranquility, wisdom, creativity and courage.

ST36 To Walk in the Great Strength of Stillness – Earth point. Storehouse for putting things into action and moving with extra strength when things are difficult.

Pregnancy and childbirth are a treasured and sacred journey. Both acupuncture and acupressure are wonderful tools that can provide support for the transition.