DIY Natural Pain Relief in Labour
I was delighted to visit Leyton Library last month to give a workshop for a group of pregnant women and their partners, family and friends to show them acupressure points they could use themselves to help relieve pain and promote a more efficient labour.
It was part of International Women’s Day.
Photos by Kirsti Aberenthy
Participants at the session had fun and found the points were easy to find and simple to use.
Ideally the woman and her birthing partner become familiar with the points and practice using them with light pressure in the last few weeks of pregnancy. One of the major benefit of using acupressure in labour is it allows the woman’s birthing partner to be closely and actively involved in the birth.
I was also explaining what Chinese medicine has to offer during the final weeks of pregnancy, and how best it can be used along side medical care to promote the most natural and efficient labour possible.
Here participants passed round a moxa stick - a lighted charcole stick - and were intrigued to learn how it can be used safely and effectively to turn a baby in breech position.
I was demonstrating how to locate a number of acupressure points that relieve pain and help the uterus to contract. This one on the hand relives pain and helps energy to descend.
A number of studies have shown specific points used in labour and childbirth can relieve pain, increase the speed and quality of contractions and calm the woman. Safe, non invasive and easy to learn acupressure is far more practical that acupuncture during labour as it allows the woman to move about freely and be in any position: sitting, leaning against a wall or on all fours. It can also be used in water.
This acupressure on a point on the sole of the foot is calming and useful with fear and anxiety during labour.
This point four finger widths above the ankle bone connects to the uterus and helps with the quality and strength of contractions.
Sally Lancaster is a registered acupuncturist and shiatsu practitioner and works from her home clinic Wellbeing East in Walthamstow.