Acupressure for pregnancy, birth & postpartum

Acupressure And Acupuncture For Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture originated in ancient China. It is a system of alternative healing that involves puncturing the skin with small needles to relieve medical, mental, and emotional illness and struggles. It is believed to restore balance, health, and well-being. Scientists argue that acupuncture is beneficial because of a neurological impact where the needles are inserted into areas of nerves and help to increase blood flow and nerve stimulation.

The reason that we mention acupuncture here along with our blog about acupressure is because acupuncture and acupressure work in similar ways. However, in order to receive acupuncture, you must go to a licensed acupuncturist that has a background in medicine. Acupressure is something that you can perform on yourself with enough research. There are many acupuncturists in Houston. One of the most common reasons that a woman would go to an acupuncturist during pregnancy is due to the nausea. (Thanks hormones. Blame the hormones for everything during pregnancy.)

What Is Acupressure?

Acupressure is a less invasive form of acupuncture. Acupuncture utilizes small needles. Acupressure is based on pressure exerted through less invasive means. You can utilize your hands similar to how a trigger point massage would feel. You can use the thumbs of your hands to help you apply pressure. Massage therapists are also familiar with many acupressure points.

Acupressure During Pregnancy

Experiencing morning sickness? (Aren’t we all?) There are over the counter forms of relief that involve acupressure. Many women elect to purchase sea bands which are bracelet like items that apply pressure to the wrist on an acupressure point to help lessen the effects of morning sickness or motion sickness.

Acupressure During Labor

The most common reasons women start to consider acupressure during labor is because they are willing to try anything to help labor start naturally on its own before an induction takes place. One of the best ways to experience acupressure in a gentle way is to get a foot massage at or near your due date. My clients love to get deep foot massages during a pedicure when they feel that their labor is beginning. The pleasant pain of a foot massage helps them take their focus away from the beginning of their contractions and helps them to relax.


Sacral Pressure During Labor

Sacral pressure during labor is very similar to acupressure. During the descent of the baby into the pelvis, the internal pressure of the baby’s head causes a woman to feel a lot of uncomfortable sensations in her back and pelvis. By applying pressure with a tennis ball or the fist of your hand, you can provide counter pressure to help relieve her discomfort. But, once you start, she’s going to beg you not to ever stop. Sacral counter pressure is one of the most valued physical comfort measures to a woman in labor. And you can accomplish it if she is laying on her side; or in a hands and knees position that allows you access to her sacrum. Here is an image that shows you the location of the sacrum. 

Gate Control Theory For Pain Management

One of the reasons that the actual physical sensation of acupressure is helpful (similar to “breaking the popsicle” hand massage you will learn in our birth + parenting class) is because of Gate Control Theory. Which is the same theory we talk about when I hook you up to one of our TENs machines in labor and you thank me for the “buzz buzz friend”. The sensation of pain that your brain feels first is the one that you are going to most focus on. Your brain can only process one intense feeling of pain at a time. (Example: You have a toothache. You stub your toe. Your bad words and attention leave your tooth and go to your toe.)

 Acupressure After You Have A Baby

The anecdotal benefits of acupressure after you have a baby are that it helps postpartum depression, lactation, mastitis, back pain, hip pain, sciatica, urinary incontinence, tiredness and exhaustion.

We all know that growing and birthing tiny humans affects our musculoskeletal system. Due to relaxin (a hormone that loosens our bodies in preparation for labor), our hips begin to loosen and open to aid us. And many woman complain about sciatica during pregnancy due to the weight of the baby on the sciatic nerve. A combination of chiropractic, acupressure, and massage care postpartum can rock your world. It may help with pain relief in a natural and less invasive way.

Acupressure and massage are toolkit items that you can try if nothing else is helping. If you are experiencing postpartum depression, lactation issues, or any of the other issues listed above, there are more scientific minded professionals to seek help from. For example, if you are experiencing postpartum depression. It is more than okay to see a therapist, take medication, do acupressure, or whatever is necessary to help you feel better.


There are many resources online to help educate you about the benefits of acupressure. They will show you techniques to try based on where you are in your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey.

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