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« Back to Pregnancy Questions

Q: I am getting ready to have my first child and it is important to me to deliver my baby naturally; without an epidural or pain medication. What are some good acupuncture points for managing pain during labor and delivery?

A: For natural labor, most texts discuss the use of acupuncture to strengthen uterine contractions, but some points that induce contractions are also great for managing pain (LI 4 Hegu).

For 'difficult labor", Acupuncture: A Comprehensive Text by the Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine, recommends a combination of the points:
  • Spleen 12 (Sp 12)
  • Large Intestine 4 (LI 4)
  • Stomach 30 (St 30)
  • Liver 4 (Lv 4)
  • Spleen 6 ( sp 6)
  • Gallbaldder 21 (GB 21)
If needling is too much for the laboring woman, moxibustion can be used on LI 4, Sp 6 and UB 67.

Point for Turning Baby - UB 67

One randomized controlled trial studied a classical TCM treatment for breech birth (i.e., buttocks-first orientation of the baby, which is much riskier than head-first). The study showed that moxibustion at acupoint BL 67 (aka UB 67), located at the tip of the fifth toe, was more effective than placebo at reducing the incidence of breech birth.

Cesarian section anesthesia

For Cesarian section anesthesia, Acupuncture: A Comprehensive Text by the Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine, recommends:
  • Stomach 36 (St 36)
  • Spleen 6 (Sp 6)
  • Gallbladder 26 (GB 26)
  • and the medial anesthetic point - midway between Spleen 9 and the inner malleolus
Many hospitals will not allow an acupuncturist to administer acupuncture during labor.  Be sure to find out before hand.