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Massage techniques for Labour

Types of touch

Effleurage - general massage stroking

Light touch massage - very soft, some poeple find this a bit tickly. It's sometimes used along with hypnotherapy techniques.

Acupressure - holding specific points

Compression / Holding - containing the body, generally using your body weight

Any type of touch that you normally find comforting and relaxing may be good during your labour. This is hugely personal and you may find that you'd prefer stronger or lighter touch to normal - or no touch at all. Communicate with you birth partners to help them help you.


Here are some techniques that can be in your 'toolkit' ready if you need them:

  • Light touch massage to arms and face
  • General massage to back, arms, feet and shoulders
  • Holding (can be combined with acupressure) pressure on sacrum or holding hips or feet can feel good
  • Acupressure - please see handout by Debra Betts linked below for full info
Sacrum, the dimples in the flat bony part between bum cheeks - these seem to be most frequently used and provide good relief throughout labour. Some women like general pressure or stoking here rather than specific acupressure.
Co4 Between thumb and first finger 'The Great Eliminator' - Good for second stage and for tiredness
K1 - Below 1st toe just below mound under big toe - helps relax during 2nd stage
Buttock point - good for 'holding' can help prepare for labour - good combined with Sacrum techniques
GB21 - (bra strap top of shoulder) - good in 1st and 2nd stages to help contractions
Sp6 - 4 fingers up for ankle on shin bone - thought to help cervix dilate - not for general use but can be god if things aren't progressing as hoped

Other tools

You can use balls or a rolling pin to give pressure and take some strain off the hands and wrists.

Using a scarf to 'contain' the body and gently rock / sift

Massage oils can be lovely, especially if you're in an unfamiliar space they can provide a comforting smell. We used NOMNOM oils in class - you can use my discount code 'NOMERML15' for a 15% discount on their website. You can't combine it with other offers, so pick which is best if they have bundles etc on offer.