Giving Birth - Complimentary Therapies

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture is a treatment where fine needles are placed over various energy channels on the body, to improve the flow of the body's natural energy, so restoring balance to the body. It can be used in pregnancy from the 36th week.

The benefits are:

  • Ripening the cervix
  • Softening the ligaments ready for birth
  • Preparing the pelvis
  • Easing anxiety
  • Encouraging restful sleep
  • Helping to induce labour

Acupressure uses the same pressure points as acupuncture but instead of needles the practitioner uses touch. This makes it more suited to labour than acupuncture, whilst providing the same benefits of:

  • Pain relief
  • Starting and maintaining effective contractions
  • Being emotionally calming

Moxibustion is a form of acupressure; that involves burning the herb mugwort over certain pressure points. It has been found to be an effective way of turning a breech or posterior (back to back) baby into the correct position.


Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils which are either:

  • Blended with a carrier oil for massage or skin care
  • Inhaled or used in a vaporiser
  • Or added to a bath

Certain oils can be used during labour to relax, calm and instil a sense of well-being.

These oils include:

  • Lavender
  • Neroli
  • Rose
  • Ylang ylang

Clary Sage oil can help strengthen contractions.

The action of massaging the oils onto the body can ease pain. It will also give birth partner a role during labour.

Aromatherapy oils should be avoided during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Certain oils should not be used during any stage of pregnancy.

You should always consult a registered aromatherapist before using essential oils. There are pre-blended oils that are designed for use during pregnancy and labour.


Homeopathic remedies work with the body to assist it with healing itself. The remedies can take the form of tablets, powders or liquids.

During labour you could either have a homeopath attending or you could take a kit of labour remedies from your homeopath, that can help with different situations or complications during labour. They can help with both your physical and emotional health during labour. Homeopathy can also aid the body during pregnancy and after the birth.

To find a registered homeopath visit The Society of Homeopaths website >>

Hypnotherapy, Visualisation, Breathing Techniques & Meditation

These can all be used to change your mindset towards labour and birth, making it a positive experience. These are used as tools to keep you in control during the birthing process. All of these techniques relax your mind and body and take away the fear associated with giving birth, so allowing the body to do its job as effectively as possible.

They include:

  • Using breathing techniques for relaxation
  • Visualising yourself in a calm setting
  • Using keywords to relax the mind and body and take you to a peaceful place
  • Positive use of language, such as saying surge rather than contraction

You can learn these techniques either with:

  • Books
  • Cd's
  • Classes
  • One to one sessions

For more information and products:


Certain points in the feet correspond with different areas in the body. During a reflexology session, pressure is applied to these areas to maintain the body's energy flow, combat any problems and create a feeling of well-being.

Reflexology can be used during pregnancy and labour. During pregnancy it can ease ailments. If used in labour it can help to strengthen and maintain contractions, relax and calm the mum-to-be and promote pain relief.


Reiki is a non-intrusive treatment, where energy is passed through the therapists hands to the client. The client is able to remain fully clothed during the treatment, as the energy can be channelled through clothes. During labour it can help alleviate stress and anxiety and relieve pain.


Doing yoga during pregnancy will help you relax and also strengthen and prepare your body for labour. It will ease pregnancy related discomforts. Yoga will teach you about breathing techniques and being aware of your breathing, visualisation and meditation. All of which are fantastic for making your labour a lovely, peaceful experience.

For more information or to find a registered teacher check out the British Wheel of Yoga website >>