Pressure Points to Avoid While Pregnant

Massage therapy and acupressure--manipulating the muscles and pressure points throughout the body--are two alternative therapies that can help alleviate muscle and nerve pain during pregnancy, and can be very relaxing. Certain pressure points, however, should be avoided during pregnancy to reduce the risk of harm to the unborn baby or provoke contractions before an expectant mom's due date.

Massaging the Ankles

Pressure points near the ankle are contraindicated during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association, because, when manipulated, they can cause:

  • the pelvic muscles
  • uterus to contract

Contractions well before a woman's due date can lead to preterm labor, which is not safe for the child.

Hand Massage

There are two point on the hands that should not be touched during a massage or acupressure session when a woman is pregnant. The first point is called the Hegu, Union Valley or LI4 and is the fleshy spot between a person's thumb and forefinger. According to licensed acupuncturist Diane Joswick, the Hegu point could cause contractions in a pregnant woman if massaged or manipulated. The other point to avoid in the hand is in the wrist. The American Pregnancy Association explains that manipulating pressure points in the wrist may cause uterine contractions that are unsafe in early stages of pregnancy.

The wrist point may be close to a point in the crease of the wrist called Mind's Door or Spirit's Gate, which can be massaged during pregnancy to relieve insomnia and morning sickness and to regular heart rhythms, as described by the Institute of Integrative Healthcare Studies. Expectant mothers should be sure that their practitioner is experienced in pregnancy massage or performing acupressure or acupuncture on pregnant women to avoid applying pressure to the wrong wrist point.

Massaging the Lower Trunk

The reason for steering clear of these points is to prevent possible injury to the fetus if the needling goes too deep into the tissues.

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