I frequently receive calls asking about ways to promote labor, and honestly, I was nervous about it at first. I thought to myself, when a baby is meant to come into this world it will. However, after I treated my friend who was a week past her due date my whole perspective changed. I saw that she was uncomfortable and desperately wanted to meet her son and I needed to help her. I started studying the points that help induce labor and soon realized that the point prescription of Gallbladder (GB) 21, Large Intestine (LI) 4, Spleen (Sp) 6, Urinary Bladder (UB) 60, and UB 31-34 are the perfect points to keep an overdue mother happy and comfortable.
I refer to GB 21 as the “weight off your shoulder” point. Any patient that comes to me and has tight shoulders and neck with emotional pressure I will administer GB 21. The point relieves back and neck pain and promotes the flow of breast milk. GB 21 is the perfect point for anyone who is about to give birth (Deadman 438).
LI 4 and Sp 6 both induce labor. LI 4 also restores yang (Deadman 103-106) and SP 6 tonifies qi and blood (Deadman 189-192). These points are powerful because childbirth is very painful and exhausting and can deplete yang, qi, and blood. Needling LI 4 and SP 6 before a woman gives birth can help save some of her yang, qi, and blood and ultimately help the woman recover after she has the baby.
UB 60 also promotes labor and activates the UB channel (Deadman 318-319). The UB channel starts by the eyes, runs along the head, down the back, down the back of the legs, and on the lateral side of the feet and stops at the edge of the pinky toe. Also because UB 60 is located on the lateral side of the ankle, it helps relieve back pain and any other pain along the channel while also allowing the back to relax, an aid in making the labor and delivery less painful.
UB 31-34 also known as the Bai Lao, help with the pain associated with childbirth. Cramping pain in the back is common during labor and UB 31-34 helps relieve that pain (Deadman 292-295). The Bai Lao also opens up the lower back, which in return will promote an easier labor and delivery.
All of these points are downbearing, which will bring the baby down and induce labor; however, I also think that they ground the soon-to-be mommy. GB 21 is located at the top of the shoulders and UB 60 is at the ankle, allowing the energy to flow down to the women’s feet and help make her more stable and centered before, during, and after she has a baby. This is very important because a woman’s hormones can sometimes make a woman feel uneasy so having both feet on the ground can be immensely helpful before she enters motherhood.
Watching my friend suffer the last week of her pregnancy was heartbreaking. Her back hurt, she was exhausted and uncomfortable. I noticed as the week went by how each point was increasingly tender with insertion. However, I also could tell how much she needed each needle. The initial insertion was painful and then afterwards she seemed to relax. I felt like I was helping recharge her batteries before the big event. Her yang, qi and blood were restored. Her back was looser and she felt calmer. She went into labor a couple of hours after her last treatment and has felt a noticeable difference between her recovery from her first child and this baby. All I wanted was for my friend to not be in pain and to meet her son and I believe the wonderful tool of acupuncture made both of these scenarios possible.
Dana Fine is a licensed acupuncturist in the state of Illinois and certified as a Diplomate of Acupuncture by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is the owner of Dana Fine Acupuncture, LLC in Northbrook, IL. She graduated with honors from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) in Chicago with a Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine. Dana treats various issues such as; infertility, headaches, musculoskeletal issues, psycho-emotional issues, and insomnia, as well as many other health concerns. She is currently studying the connection between Chinese medicine and Functional medicine. You can learn more about Dana at www.danafineacu.com.