Acupressure for pain relief in labour

Katie, David and baby Finn
Katie, her partner and new born

I decided to write this after just reading the news on Facebook of the long awaited arrival of my friend Katie’s baby. Having congratulated them I received the reply ‘Sian Morriss I don’t think we would have made it through the labour without those pressure points’.

Acupressure is the application of pressure to specific points on the body for therapeutic benefit, for example pain relief.

The first time I used acupressure in labour it was for a lady who was waiting for a labour room to become available so she could be medically induced. Her waters had broken 48 hours previously and while she was experiencing mild contractions she was far from active labour. It was May and I met her, her husband and birth partner in a park next to the hospital. We worked on acupressure points to induce labour. I had the left foot, her birth-partner the right and her husband massaged her back. After this they returned to the hospital where regular strong contractions started. She managed to achieve active labour naturally, which is what she really wanted to do.

I have been bless with coming into contact with many pregnant women and in some cases where baby has not wanted to arrive on time used acupuncture to help mother and baby avoid medical induction.


Me and my son Arthur
Me and my newborn

My experience of using acupressure during labour for pain relief came first hand. During my own labour in December 2013 I put into action what I had preached to so many women before. Applying pressure during early labour I put the points to the test. When I used the points they eased the contraction. I also found they had an accumulative effect. The more I used them the more I was able to stay in control.

On a couple of occasions I stopped applying pressure to see what would happen. The intensity increased again. I noticed a marked difference with and without. I would personally describe the effect as ‘taking the edge off’.


My labour involved acupressure, paracetamol, tens machine, breathing techniques I had learnt during a pregnancy yoga course, hypno visualization and a birthing pool. Before labour I had not ruled out drugs. However at no point did I even think of asking for medical pain relief because it simply didn’t enter my mind.

I was blown away with how effective these points were for myself and how many others I have shown them to have also experienced their benefit.

Back to why I am writing this post. I felt very touched by being able to help Katie by doing something so simple, pointing her in the in the right direction of a resource her and her partner could use.

So now I want to share it with you.

Debra Betts is an acupuncturist, a leading figuring in her field who promotes the use of acupuncture in pregnancy and acupressure for pain relief in labour. She has developed with Tom Kenedy, also an acupuncturist practicing in Bristol, an instructional DVD for pregnant women and their birth-partner, which demonstrates how to use acupressure in labour.

Here is a video for you to get a taste of what it is about and to see if you feel it could be for you. If it is then it is available as DVD download or app.

If you like it download it or if you would prefer to be taught face to face come to one of the monthly workshops I run in Reading.

If you have more questions feel free to contact me, I work in Reading, or find an acupuncturist near you. From experience, without it I would have had a very different labour.

Wishing you a positive birth experience.

I wrote this as a guest blog for Riverside Hypnobirthing, another fantastic tool to ease discomfort during labour.