Chapter 11: Opening – stage 1 of labor
Walking and moving
Labor often gets stronger if a mother stands or walks. This is because the
baby’s head presses down on the cervix and causes stronger contractions.
Some women also get stronger contractions just by changing
positions. See page 162 for ideas about positions.
When a baby sucks on a woman’s nipples, her body makes the
hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin causes stronger contractions.
If the woman has older children who are breastfeeding, ask her to
let them suck. If she does not have nursing babies, her partner can
try sucking. Suck for 10 minutes, then wait
for 10 minutes, then suck again.
If the woman does not want anyone to suck her nipples,
she can squeeze and massage them. She should keep
squeezing and massaging until her contractions get strong.
Her contractions should start to get stronger within about
half an hour. If they do not, nipple stimulation probably
will not help.
Acupressure (pressure on certain parts of the body)
Massage sometimes helps start a labor or make a weak labor stronger. One kind
of massage is called acupressure. It is based on a Chinese method of healing. In
acupressure, you press strongly on certain points on a person’s body. If you know
other kinds of massage that help start labor, use these methods! (But do not firmly
massage the woman’s belly. This can cause the placenta to separate from the womb.)
Before you give acupressure, help the woman relax her body. Rub her feet or
massage a little oil into her lower back. When her body is relaxed, you can start
the acupressure massage.
Press your thumb on the places listed below and on the next page. Find the
general area, and then move your thumb around a little until you find a place that
feels sore to the woman. When you find the sore spot, press for about a minute.
If the method is working, the woman may feel a tingling sensation or soreness
around the point. She may also feel the baby start to move, or she may feel energy
or an ache in her lower belly.
Inside the legs, 4 fingers above the ankles
First put four fingers above the ankle bone
on the inside of the leg. Then press the
spot just above your fingers. Press on
the back of the bone.
Move your thumb up and down a little, or in small circles.
A Book for Midwives (2010)