How to Use Counter Pressure in Labour: Double Hip Squeeze
An effective technique for managing the intensity of labour.
WHAT IS COUNTER PRESSURE?
Counter pressure is a massage technique used during labour to alleviate pain and pressure in certain areas of the body.
Like many natural pain management options for labour, some people find counter pressure incredibly beneficial while others experience heightened discomfort from it. Often times, until you try it on the day you won’t know if it’s helpful for you or not. What works in one birth may not be useful in another, so even if you’ve tried it in a previous labour, you might feel differently in your next birth. Regardless, it’s certainly a useful tool to have in your labour kit.
WHAT IS THE DOUBLE HIP SQUEEZE?
The double hip squeeze is specifically performed during a contraction to help with discomfort in the lower back and pelvis. It can be especially helpful for a birthing person whose baby is in a posterior position as the pressure on the pelvis encourages it to open and flare out slightly, enabling the baby to have more room to adjust the positioning of their head.
It’s a good idea to repeatedly practise this technique throughout pregnancy so the birthing partner or support person can familiarise themselves with the manoeuvre. It can also bring welcome relief from the physical pressures of late pregnancy!
HOW TO PRACTISE IT
- Have the birthing person leaning forward – they can be sitting, standing, leaning over something like a birthing ball, or on all fours, wherever they’re most comfortable.
- Place your hands on their hip bones, forming a ‘W’ shape with your thumbs pointing towards their spine.
- With the heel of your hands, imagine squeezing and rotating towards the centre (where the sacroiliac joint is), and up the back slightly towards the shoulders.
- Experiment to determine the amount of pressure the birthing person requires. The two of you may need to communicate about the positioning also.
- They may prefer to have you hold this position or repeat it multiple times during the contraction.
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