This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of postoperative acupressure in the recovery of the gastrointestinal system (GIS) after caesarean section. A total of 160 primipara pregnant women delivered by caesarean section under spinal anaesthesia were randomised into four groups: group 1 (those who received acupressure), group 2 (coffee was provided three times a day), group 3 (chewed sugar-free gum for 15 min with an interval of 4 h from the second postoperative hour), and group 4 (control group). The first gas outflow and defaecation times of the women were compared among the groups. The first flatus and defaecation exit times of the women in the acupressure group were statistically earlier than those of the other groups. No difference was found among the gum-chewing, coffee, and control groups. Acupressure is effective in reducing the flatus and defaecation exit times due to GIS inactivity after abdominal surgery including caesarean section. Impact statement What is already known about the topic. The slowing of gastrointestinal system (GIS) motility also occurs after caesarean section aside from other surgical operations. If normal GIS movements do not occur, then several problems, such as the negative increase in the duration of breastfeeding and the mother-baby attachment during the postpartum period, may arise. Therefore, the early onset of bowel functions is important in women who give birth by caesarean section. What do the results of this study add. In the postoperative period, spontaneous GIS motility can be achieved by applying acupressure. The effective use of acupressure in the postoperative period prevents the need for pharmacological methods to eliminate the discomfort caused by the decreased motility of the GIS in women in the postpartum period. What are the implications of these findings for clinical practice and further research. Acupressure, a non-invasive, easy-to-use, and cost-effective method, plays a role in preventing GIS immotility. Midwives or obstetricians should receive training on acupuncture or acupressure and should ensure that acupuncture or acupressure practices are converted into a protocol to be implemented in the postoperative period. With this transformation, the treatment methods to increase GIS motility and the reduced medication use can decrease the mother’s and the newborn’s duration of hospital stay and the cost of hospitalisation.