The term "waters breaking" refers to the rupture of the membranes surrounding the baby and the gush or the leaking of amniotic fluid through the vagina. Although a significant sign of early labour, labour will not always automatically commence. Due to a possible risk of infection a medical induction will be considered if labour does not establish spontaneously.
Women need to notify their midwife or doctor immediately if their waters are discoloured that is, if they notice a brownish /greenish appearance to the amniotic fluids.
If a woman's membranes have ruptured Hegu L.I.-4, Sanyinjiao SP-6 and Ciliao BL-32 can be used to help establish labour.
Hegu L.I.-4 can be used in combination with Sanyinjiao SP-6 with the woman or her support person applying firm pressure to each point for several minutes at hourly or 2 hourly intervals. All four acupressure points can be used, or for practical purposes Hegu LI.-4 on one hand can be used in combination with the Sanyinjiao SP-6 point of the opposite leg. This combination can be repeated 1- 2 hours later starting with Hegu L.I.-4 on the opposite hand.
Ciliao BL-32 can also be used in combination with Hegu L.I.-4 and Sanyinjiao SP-6 with the support person applying firm downward stokes from Ciliao BL-32 through to the buttocks for 5 minutes once or twice a day
If it is seen as necessary by a woman's midwife or doctor to medically induce labour the use of acupressure as outlined above can be commenced three days prior to the medical induction. The aim of the acupressure is to help establish contractions and promote cervical dilation. Even if labour does not commence spontaneously, feedback from midwives suggest that a woman's cervix is more favourable following acupressure and that there is an increased chance of a woman progressing through the induction with minimal intervention.
Social induction is a term I use to indicate that women are interested in trying to induce labour around their due date for personal reasons. For example to coincide with a family member visiting or their partner's work commitments.
It must be remembered that due dates do not actually indicate the exact day that a baby will be born. It is only an indication of when a baby is due, in reality it is estimated that only 4% of babies will actually arrive on their due date.
While acupressure can be seen as more "natural" than a medical induction it is still an intervention. I would caution any women attempting to induce their labour for any reason other than on a recommendation by her doctor or midwife. The mechanisms that lie behind labour commencing are complex and while acupressure may be helpful in stimulating contractions this does not guarantee labour will progress efficiently.